“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11)
Been to a live sports events lately?
My favorite baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, has recently lost 11 of last 12 games. It has been depressing listening to their baseball games lately. But one thing I noticed is that, while the Giants are winning, the radio broadcast is very noisy with people’s voices and shouts. But lately the radio broadcast is very clear and quiet.
Incidentally, this is often how I feel on Sunday mornings in Chinese churches. We do praise God, but it seems there’s a lack of excitement. Often it is way too quiet. It sounds like we’re in the stadium watching a losing team.
The two Hebrew words that are most often translated as “praise” in the Old Testament Bible are halal (121 times), which means “to make noise; to shine, give light; make glorious; to make a clear and brilliant tone or sound; to rave, celebrate, boast, to be clamorously foolish,” and tehillah (over 300 times), which means “to sing, celebrate with song; to laud, sing ‘hallals’, extravagant praise; high praise.” That certainly paints a very different picture from what we experience in our churches on Sunday.
When we’re on God’s side, we’re on a winning team. We can learn from cheering from our favorite sports team. We should praise with cheers for victory, not at the worship team but for our victorious God. We should do this both emotionally and spiritually.