Tehillim/Psalms 66:1-2 “Shout with joy to Elohim, all the earth! 2 Sing out the splendour of His Name; make His praise esteemed.”
Shabbat Shalom all… it is good to come together and lift up our joy-filled praise unto יהוה our Elohim! Are you truly able to shout with joy to Elohim? How many of you are facing really tough challenges and circumstances at the moment? It seems to be a common battle and struggle for many as they are truly feeling the pinch of increasing pressure for survival! Amidst all the chaos and rather increasingly tougher living conditions many sadly see there need to seek and worship יהוה diminishing and as a result get caught up entangled in great fear of failure and heightened stress levels that are killing them silently and slowly. I am sure that all of us can testify that times are tough and this is truly the time that we are to be diligently seeking יהוה with our all, rather than abandoning our worship or reducing them to seemingly bare essentials. In a message tonight called, “Let Praise Abound”, I would like us to learn a great deal from a great man of praise – Dawiḍ – a man who let his praise unto יהוה abound – that is to ‘abundantly supply’ all praise unto יהוה in ever increasing measure. I want us to look at Tehillim/Psalm 63 as we can learn a great deal from the words of this Song of praise amidst a rather daunting period in his life… turn with me to Tehillim/Psalm 63 (Read).
The background for this Psalm is set during the time when king Dawiḍ had fled Yerushalayim into the Wilderness of Yehuḏah in escaping the wickedness and rebellion of his own son Aḇshalom who was seeking to kill him and take over the reign if Yisra’ĕl. And so what we have here is a man who was facing some very tough times – his own son had turned on him and one of his closest counsellors, Aḥithophel, had turned against Dawiḍ and had joined up with Aḇshalom. Dawid’s once closest friends and colleagues had now turned on him and here we see him in the Wilderness at a pretty low point, physically and emotionally speaking, in his life and yet through this Psalm we are given great clues to this man’s character displayed under immense pressure and affliction as he clearly shows continual remarks of his confidence that he had an Elohim, whose Name is יהוה and is worthy of all praise! Right throughout the psalms of Dawiḍ we see him continually reiterating how so very near and sure was the protection of Elohim over him:
In Tehillim/Psalm 41 he declares his anguish over the betrayal of Aḥithophel: 41:9 “Even my own friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Words that יהושע used these words as recorded in Yoḥanan 13:18 after he had washed his disciples feet in speaking of Yehuḏah from Qerioth (Judas Iscariot) also said that Scripture might be filled, “He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.” Aḥithophel is a type of Yehuḏah from Qerioth (Judas)! Dawiḍ was betrayed by one of his closest companions – have you ever been betrayed by someone whom you trusted with your all? Yet in the Psalm Dawiḍ declares confidence in יהוה.
In Tehillim/Psalm 3 & 4 we can see Dawiḍ’s cry morning and night while fleeing his enemies and declaring his trust in יהוה.
In Tehillim/Psalm 55 Dawiḍ pours out his burdens upon יהוה, declares his feelings of panic and how he longed to escape the turmoil of his life and speaks of his grief over those who had once been close and betrayed him, yet despite this he cast his burdens upon יהוה and found relief.
Here in this Tehillim/Psalm 63 we can see that much of Yerushalayim was ‘lost’ so to speak – but one thing was for sure – יהוה was not and He never is and can always be found – and for the most he is often found whilst in the wilderness moments of their lives!
Dawiḍ was now in the Wilderness – he was in rough terrain – it was not easy and certainly there were no comfort zones to fall back in to. There was no ‘buildings’ in the Wilderness; however Dawiḍ remembered the ‘Set-Apart Place’ where he would intimately worship יהוה. Dawiḍ’s soul was craving worship and intimacy with Elohim – his whole being was thirsty for it. Let me ask you at this point – when you are facing some of life’s toughest trials – does your entire being thirst for the satisfying presence of יהוה, or is He the last thing on your mind? Naturally his body was craving water, yes and without it he would certainly perish, yet if he had not been able to experience intimacy with יהוה in the set-apart place then he felt that his soul would die! And it is here that we see that through the power of praise unto יהוה that Dawiḍ beholds the very power and esteem of Elohim and he begins to truly remember the past worship experiences which was the beginning of the satisfaction and renewal of his soul!
Let me ask you – what are you thirsting for? What or who are you trusting and finding your satisfaction in? If it is not יהוה then you will never be satisfied!
