Romans ends with and awesome doxology: “Now to Him- to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Romans 16.25-27, modification mine) Paul makes space at the end of the letter to praise God. These words are important; they are Holy Scripture, and therefore created by the mind of God as something of benefit for us (2 Timothy 3.16-17). It is so easy to skip the last (or first) part of this, and other letters because they do not look like a “thou shalt not” style command. But what if this were a command?
Psalm 30.4 sings, “Sing praises to the LORD, O you His saints, and give thanks to His Holy Name”. Is this verse to be lessened because it is not accompanied by a “Yea verily, thou shalt”? I know- that would be ridiculous, especially because anyone who knows what God has done knows that “[He] is worthy to be praised.” (Psalm 18.3) So… do it. Praise the LORD. Ok, what did you do? How do you explain to a child that you praise God?
The word Hallelujah is a statement “Praise (you) Yah”. It means, I am telling you to praise the eternal God (by His name). By the way, Hallelujah is also written as alleluia for those who love to sing that song. Hosanna is a similar statement meaning “glory be given to God”. All of these say that something should be done, and that something should be directed toward the Holy One. So, what is praise?
A basic concept of praise is the expression of thankfulness. Unfortunately, there is often a need to clarify the difference in saying “thanks”, and expressing heartfelt, deep, spirit affirming thankfulness. If someone bought you lunch, you would (should) rightly express to them your thanks. However, if someone bought you a brand new, top of the line automobile (insert your preference here) you know deep down that saying “thanks” just seems like not enough. Here is where I point out that every breath you draw is a gift from God.
Beyond this life, your eternal salvation is a gift afforded you by the grace of a God who had His own Son murdered so that His life-saving blood could flow from the cross to your soul. “Thanks”, again, seems like not enough.
If you are going to praise God, do it from your heart.