by Pastor Brian Kelly
God blesses us by providing for our needs. And these go Far beyond the merely material. Prayer is one. And the provision is Not Meager, nor is it static, but is full and Dynamic. Though the original Hebrew is buried under such Abstract, and Largely Indiscriminate, words as praise, thanks, and bless, there Are Given in Scriptures seven quite Concrete forms—satisfying to both breath And clay—for man to commune with God. The stanza Psalm 100.4—which later we will look at, and is the finest summation of what Scripture means by “the Ancient Paths”—names four.
One is Yadah, lit. “hands to God.” This is hands raised, palms out, and face uplifted, looking To Him—an act that is itself a Reaching beyond Self. And is both, with hands Empty, a confession of need, and, the hands Open, an expression of gratitude. Not a posture for the proud.
Another named, also not one for the proud, is Barauch, the act of Kneeling. It is the attitude of adoration. Of submitting to Him in trust. Of giving place to Him in Every area of one’s life.
A third form, Towdah, is To say what His Word says. To declare freely—your heart to His, testifying as True, as applied to your life, say, Isa. 12.2: “You are my strength and my song,” is an example of towdah.
And the fourth is Tehillah, to Shine—Halal, itself one of the seven forms—to Him in song.
When David had laid aside his royal robes, put on the lowly dress of a common priest, then girded up his loins, and…danced before the ark of the LORD, he was giving halal—Shining to God.
And his wife despised him for it.
In her eyes, David had made a Fool of himself. Leaping about, dressed as a lowly servant—behavior Truly Un-be-fitting a king.
But it wasn’t for her eyes, or the eyes of the people, that David gave himself fully to A Most Natural expression of joy. It was For God, and To God, Alone.
Halal is a glorying in the LORD. A wondering at, a delighting in, a boasting of, His name, His works, His deeds…The leap of the healed, the tears of the grateful, the shout of the delivered—wholehearted, demonstrative, and fully alive…Unstarched, Undignified—the whirling of a child…
And foolishness to the Proud, and the Unbelieving.
Tehillah then is that passion, that letting go of halal…In Song. Song not tight-laced, respectable, and Grave like a dirge. But song jumping, shouting, glad-hearted…and Barefoot—the song of the Freed.
For some, Irreverent. And to the many, Beneath them.
Yet what could be more pleasing to our Father than His children having truly found their joy in Him? In all that He Is. In all that is Good and Right and True. And expressing that—clay And breath—Shining.
It is the Humble, and not the Arrogant, that walk with God.
The remaining two forms, briefly, are Zamar—Song to Him that is accompanied by instruments, and Shabach—Lifting one’s voice in praising Him for what He has done…For you.
Now these seven means are not rigid, but—by Intention—allow for Indefinitely Rich combinations. And expressions.
And so, having a fair understanding of the forms, here then—with the orig. Heb. in parenthesis—is Ps. 100.4:
Enter His gates with thanksgiving (towdah) and His courts (i.e. His Presence) with praise (tehillah)!
Give thanks (yadah) to Him; bless (barauch) His name!
What once had little to say, now, by restoring the concrete, has much to say. And Much for one to think about.
When the concrete is restored, what is God-breathed is restored. For it is Not the Abstract that is God-breathed, but always the Practical. Fully and beautifully so.
If we Turn, and look in the direction that the stanza points, what opens is a new world…A new world To Brave into.
Wherever Abraham pitched his tent, as he journeyed in Canaan, he would raise an altar to the LORD…Setting stone upon stone…Moved by the desire to make with his hands Something—something to give himself to, put his heart and strength into, something Solid—To mark the occasion, the experience…Of being met by God…Of God’s grace…Of God’s filling. And Something Set Apart. From which to call upon the LORD’s Name. Offer gratitude. Confess need. Enjoy Him.
Likewise, the seven forms and their combinations Are the Stones for the altar we put our heart and strength into raising to God. That something Solid, and Set Apart, from which to call upon His Name. Offer our gratitude. Confess our need. And Enjoy Him.
What can we, who have nothing, give to God, Who has all, that would be of any value to Him?