PRAISE, THANKSGIVING and WORSHIP as revealed through the Hebrew words.
Jesus said: “the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth (according to His revelation of Himself in the Word); for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23,24). True worship comes from the heart (spirit), but is expressed through the soul and body, for we are to praise God with our whole being: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart (spirit), with all your soul, and with all your strength (body)” (Deut 6:5, Matt22:37). Without the physical expression through our lips, hands and feet our praise is not fully released or perfected.
Praise is declaring the Name (Character) of God, based on Who He is. Thanksgiving is more personal, being based on the manifestation of His character toward us: what He has done or promised to do for us.
Worship is that intimate communion, adoration and submission to God in His immediate Presence: “They who WAIT upon the LORD shall renew (exchange) their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). To WAIT means to INTERTWINE ourselves with the Lord. This is worship where we give ourselves to Him and He gives Himself to us. After spending intimate, quality time with the Lord, Who is our Source and our Life, we will rise up with new strength from being in His Presence.
The Hebrew words for praise, thanksgiving and worship show us what it involves:
The roots of these words that describing true praise, are related to certain bodily parts or acts, indicating that while true praise is essentially of the heart, certain physical actions are normally used in connection with that form of praise.
*1&2 are related to the HANDS, *3,4,5,6 to the VOICE,
*7 to the VOICE and MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, *8 to DANCE, *9&10 to KNEELING and BOWING.
(1) YADAH - to extend, throw out the hands in worship, ascribing majesty to God and giving oneself in submission, reverence and adoration, to confess the greatness of His Name. “I will PRAISE (YADAH) Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise (YADAH) to thy name, O Thou most High” (Psalm 9:1-2).
Yadah indicates that the way to express our praise and worship to the one who is above us is by the lifting up of our Hands (Psalm 63:3,4; 134:2, 141:2, 2Chronicles 20:21). 1Timothy 2:8,9 commands all men and women to lift up their hands in prayer and praise. Lifting our hands is an extension and expression of our inner nature acknowledging God who is higher than us.
(2) TOWDAH (same root as Yadah) - to extend hands in faith,adoration and THANKSGIVING. This time the hands are raised in a receiving posture, reaching out in trust and surrender as we look up to God acknowledging Him as our Source. Thanksgiving starts with what God has done for us, but goes on to thank God for what He will do (a confession of faith). We are thanking Him for giving His Word (promise) and on that basis we thank Him for the answer before the manifestation. This is ‘the sacrifice of thanksgiving’ based on God’s promises and character and TOWDAH is often used in this way (Psalm 107:22, 116:17, Jeremiah 17:26, 33:11).
Towdah is in a causative form and what it brings about is described in Psalm 50:23: “Whoever offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving (TOWDAH) glorifies Me; and He establishes a High- Way by which I will show (manifest) the salvation of God (the promise)” (literal translation). “A song of praise (TOWDAH) for the Lord’s faithfulness to His people” (Psalm 100:1).
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving (TOWDAH), and into His courts with praise (TEHILLAH). Be thankful to (YADAH) Him, and bless (BARAK) His Name” (v4, Psalm 95:2 is similar). “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). Also Psalm 69:30.
(3) HALAL - to praise, shine, boast upon, rave about, make a show about, celebrate, glory in, be clamorously foolish about, exult in adoration of God, telling tales about God. To an outsider Halal seems over the top. It could be used of your praise of someone you idolise, that just goes on and on. HALLELU-JAH = ‘Praise to YAHWEH.’ “Seven times a day I praise (HALAL) You” (119:164).
“My soul shall make its boast (HALAL) in the Lord” (Psalm 34:2).
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised (HALAL-ED)” (Psalm 48:11).
See also Psalm 18:3, 56:10. Psalm 150, the final crescendo of the great Book of Praise uses HALAL 13 times.
“Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory (HALAL) in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory (HALAL) in his might, nor let the rich man glory (HALAL) in his riches; but let him who glories (HALAL) glory (HALAL) in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising loving-kindness, judgement, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23,24).
(4) TEHILLAH - means to SING HALAL (the same root), a hymn of spontaneous praise, glorifying in God, a total involvement of one’s self in worship. We are to come into God’s Presence with TEHILLAH (Psalm 100:4) and as we do His Presence comes into us and fills us, for it is the praise that we know God will inhabit:
"You are holy, enthroned in the praises (TEHILLAH) of Israel” (Psalm 22:3).
“He (Jehoshaphat) appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise (HALEL) the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise (YADAH) the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.” Now when they began to sing (RANAN) and to praise (TEHILLAH), the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated” (2Chronicles 20:21-22).
Also Psalm 33:1, 34:1, 60:18, 66:2, Hab 3:3.
God gives us “a garment of praise (TEHILLAH) for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3).
TYPES OF TEHILLAH PRAISE: “Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, SINGING and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always” (Ephesians 5:18-20).
(1) Psalms= songs (choruses) which express our personal relationship with God often in the first person, e.g. “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.”
(2) Hymns are more objective, declaring God’s praise.
(3) Spiritual songs (which include singing in the spirit) flow spontaneously from the Spirit in a spirit of prophecy.
(5). SHABACH - to address in a loud tone, to extol, a SHOUT unto the Lord proclaiming in a loud voice (unashamed) the glory, triumph, power, love of God. Translated ‘triumph’ in Psalm 106:47.
“O praise (SHABACH) the Lord, all ye nations; praise (SHABACH) Him, all ye people” (Psalm 117:1).
“Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, My lips shall praise (SHABACH) You. Thus I will bless (BARAK) You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name (YADAH) ...my mouth shall praise (HALAL) You with shouts of joy (RANAN)” (Psalm 63:3-5).
SHABACH silences the voice of the world, the flesh and the devil:
“You who still (SHABACH) the noise of the seas” (Psa 65:7, 89:9).
(6). RANAN (rejoice, cry out, shout for joy).
“Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph (RANAN)! For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over
all the earth. He will subdue the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet” (
“Let them shout for joy (RANAN) and be glad, Who favour my righteous cause; and let them say continually, "Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant" (Psalm 35:27).
Also Psalm 5:11, 32:11, 63:7, 92:4, 132:16, 149:5, Isaiah 12:6.
“Oh come, let us sing (RANAN) to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving (TOWDAH); let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms” (Psalm 95:1,2).
(7) ZAMAR - to sing a song of praise with musical accompanyment, to touch the strings, make music, to prune (vine). Often translated as ‘sing praises.’
“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise (ZAMAR)” (Psalm 57:7, also v9). Also Psalm 92:1, Isaiah 12:5. Our vocal chords are stringed instruments, so as we sing to God we ‘pluck the strings.’ Musicians also ZAMAR (Psalm 100), for as well as helping us sing, they praise Him on their instruments.
(8) GIHL - to rejoice (spontaneous and enthusiastic), to spin round under the influence of violent emotion and joy, exceeding gladness (Psalm 32:11, 149:2, Isaiah 61:10, 65:19 Zechariah 9:9). “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will JOY (GIHL) in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17,18). Even when circumstances are bad we should praise God with all our heart. When we love and trust Him like this, He also rejoices (GIHLS) over us! “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in his love,
He will JOY (GIHL) over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
(9) BARAK - to bless or praise. The root means to kneel or bow in adoration, a conscious giving place to God. “O come, let us worship (SHACHAH) and bow down: let us kneel (BARAK) before the Lord our maker ” (Psalm 95:6).
“I will bless (BARAK) the Lord at all times; His praise (TEHILLAH) shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1).
See also Psalm 103:1: “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”
(10) SHACHAH- to bow down to the ground, worship (Psalm 5:7, 22:27, 29:2, 72:11, 95:6, 96:7).