Why Should We All Praise God?
HALLELUJAH! This word is well-known to most churchgoers in Christendom. Some of them shout it out loud in their Sunday services. How many, though, know what the word really means? In fact, it is Hebrew for “Praise Jah!” It is a joyful, ringing acclamation of the Creator, whose name is Jehovah.*
The word “Hallelujah” appears frequently in the Bible. Why? Because there are so many reasons to praise God. Jah (Jehovah) is the Creator and Sustainer of the vast universe. (Psalm 147:4, 5; 148:3-6) He originated the ecosystems that make life on earth possible. (Psalm 147:8, 9; 148:7-10) And he takes a special interest in mankind. If we do his will, he blesses and supports us in this life and offers us the certain hope of an even better life to come. (Psalm 148:11-14) It is Jah (Jehovah) who inspired the words: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Psalm 37:29.
Hence, the exhortation is directed to all: “Hallelujah!” “Praise Jah, you people!” (Psalm 104:35; footnote) Unhappily, though, not everyone feels like responding. Today, people are suffering. Many are hungry, sick, or oppressed. A number endure much grief because of misuse of drugs or alcohol or the results of their immorality or rebellion. Is there any reason why such ones should praise God?
‘Only Jehovah Could Give Me Hope’
Yes, there is. Jehovah invites everyone without exception to get to know him, learn to do his will, and enjoy the blessings that make people want to praise him. And many respond. Take, for example, Adriana in Guatemala. When Adriana was seven, her mother died. Shortly afterward her father left home. When she was ten, she began working for a living. Since her mother had told her to serve God and the church, Adriana associated with various Catholic groups, but by the time she was 12, she was disenchanted and joined a street gang. She began smoking, taking drugs, and stealing. Why would a young girl like that want to praise God?
Adriana’s sister started studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, but Adriana laughed at her. Then their aunt died. At her aunt’s funeral, Adriana was vexed by troubling questions. Where did her aunt go? Was she in heaven? Did she go to a fiery hell? It was very confusing, and Adriana went to the cemetery chapel to pray for help, using God’s name Jehovah, as her sister had taught her.
Soon she was studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and attending their Christian meetings. This opened up to her a whole new outlook on life, and she courageously broke her ties with the street gangs. Adriana, now in her mid-20’s, says: “Only love for Jehovah made me leave such a bad way of life. Only Jehovah in his great mercy could give me the hope of everlasting life.” Adriana, despite her difficult start in life, has excellent reasons to praise God.
An even more unpromising situation is reported from Ukraine. A man is sitting in prison awaiting execution. Is he self-pitying? Depressed? No, quite on the contrary. Having recently been contacted by Jehovah’s Witnesses and having gained some knowledge of Jehovah, he asked them to contact his mother. Now he is writing them because he has heard that they fulfilled his request. He says: “Thank you for visiting my mother. It was the most joyful news that I received in the last year.”
Speaking of himself and the cellmates to whom he has witnessed, he writes: “Now we have faith in God and try to act according to our faith.” He concludes his letter: “Thank you for helping us to learn what love is and to gain faith. If I stay alive, I will help you too. Thank God that you exist and that you are helping others to love God and believe in him.” This man has appealed his death sentence. But whether he is executed or he spends many years in prison, he clearly has reason to praise God.
‘Although I Am Blind, I Can See’
Consider, now, a vibrant teenage girl who suddenly loses her sight. That is what happened to Gloria, who lives in Argentina. Gloria suddenly went blind when she was 19 years old, and she never regained her sight. At age 29 she entered into concubinage with a man and soon became pregnant. Now she felt that her life had meaning. But when she lost her child, she began to ask questions. She wondered, ‘Why is this happening to me? What have I done? Does God really exist?’
At this point, two Witnesses of Jehovah came to her door. She began to study the Bible and learned of its promise that in the new world, the blind will see again. (Isaiah 35:5) What a wonderful prospect for Gloria! She was very happy, especially when her husband consented to legalizing their marriage. Then her husband had an accident and became an invalid, confined to a wheelchair. Today this blind woman has to work hard to make ends meet. In addition, she does all the work at home, as well as giving personal attention to her husband. Yet Gloria praises Jehovah! With the help of her Christian brothers and sisters, she studies the Braille Bible, and she is greatly encouraged by Christian meetings at the Kingdom Hall. She says: “It is difficult to explain, but although I am blind, it is as though I can see.”
Sometimes people are persecuted when they praise God. A woman in Croatia was happy when she learned about God, but her husband was opposed to her newfound faith and rejected her, taking their one-year-old daughter. On the street, abandoned by husband and family, without a home, a job, or even her child, she was at first devastated. But her love of God sustained her, although she had only limited contact with her daughter until the little one grew up. This woman had found the “pearl of high value” and would not let go of it. (Matthew 13:45, 46) How did she maintain her joy through these difficult times? She says: “Joy is a fruit of God’s spirit. It can be cultivated independent of external circumstances, just as plants can grow in a greenhouse whatever the weather is like outside.”
In Finland, six-year-old Markus was diagnosed with an incurable muscle disease. Soon he was confined to a wheelchair. A few years later, his mother took him to a Pentecostal who was gaining wide publicity by claiming to cure sick people. But there was no miraculous healing. So Markus lost interest in God and pursued studies in science and other secular fields. Then about five years ago, a woman in a wheelchair accompanied by a young man came to the house where Markus lived. They were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Markus was now an atheist, but he had no objection to discussing religion and invited them in.
Later, a married couple visited him, and a Bible study was started. Eventually, the power of Bible truth changed Markus’ view of things, and he realized that despite his disability, he really did have reasons to praise God. He said: “I am very happy because I have found the truth and the organization that Jehovah is using. My life now has direction and meaning. Another lost sheep has been found and does not want to leave Jehovah’s flock!”—Compare Matthew 10:6.
Let All “Praise Jah”
These are just a few of the countless experiences that can be related to show that humans today, no matter what their circumstances, can have reason to praise God. The apostle Paul explained it this way: “Godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) If we do God’s will, he will fulfill the “promise of the life now.” Of course, he will not in this system of things make the poor rich or the sick healthy. But he gives his spirit to those who serve him so that they find joy and contentment whatever their external situation. Yes, even in “the life now,” the sick, the oppressed, and the poor can have reason to praise God.
But what of the life “which is to come”? Why, the very thought of it should make us praise God with the greatest enthusiasm! We thrill to think of the time when poverty will be unknown; when “no resident will say: ‘I am sick’”; and when Jehovah God “will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Isaiah 33:24; Revelation 21:3, 4; Psalm 72:16) How do you view these promises from God?
A young man in El Salvador accepted a Bible tract that explained some of these things. He said to the Witness who gave it to him, “Lady, what this tract says is just too good to be true.” Many react that way. Yet, these are promises of the One who created the universe, who set in motion the natural cycles of our earth, and who helps even the poor and the sick to find joy. We can believe what he says. The above-mentioned young man studied the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and found this to be true. If you are not already doing this, we encourage you to do the same. Then, may you be there when this present system of things has passed away, and all creation joins in the cry: “Hallelujah!” “Praise Jah, you people!”—Psalm 112:1; 135:1.
In the Bible, “Jehovah” is sometimes abbreviated “Jah.”
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May you be there when all creation joins in the cry: “Hallelujah!”