Let’s say that a group of friends are having a fun night of games. They decide to play Monopoly. The game goes on for a while and each person is trying to make the needed progress to get ahead. They love passing ‘Go’ or especially landing on it. Sometimes they get a good ‘Chance’ card. Sometimes they don’t. Everyone dreads having to go spend some time in ‘Jail.’ Looking out for the “Go To Jail” spot. And everyone loves to hit the jackpot and get all the money collected in the middle.
Let’s say that the game has gone on for some time and there’s a player who hasn’t been doing so good. They are running out of money and have not been able to buy good properties. Anxiety sets in and the fear of losing. But by a great chance of the dice they land on the jackpot and get a whole bunch of money. Excited and relieved they shout “Hallelujah!” Now they have the money to remain in the game for a bit longer.
But here’s an important question. Was God helping them win Monopoly? No. Were they worshiping God in an assembly? No. Did they spend time with their friends studying God’s Word, singing, or praying? No. Were they spending private time communing with God? No. If that is the case, then should they have used the term ‘Hallelujah’ for something so unfitting of the word? Why would they do that if it was not said for its true purpose? To borrow the words of James I’d say, “this ought not to be so” (James 3:10).
I hear this word being used often in connection with many things that disgrace it. I have been guilty as charged. Why is this a big deal? Because of its meaning. ‘Hallelujah’ means: Praise Jehovah!; Praise the Lord; a shout of joy, praise, or gratitude to the Lord. This word is extremely important and sacred to God. We know that we are not to use the name or anything associated with God in vain (Exodus 20:7). God’s name is holy. He is to be worshiped and held in reverence. To use the term ‘Hallelujah’ in anything but worship and praise to God makes it vain, useless, and void. This is wrong. It is a slander towards God. It does not please God because it cannot when used vainly.
‘Hallelujah’ is used vainly in more ways than with Monopoly. It is used sarcastically for certain things people do or particular situations that arise. When people play games. When someone gets a good parking spot at Wal-Mart. Whatever you can fill in the blank that has absolutely nothing to do with God or His praises. If you use this word in a flippant way I encourage you to stop because it is wrong to do so. Please seriously consider this.
One last note. On the positive side, when is the last time you heard ‘Hallelujah’ used in a worship assembly? Or a Bible class? Or privately yourself? This is a word and phrase that we need to use often in our worship assemblies and Bible studies. If not vocally, then it needs to be done in your own mind. This is an awesome word! It is awesome to worship God and give Him praise for all He is and all He has done.