Are you earnestly seeking יהוה? Can you truly declare that יהוה is your Elohim? Does your entire being truly thirst for Him and does your flesh long for Him or are you often trying to satisfy your flesh through the world’s ways? Do you too have a vision of יהוה in the set-apart place? Do you not know that you are the temple of the Set-Apart Spirit? Do you recognise, like Dawiḍ, that the Loving-Commitment of יהוה is better than life itself? Do your lips praise Him – well then praise Him for His Name’s sake – it is all about His Name – He gives you your very existence – praise יהוה, aměn!
Just some questions we need to ask ourselves as we look into the mirror of the Word and look at the character displayed by a man after Elohim’s heart!
Dawiḍ starts off by declaring who is Elohim and who was His Elohim and he then declares that He earnestly seeks יהוה! “I earnestly seek You!” – Can you declare this honestly – do you earnestly seek יהוה? Bearing in mind that Dawiḍ is in one of the toughest times of his life – and he is earnestly seeking יהוה! The Hebrew word used here for ‘earnestly seek’ is – שָׁחַר ‘shachar’ (Strong’s H7836) which means ‘to long for, diligently seek, strongly desire something with a focus on a relationship with that which you seek’ and is an intensive verb which denotes that is requires exceeding effort and from this we get the noun of the word which means , ‘at dawn, early, daybreak’ and so in effect what Dawiḍ is saying here is, “I rise early to diligently seek you”. The Septuagint translates this as ‘I rise early for you’. What we have here is the picture of ‘seeking early’ as having the connotation of great diligence – “I am seeking you really diligently” – not with half measures!!! And this he would do ‘early’, while still dark, at the breaking of dawn!!! How many of you can say that? Most of the time the majority of people cannot even get out of bed early on a good day, now what about when you are in a tight spot, when things are all messed up and your circumstances look dismal – getting up early to seek יהוה is, for most , not even a consideration! And I am here to tell you tonight that it should be if we are to learn from this great man of praise! It begins by seeking יהוה early!!! If you are truly thirsty for righteousness and want to satisfy that thirst and be filled then doing that first thing in rising early to seek Him is the best way in being able to get the day going and have strength to endure the day!
What is interesting here for me is that in this declaration Dawiḍ is in actual fact making a great bold statement, and as we know that our words carry great power.
Mishlĕ/Proverbs 18: 21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those loving it eat its fruit.”
More in line with this week’s Torah portion, which we will be going through in the morning, also tells us about the words we speak and the responsibility that we have to walk in integrity – in keeping our word! Dawiḍ was in essence making a vow which I fully believe he endeavoured to keep diligently!
A ‘vow’ in Hebrew is נדר ‘nêder’ (Strong’s H5087) – means to make a binding promise and the root of this verb implies the act of verbally consecrating/devoting service unto Elohim and in the essence of understanding vows and the power of our words, if one promises then they are obliged to fulfil and a ‘nêder’ is often used as an expression of zeal, devotion and praise unto Elohim as a result of answered prayer!
Dawiḍ was declaring something very powerful here – he is dedicated in diligently rising early to seek יהוה and we would do well to learn from this!
Not only would Dawiḍ rise up early and seek Elohim in verse 3 he also is declaring that he would ‘praise’ יהוה. He recognised the loving-commitment of יהוה as he would remember his past intimacy in the set-apart place with יהוה and declare that the loving-commitment of יהוה is better than life! His intense longings and thirst had turned into intense praises and so moved on from past experiences to the present and declares that life is nothing without יהוה! It was through earnest and diligent praise for Elohim that Dawiḍ encountered the loyal love of his Creator and Saviour! And even in one of his darkest moments, being stuck in the Wilderness, as he realises the greatness of Elohim he commits his life to prayer and praise by saying “While I live” – In other words… “As long as I am alive I will praise you” – what a promise.
