7 Ways 2 Praise (part 3)
Two more Hebrew words for praise: Tehillah and Zamar.
Tehillah means “unprepared or unrehearsed singing to God.”
Zamar means “plucking with a finger to make music.”
When you put these two words together, you get a sense of unprovoked praising of God in any situation and any setting.
Psalm 22:3 (KJV) says, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel”.
If you think of God literally inhabiting our praise, you can picture having the opportunity of carrying God with you wherever you go; as all you have to do to get His attention is to praise Him!
I then went into an in-depth explanation of what Jesus meant by His statement to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Jesus spoke of worshipping on a mountain. This is what He was referring to:
The tension between Jews and Samaritans goes back to around 600BC when Israel was divided and infiltrated by pagans (first by the Assyrians, then Egypt, then Babylon). Samaritans remained in the northern part of Israel and some intermarried with these pagans. They built their own temple (merging Yahweh with pagan gods) and would only accept the first five books of the Old Testament (Pentateuch) which means they were choosing which Scriptures they liked and excluding ones they did not.
Judeans were allowed to return to the southern part of Israel and are commonly called Jews (as a harsh term for Judeans). They disagreed with the Samaritans having their own temple and worshipping pagan gods as they strictly believed that the only true temple was the one God told them to build in Jerusalem (which is true). The fact that Samaritans were worshipping on a false temple to false gods and excluding most OT scripture (the Prophets) added to the tension.
That is why Jews vehemently disliked Samaritans (or vice versa). This is why it was odd that Jesus (a noted Jew) would not likely speak to a Samaritan. Jesus goes on to say that the place of worship is not as important as the heart of worship. We should praise God because of His character NOT our situation.
In my new message series, “7 Ways 2 Praise,” we discussed the first of seven Hebrew words about praise. This word was Yadah. The word pictures associated with the root words for this type of praise is shooting an arrow or throwing a rock. It literally means to forcefully extend the hands. It is also used in some cases where the translators put the word “confess.”
Keeping all this in mind, I began talking about the birth of Judah (Genesis 29:35). His Hebrew name is Yehudah which is a derivation of Yadah. He began a tribe of praise from which Jesus descended! It was the tribe of Judah who stood at the land where the temple had been destroyed by the Babylonian Empire as they began rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 3). It was the people of praise who started this work during a very dire circumstance. We must be in the practise of praising God in expectation of victory!
After the temple was rebuilt, we read that Nehemiah went back to finish building the walls around Jerusalem. Upon dedication, the people confess their sins for a quarter of the day, then praise God for a quarter of the day! Both of these instances use the word Yadah. I think this paints an amazing picture of praising God at the beginning of a new journey and upon its completion; and it encourages us to spend time pushing off the sin that restricts us as we grow closer to Him!
Perhaps the most difficult people to love are ourselves. I believe it is important that we take care of ourselves and I feel that the Bible encourages us to do so. Why do we have such a hard time letting ourselves off the hook and being proud of ourselves? Do you ever look in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re doing a good job?
In order to appreciate ourselves, we must learn to see ourselves the way God sees us. Remember that you are created in His image (Genesis 1:27). Romans 8:16+17 tells us that we are children of God and joint-heirs with Christ! John 3:16 tells us that we are loved and 1 John 1:9 states that He has forgiven us. Think of yourself in this way.
Changing our perception of our identity is only the first step. We must also give ourselves permission to forgive ourselves and to be proud of ourselves. James 4:14 reminds us that this life is but a vapor. We should learn to enjoy the days. I challenge you all to look in the mirror this week and smile at yourself. Tell yourself something that you really like about you. Buy yourself a piece of chocolate or a new shirt or something else just because it makes you feel good. Give yourself permission to just be silly and make yourself laugh. If you want to take it seriously, go online and look up “self-care tips.”
Loving yourself takes just as much practise as loving others…and it’s just as important.