Psalm 135 begins with the statement, “Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 135:1). The Hebrew word translated praise in this verse is halal. In its simplest active form, the word halal means to boast” (1984). Everyone knows how to boast and most people do it on a regular basis, and yet, boasting about God is not something that happens naturally. The reason we are told to praise the LORD is because “the LORD is good” (Psalm 135:3).

Goodness is not a measure of quality, but a characteristic or attribute of a thing or person. When he was referred to as “Good Master,” Jesus responded, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:16-17). What Jesus was saying was, it is impossible for a human to be or become good. The best we can do is live by God’s standard and give him the credit for the result.

God is working

The Bible makes it clear that God is not sitting idle in Heaven, but is working on behalf of his people. It says in Psalm 111, “The works of the LORD are great…His work is honorable and glorious…He hath shewed his people the power of his works…the works of his hands are verity and judgment” (Psalm 111:2-3,6-7). The word translated verity, ’emeth (eh´ – meth) means stability (571). Emeth is contracted from the word ’âman (aw – man´) which means “to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse” (539).

God’s works are often described as wonderful. It says in Psalm 111:4, “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered.” The word translated wonderful, pâlâ’ “is used primarily with God as the subject, expressing actions that are beyond the bounds of human powers or expectations” (6381). God is able to do what appears to be impossible to man. That is why faith is necessary for us to be blessed by him. It says in Psalm 112:1, “Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD.” The word translated feareth, yârê (yaw – ray´) means to stand in awe. “This is not simple fear, but reverence, whereby an individual recognizes the power and position of the individual revered and renders him proper respect” (3372).

One of the ways that we can show respect to God is to kneel before him. In ancient times, kings demanded that their subjects kneel before them. One of the best examples of this is king Nebuchadnezzar who made a gold image of himself and demanded that it be worshipped. It says in Daniel 3:5, “that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar hath set up.”

God does not demand that we fall down and worship him, but is blessed or happy when we kneel before him as an act of adoration (1288). God works on our behalf so that we will praise him. We are told in Psalm 113 that we are to “praise ye the LORD. Praise, O ye, servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD” (Psalm 113:1). The word translated praise, hâlal (haw – lal´) means to make a show, to boast, to be foolish, or to rave. “The word halal is the source of ‘hallelujah’ a Hebrew expression of ‘praise’ to God which has been taken over into virtually every language of mankind” (1984).

Words that describe God’s work; great, honorable, glorious, and wonderful, indicate why they are intended to be remembered. God does things that we can’t forget. They are seared into our memory when they occur like a snapshot of a wedding or our favorite family photo. Imagine if you had seen the Red Sea parted or the walls of Jericho fall down. There is no way you could ever stop talking about it.