Dawiḍ is singing, lifting hands, and blessing יהוה for His Name’s sake. “In your Name I lift up my hands” – although he is tired, thirsty and physically spent – his hands are not hanging down – we spoke last week from Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12 about strengthening the hands that hang down. Sha’ul tells us that he wants men everywhere to lift up their hands in praise – weakened hands are symbolic of burdened and heavy hands as the yoke of slavery to traditions and rat race dogmas has weighed them down and also as tough situations and circumstances cause hands to hang down – speaking of being drained or sucked dry of all the energy you have. Have any of you ever been in a place where things have just drained and weakened you to the core – be it false traditions, be it broken relationships or crushing circumstances that do not seem to let up – and you just do not have an ounce of strength to give any form of praise? Well this is where Dawiḍ was and he declared in the Name of יהוה he lifted up His hands – it is in the Name of יהוה that he would be strengthened to praise. He was weak but he recognised that when he is weak, in and only in יהוה is he made strong and this comes through diligent seeking praise! Sha’ul knew this too when he wrestled with his thorn in the flesh and pleading to have it taken away:
Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “And He said to me, “My favour is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, then, I shall rather boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Messiah rests on me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in insults, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for the sake of Messiah. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Dawiḍ is in the Wilderness, dodging bullets so to speak and he is thirsty and yearning for יהוה and he is so sure that his longing will be satisfied. He says that his being is satisfied, which is full, and so through praise the present didn’t seem so daunting anymore and a thirsty man was in effect saying, “My thirst is now satisfied!” And this gives the picture of being full as with eating a rich feast – as with marrow and fat – we know that the fat is יהוה’s and so here he is saying that He is satisfied by that which is of יהוה.
For me this is a wonderful picture and promise for us that in keeping His Feasts/His Appointed Times we will be full and satisfied – and may I remind you once again – His Sabbath is part of His Appointed Times!!! Many are so worn down by the pressures of work or, for some, lack of work and the stress of making ends meet and are trying and make it on their own and forsake the keeping of Shabbat as they reveal their lack of trust and ability to praise יהוה. Some are worn down by relationships that are constantly at war against their attempted walk of loving obedience in the Torah that they find it hard to be able to ‘keep The Sabbath’ and delight in it and so end up compromising their walk to ‘keep the peace’ so to speak. Listen Dawiḍ is a great example for us all, no matter our different battles or circumstances, of one who knew the power of praise and obedience!
Verse 6 tells us that he may have often not been able to sleep – what keeps you up at night? When you try to sleep and you toss and turn and wrestle with hundreds of thoughts – what is it that is troubling you, and more importantly what do you do when this happens? Dawiḍ says that he would meditate on יהוה in the night watches and remember him when he lay on his bed – in other words – when life’s battles seem to be keeping you from some much needed sleep – meditate on יהוה – meditate on His Word and bring to remembrance all His Truth:
Yehoshua/Joshua 1:8 “Do not let this Book of the Torah depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you guard to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and act wisely.”
He recalled who was his help and in whom he was safe – and in this he would sing! The word for sing in verse 7 carries the picture too of praise and the word here means to sing aloud, or to cry out or shout for joy! Wow – here in the wilderness – often unable to sleep – yet he could shout for joy and sing aloud unto יהוה – can you see the necessity here for praise – and even more specifically in those wilderness times!
This Psalm carries a great emphasis of the soul and praise and is used repeatedly throughout – and is a lesson for us in that as water is to the body, so is praise to the soul! Without water the body diminishes and without praise the soul deteriorates.
Praise in the life of a believer is not optional! Sadly too many forget to give thanks today and we are told to give thank in all things – too many forget to ‘praise’ יהוה! And so what I want to remind us here tonight is that we ought to truly get back to what we were created to do – and that is to praise, thank and bring esteem unto יהוה our Elohim. Praise for Him must be a primacy in our lives – that is to be of utmost importance in coming first above all materialistic values! Scripture is filled from start to finish with praises unto יהוה – as He works mightily in people’s lives which result in praise and there are several admonitions for us to praise and following Dawiḍ’s example, total praise involves praise for blessings past, provision for now even in the midst of the darkest battles and struggles and praise for what is yet to come – the sure and promised hope we have in Him – for His Love never fails!
This psalm is a song of praise and the last two phrases sums it up for us and in effect is saying to us:
Those who claim loyalty to Elohim with their lips but lie in their actions will be silent in desperate times – in other words those who are only giving lip service will be the ones who cannot praise when it gets hard as their hearts are far from Him in trusting Him with all, while those who are counted among the faithful – those who are standing up in zeal for Elohim will praise Him and worship Him and receive satisfaction for their souls no matter the circumstances they find themselves in!
How about you?
Praise for יהוה is critical to our walk in Him, but praise carries more to it than just a melody or song.
Praise unto יהוה brings joy and comfort to the heart, satisfies the soul and brings vitality to the spirit of man.
It is a privilege and a joy that we get to praise our Wonderful Maker. We are told to praise His Name, worship His Name, rejoice in His Name, and have reverence for His Name. You see, it is all about His Name.
