Here are the seven Hebrew words for praise:
Yâdâh – to reverence or worship with extended hands
Halal – To praise with vigorous foolishness
Zamar – To praise with music or song
Tôwdâh – an expression of thanks, praise, confession
Bârak – to bless God
Tehillâh – to extol highly
Shâbach – to address in a loud tone
To give thanks, to praise with an outstretched hand
Yadah appears 111 times throughout the Old Testament and is often used to describe the nature of thanks and praise. The implication of the word is to show the expression of praise with an outstretched hand. The Psalms record the word used 64 different times to show this nature of praise.
Why should we praise God with uplifted hands?
We praise God with uplifted hands because of who He is
I will praise (Yadah) you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
– Psalm 138:1-2
Hebrew Terms for God in the Old Testament
Elohim – Almighty God
This term appears over 2000 times in the Old Testament and is the first word used to describe God in Genesis.
El – God
This term appears over 250 times in the Old Testament and is often paired with other terms to form compound names for God.
El Shaddai – The All Powerful One
El Elyon – The Most High God
El Emet – The God of Truth
Immanuel – God with Us
Yahweh – Proper Name for God: I Am that I Am
The name of God appears over 7000 times in the Old Testament but is often translated in our English as LORD. The Hebrews believed that the name Yahweh was too holy to say aloud and they would always say the Hebrew word Adonai which mean Lord. The term Jehovah is an elision of the two words Yahweh and Adonai using the consonants of Yahweh and the vowels of Adonai.
We raise our hands to God because we get to know Him for who He is.
We praise God with uplifted hands because of what He has done
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise (Yadah) you, O God; may all the peoples praise (Yadah) you.
– Psalm 67:1-3
The Psalmist gives us just a small glimpse into the actions of God here in these few verses but they are key to understanding what God has done for us. Notice what the psalmist points out.
God is gracious
God is the source of blessing
God shines on us
God makes Himself known to us
God saves us
We praise God with uplifted hands because of where He is
The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. 2 Great is the LORD in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. 3 Let them praise (Yadah) your great and awesome name– he is holy.
– Psalm 99:1-3
God is enthroned
God is in Zion
God is exalted
We praise God with uplifted hands because of when He is faithful
Give thanks (Yadah) to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
– Psalm 107:1
God is good forever
God loves us forever
We praise God with uplifted hands because of How He cares for us
Let them give thanks (Yadah) to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,
– Psalm 107:8
God never fails to love us
God has wonderful deeds
Calling of Abraham
Conquest of the Promised Land
We praise God with uplifted hands because of why He helps us
Give thanks (Yadah) to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks (Yadah) to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks (Yadah) to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
– Psalm 136:1-3
God is God
God is the LORD
How do we praise God?
Remember who God is
Remember what God has done for you
Remember how God loves you