The Essence of Praise

A psalm. For giving thanks.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are
His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to
Him and praise His name.
For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:1-5

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
John 3:5-8 NIV

At first glance these two passages of scripture may not look related. Shouting for joy in thanksgiving and moving around in an unpredictable, sometimes unseen way don’t really seem related. It would do good to consider these in terms of the guidance we will need to do what God wishes.
The Hebrew word for shout in Psalm 100 is rua. It means to shout, make a noise, yell. Literally it means “to split the ears,” and often times it’s used in the context of praising or cheering, and other times as a battle cry. Joshua and the Hebrew soldiers rua-ed around Jericho and all of the Israelites rua-ed to the Lord in the temple many times.
A wild thing about the Hebrew language is that single letters represent new meaning to a word. For instance, the letter h in a word means it is the essence, or purest expression of whatever the word was without the h. Abraham, for example, was the purest expression, the focused and ordained form, of Abram. The H kind of puts the word on steroids and shows a deeper meaning of how the word without the H is expressed.
The Hebrew word for Spirit, you guessed it, is ruah. It is used all over for God’s Spirit, or God’s breath. When God breathed life into Adam, it was ruah. When Zechariah says “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty,” he says ruah.
As we worship and holler and worship God, isn’t it the most real and right when we do it by His Spirit? When we are around people, are we helping them give birth to flesh, by appealing to the flesh and pleasing people, or are we helping them be born by the Spirit-being born again into a new creation that lives above reason and worships beyond circumstances? As the Holy Spirit moves you in the next couple of weeks, risk obedience. The truest and most perfect form of praise comes by the Spirit. If God prompts you to talk to this stranger, talk to them. If God prompts you to go to lunch with a co-worker, go. If God prompts you to stay up late and yell and holler His praises, go for it!

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:23-24 NIV