He is our Banner, Healer, Shepherd, Peace, and Righteousness to name but a few of what His Name brings to us, and best of all, He is our Salvation – Yahushua!!! There is no other name that is worthy of our praise – He alone is worthy:
Tehillim/Psalms 34:1 “I will bless יהוה at all times; His praise is continually in my mouth.”
To praise means to extol or laud, in other words it means to make an exuberant statement about or to the excellence of someone. In order to understand ‘praise’ a little more, or to get a better understanding of the depth of what praise encompasses, I thought it best to look at some of the Hebrew words we can so easily and collectively translate as ‘praise’. Let us briefly look at the 7 Hebrew words for ‘praise’ as used in Scripture as we gain greater understanding as to what complete praise involves:
1 – HALAL – הלל (Strong’s H1984) – It means ‘to shine; to be boastful; to be clear; to make a show; to rave; be foolish; to celebrate; praise, cheer, brag or extol, i.e., extol the greatness or excellence of a person, object or event.’
Tehillim/Psalms 113:1 “Praise Yah! Praise, O servants of יהוה, Praise the Name of יהוה!”
This word is used here in Tehillim/Psalm 63:5 – “my mouth praises You with singing lips”
2 – YADAH – ידה (Strong’s H3034) – This word is a verb with the root meaning ‘the extended hand’ or ‘throw out the hand’ really expresses the nature of the action of praise unto יהוה. Yadah means ‘to lift hands; to give thanks; confess, praise; make confession; shoot; to cast out or cast down’.
Tehillim/Psalms 9:1 “I praise You, O יהוה, with all my heart; I declare all Your wonders.”
‘Yadah’ in practice would be to lift my hands in gratitude and thanks, expressing a surrendering of self totally unto יהוה!
We know the victory that total surrender brings! When Moshe lifted up his hands in prayer and supplication and praise unto יהוה Yehoshua had victory on the battlefield, and when his arms were down Yehoshua faced some defeat! Lifting hands in surrender unto יהוה is for me a great expression of praise unto His Name. It is an acknowledgement of His Name as the יהוה of hosts – head of the heavenly host that battles for us, He is our banner – the one under whom we walk, He is our healer, shepherd, provider – He is our peace and He is our Saviour! Lifting hands unto Him reveals our acceptance of His work and provision and confesses our reliance upon Him, where we recognise that our hands cannot bring what He brings and so we lift up hands in praise in devotion to declaring His authority and rule over our lives!
3 – SHABACH –שׁבח (Strong’s H7623) – This word carries the meaning ‘to laud; to praise; commend; congratulate; to address in a loud voice; proclaim; make exuberant statements as to the excellence of someone’.
Tehillim/Psalms 145:4 “Generation after generation praise Your works, And they declare Your mighty acts.”
It is also used here in Tehillim/Psalm 63: 3 – “My lips do praise You”. Shout aloud His praises! How sad it is when so many are seemingly afraid to give a shout offering to יהוה! In Tehillim/Psalm 117:1 the Hebrew word ‘shabach’ is translated into English as ‘extol’ which gives the meaning ‘to praise highly’. In other words – lift up your voice and praise!
4 – ZAMAR – זמר (Strong’s H2167) – This word carries with it the idea of ‘striking with the fingers’, and more properly meaning ‘to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument’. In other words this is not difficult to see that this clearly can give the meaning ‘to make music’, accompanied by the voice and therefore celebrate or praise in song and music. This is such a wonderful picture for me, as it gives reference of making music and singing songs unto יהוה with the aid of instruments.
Tehillim/Psalms 21:13 “Be exalted, O יהוה, in Your strength! We sing and we praise Your might.”
‘Zamar’ is one of the musical verbs for praise in Tehillim (Psalms) and is often translated as ‘sing praises’:
Tehillim/Psalms 101:1 “I sing of kindness and right-ruling; To You, O יהוה, I sing praises.”
In Tehillim/Psalms 149:3 we see ‘zamar’ being used as ‘sing praises’ or in other translations as ‘make melody’ with tambourine and harp. What a joy it is to have the gift of ‘zamar’ praise happening here in our midst as יהוה continues to inspire Marcia to produce such wonderful songs in praise unto our Elohim – together with the ‘striking of the fingers’!
