Do you go about promoting the reputation of someone? Perhaps a celebrity, or friend. Even yourself. With the advent of social media, it seems we now focus not just on developing our character, but developing our social branding, or image. No longer do people make a judgement of you, when they meet you, they can research or google you long before this. Then, by the time you meet them, they have already formed an opinion of you. It seems our world is a lot about promoting ourselves, our businesses, our tribe.
Studying scripture recently, I came across the ‘Hallel’ Psalms. They are Psalms 113 to 118 and are incredibly memorized by a Jewish boy by the age of 6. They are traditionally the Psalms sung at Passover with 113 to 114 being sung before the meal, and 115 to 118 sung after the meal. This means that Jesus would have sung these Psalms in the upper room before being crucified. They were also traditionally sung as the people made their way to enter the temple, to worship.
In Hebrew, “hallel” means to say something or someone is great. In other words, these Psalms focus on singing, or telling the greatness of God. In short worshiping Him. ‘Hallel’ is followed by ‘Yahweh’, the Hebrew name of God, translated as LORD (all in capital) in our English bibles. This is where we get Hallelujah from, i.e. the Hallel of Yahweh which is:
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 113:5 asks “Who is like our LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” He is personally involved in our lives, even as King.
Psalm 115:1 warns us: “Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
God is to receive all glory and honor because of WHO He is.
When we try to get glory and honor from people, it inevitably goes to our heads. We are not designed to receive worship, God did not put us together like that. When He designed us, He designed us to give worship, designed for His worship.
It is our greatest privilege to be able to worship Him.
Even when Jesus taught us to pray, He taught us to worship and honor God first (Matt 6:9): “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Too often, we try glorify God’s name along with our name.
We promote ourselves and if God gets promoted in the process, we think that is a good thing. We promote that WE are Christians, that WE have done good things, and assume God will get His glory in the process. Or we promote ourselves, irrespective of what happens to God’s reputation, as long as people know who we are. There is nothing wrong with looking good or impressing others, but when it is more about self-promotion, than God, we have to look at our hearts.
It is a thin line I know, I personally battle with this, but it made me question: “How much of the promotion I do, is about promoting God?”
The truth is, if we will not promote God, why would He promote us?
I believe that when we ‘Hallel Yahweh’, we give Him the appropriate position of King in our hearts and minds. When we engage in worship (not just singing), we change our thinking about God and we train ourselves in recognizing His sovereignty. We have to train ourselves, because we are easily distracted and focus on others things that hold our attention.
It is important to make glorifying God (as in focusing on His sovereignty, being thankful and praising Him), part of our daily God-orientation. When He is established like this in our hearts, then we can pray “Give us today our daily bread” etc. I also believe that when God is established in our hearts like this, then when we pray, we ask correctly, according to His will (James 4:3, 1 John 5:14).
Come then, let us go about focusing more on ‘hallel’: promoting God and WHO He is. Hallel Yahweh!
Father, help me to put You first in my heart, so that You are more important than anybody else and definitely more important than me. Change my heart Lord, to worship You appropriately as You designed me for worship. Forgive me for the times where I have promoted myself before promoting You. Help me to focus more on living a life that glorifies You, rather than living a life that glorifies myself.