A hallelujah helper

Hallelujah! . . . The LORD’s works are great. . . . He has sent redemption to his people. He has ordained his covenant forever. Psalm 111:1,2,Christian Standard Bible 

Daniel J. Habben 

Millions have used Hamburger Helper since 1971. You may even have a couple boxes in your pantry. The dry mix makes a quick dinner for everyone in the family.  

Just as we need help with meal prep from time to time, we Christians often need help with our praise prep. Isn’t that especially true during the doldrums of August? The excitement of Easter is long past, and our favorite Christmas hymns are still five months away. Fellow members are away on vacation, so worship lacks its usual energy.  

What if there was a product that could fill our mouths and hearts with praise every day? Hamburger Helper can’t, but Psalm 111 can. It’s a hallelujah helper.  

God is worth praising 

Psalm 111 begins with “Hallelujah!” or “Praise the Lord!” Why praise? For one, because “the LORD’s works are great.”  

Just think how awesome it is that God created the universe in six days. I truly appreciated God’s creation feat after being involved with a church building project. In all, it took more than 250 skilled workers 285 days to refurbish our 1,600 sq. ft. church and to build a 3,200 sq. ft. addition. Even then, it wasn’t perfect. It took another two years for the finishing touches. And yet when God was done with his work of creation on that first-ever Friday afternoon, he looked with satisfaction on stars, comets, oceans, animals, and two people named Adam and Eve, and God declared them all to be very good. Wow!  

But then sin came into the world and ruined everything. So perhaps you don’t feel inclined to raise a hallelujah for God’s work of creation—not when your summer has had too much family tension and conflict, even on vacation. But Psalm 111 offers another motivation for our hallelujahs: God “has sent redemption to his people. He has ordained his covenant forever.” A covenant is like a contract. I saw a lot of those with our building project. Each contract stated what the plumber or electrician would do in exchange for our payment. Compare those contracts with the covenant God made with you in Baptism. God washed your sins away, gave you the Holy Spirit, and granted you eternal life. What did it cost you? Nothing. So how can we not respond with a hearty, “Hallelujah!”?  

His Word shares his great works 

And yet days can go by without praises parting our lips. We get too busy to reflect on God’s blessings. Psalm 111 describes God’s people studying God’s great works. The word study in Hebrew means to “visit often.” Do you visit God’s Word as often as you visit Facebook? It’s true, the content of Faithbook doesn’t get updated like the content on Facebook, but don’t let Satan convince you that it’s pointless to open your Bible frequently. God’s Word doesn’t change, but your life does. A psalm you read last year may not have seemed to say much to you at the time, but what about today? What new challenges confront you that God’s multifaceted Word would speak to?  

When you’re stuck for a meal idea. you can reach for Hamburger Helper. But when your hallelujahs get stuck in your throat, reach for a hallelujah helper like Psalm 111. Be reminded of the many daily reasons you have to praise the Lord. Your awesome God has saved you from your sin, and he never takes a break from caring for you. Hallelujah! 


Contributing editor Daniel Habben is pastor at St. John, Saint John, Antigua.  


 

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Author: Daniel J. Habben
Volume 105, Number 8
Issue: August 2018

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