5 – TEHILLA – תּהלּה (Strong’s H8416) – This word is from halal and means ‘praise, song or hymn of praise’. It also carries the meaning of thanksgiving or speaking positive words about the excellence of another and often these words are in the context of being sung. It also gives the meaning of the act of general or public praise. This is in essence singing from your heart, a new song unto יהוה! The picture one can get from Tehilla is a spontaneous new song, wherein you begin singing from a melody in your heart by adding words to that melody. This is a special kind of singing – as one sings unprepared and unrehearsed. This kind of praise certainly brings unity in the body and when one sings straight to יהוה form the melody in the heart can often bring about Tehilla. Singing it a second time can result in ‘zamar’ as one begins to add the sound of instruments to that which is straight from the heart.
Tehillim/Psalms 22:3 “Yet You are set-apart, Enthroned on the praises of Yisra’ĕl.”
יהוה sits ‘enthroned’ on the ‘tehilla’ of His people. יהוה manifests Himself in exuberant singing and he inhabits through the praises of His people. We are to be a praising people who offer up ‘tehilla’ (praises) that comes straight from the heart, being spontaneous in our worship and adoration unto יהוה, always ready to make a joyful noise.
6 – TOWDAH – תּודה (Strong’s H8426) – This word comes from the primitive root of ‘yadah’ which we mentioned earlier as praise by extending the hand or to throw out (the hand), and so carries the meaning of giving worship by the extension of the hand in adoration or agreement with what has been done or will be. This word is often found in connection with sacrifice by applying the giving of thanks or praise before the reception or manifestation of that which will be. In other words this is an expression of praise and thanks to יהוה for that which I do not have in the natural, and is an agreement with His Word through faith in His Word. This form of praise operates based on the Truth of His Word. This kind of adoration and praise unto the Father carries the picture of lifting hands in reverence and awe of the Father’s love and declaring thanks in the kind of expression like, “Father, I thank You that Your Word is True!” The expression of faith in agreement with His Word and praising Him for the Truth despite the physical circumstances or surroundings, even in times of lack or sickness! The mind would often try to fight this kind of action, but in Towdah as praise there is great faith. The lifting up or extending of hands is the expression of agreement with His Word. Towdah praise is praise that thanks יהוה and agrees by faith in His Word and not caring what the physical present may look like, standing firm in agreement in thanksgiving and praise.
Tehillim/Psalms 50:23 “Whoever offers praise esteems Me; And to him who prepares a way, I show the deliverance of Elohim.”
This is the kind of praise that offers up thanks for things not yet received, and by extension of the hand held in adoration of the Most High there is acceptance in the validity and Truth of His Living Word, that can cause us to praise with expectancy יהוה our Healer, our Provider and our Shield.
7 – BARAK – בּרך (Strong’s H1288) – This word means to kneel, by implication to bless יהוה as an act of adoration. It implies continual and conscious giving reverence and adoration to יהוה. This word is not directly translated as praise, yet carries with it the essence of bowing n reverent worship unto יהוה. I have put this word in this section last for that reason, and the reason for placing this word in the context of praise for His Name’s sake, is for the simple reason that to bow or kneel is truly a great form of expression of praise, showing respect, esteem, reverence, adoration and love for יהוה – and that is what the heart of praise is about! To kneel or to bow in worship and to do this with the intent in my heart that He is King and He is Elohim and that I yield to Him in totality is a truly magnificent transaction of praise offered up to Him
Tehillim/Psalms 95:6 “Come, let us bow down and bend low, Let us kneel before יהוה our Maker.”
Barak is also used here in Tehillim/Psalm 63:4 = translated as ‘bless’
Understanding the intimacy and devotion that true wholehearted and sincere praise encompasses, helps us be firmly established in our ability to choose to praise our Loving Elohim with everything, and it is all for His Name’s sake. Many claim to praise Him yet do not even know His Name and the compound characteristics attributed to His Name – once you truly understand His Name, then praise unto His Name will be rightfully forthcoming in every aspect – from kneeling to lifting hands, to shouting aloud, singing with spontaneity and making music accompanied by the fluency of played instruments and joyfully make our boast in Him who gives us our very existence and life.
My hope is that a deeper knowledge of praise is birthed in you to truly praise Him for His Name’s sake.
Perhaps you are like Dawiḍ in the Wilderness and experiencing and facing some very daunting circumstances, challenging and conflicting relationships and in need of some strength to keep going on in faith – then be like Dawiḍ and praise –
LET PRAISE ABOUND, aměn!