An updated version of this post can be found here.
This is the last in a series on Hebrew praise words. So far we have looked at
- Zamar, Instrumental praise
- Halal, Crazy exuberant praise
- Shabach, Loud praise
- Tehillah, Singing Praise
- Yadah, Physical praise – raising your hands in thanksgiving
- Towdah, Thank-offering
The seventh and last word in this series of Hebrew praise terms is Barak which occurs 330 times in the Old Testament. The concrete meaning of this word is to kneel.
And he made the camels kneel down (barak) outside the city… Genesis 24:11
It is rarely used in this concrete manner, however. Instead, it usually means “to bless” someone. The idea is to give something of value to another. God is sometimes spoken of as blessing His people.
The Lord bless (barak) you and keep you; Numbers 6:24
In this case you can see that it represents God’s kindness and special favor toward us. It is most commonly used, though, of us blessing God.
Blessed (barak) be the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen. Psalm 89:52
When we bless God we offer ourselves to Him in humble submission. We kneel before Him.
In many ways barak is the balance to halal. In halal we offer crazy and exuberant praise. Joyful and unrestrained praise can, at times, though, appear irreverent towards God. That is not to say we should avoid unrestrained praise. God has commanded us to halal Him. But to keep a proper perspective on the awesome nature of our holy God, we need to balance halal with barak. In barak we offer humble and submissive praise. We recognize Him as our Lord and kneel before Him. We bless God with our willing submission.
Take some time today to literally kneel before God and humbly offer yourself once more as His willing servant. Give to God the blessing of a willing heart.
Question: Which is easier for you to do – barak or halal? Please leave a comment.
by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory