The Great Hillel


What exactly is a Hillel?  Well it really doesn’t have to do much with hills unless of course you were on a hill actively joining nature in participation. It does however, have a huge amount to do with greatness. Greatness so big that in comparison it leaves those who experience it with an encounter that rips us from our flesh, fading us from our humanness and leaves us stripped with nothing but shear utter compliance to a greater power than the false trinity of me, myself and I, for a total transformational exchange from the true holy Trinity.

Thanksgiving Day and The Great Hillel

During this November month, Americans celebrate the annual day of Thanksgiving.

Originally founded in the 1600s, history tells us our Turkey Day traditions first started as a day of thanksgiving, gratitude for the food with feasts for a good harvest of the crops that were planted and yielded fruit. In 1700s George Washington instituted Thanksgiving prayers and proclamations for the country. Abe Lincoln followed in the same way in the 1800s with his presidential proclamation prayer introduced to the nation in the middle of Civil War.  It was this proclamation that eventually led to establishing the inaugural national Thanksgiving holiday for the sole purpose of giving praise to the Almighty God. 

For this holiday, a prayer usually notes brief moments of thankfulness before the meal, school assignments and activities all the way from events within the community. 

Slowly over the years, this holiday has morphed into a day of socializing with family and friends, great meals of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and of course the cranberries, with the afternoon promises of sports on TV.  Have we so quickly forgotten the need of praise and thanksgiving?  During this Thanksgiving season if someone were to ask me what I am most grateful for.  My health, marriage, family and friends would come to mind, but what would resonate in my heart with intense beating is the percussion of the author’s heartbeat in Psalm 116.

So what is The Great Hillel?

The word Hillel comes from the original Hebrew root word Hallelujah, song of praise and praise to Jehovah.  Psalms 113 to 118 were traditional songs sung during the time of Passover as well as the Feast of Tabernacles. Hallelujah praise is a steroid version of giving thanks. It surpasses a simple gratitude of obligation and fully embraces a marriage celebration of the words glorifying and magnifying… God the One to which praise is due.

Additional Hebrew words that describe praise include; to shine forth light (during praise), to be boastful in praise, to be made praiseworthy, be commended, be worthy of praise to boast, glory, make one’s boast in praise.

Psalm 116 is my favorite chapter; the author takes us through his strategy in pointing out his specific blue print for praise.

Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death - Psalm 116

I love the Lord, because He hears

My voice and my supplications.

Because He has inclined His ear to me,

Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.

The cords of death encompassed me

And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;

I found distress and sorrow.

Then I called upon the name of the Lord:

“O Lord, I beseech You, save my life!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;

Yes, our God is compassionate.

Verses 1-5

Declares the Lord

Acknowledges our destination without Him

Describes our need for Him

Gives Him praise for saving

Praising Him for compassion and grace

The Lord preserves the simple;

I was brought low, and He saved me.

Return to your rest, O my soul,

For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For You have rescued my soul from death,

My eyes from tears,

My feet from stumbling.

I shall walk before the Lord

In the land of the living.

I believed when I said,

“I am greatly afflicted.”

I said in my alarm,

“All men are liars.”

Verses 6-11

Acknowledges God saving grace

Praise Him for keeping us from stumbling

What shall I render to the Lord

For all His benefits toward me?

I shall lift up the cup of salvation

And call upon the name of the Lord.

I shall pay my vows to the Lord,

Verses 12-14

The only true response to God’s wonderful benefits towards us is accepting

His gift of Salvation and continue to praise Him

Oh may it be in the presence of all His people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord

Is the death of His godly ones.

O Lord, surely I am Your servant,

I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid,

You have loosed my bonds.

To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,

And call upon the name of the Lord.

I shall pay my vows to the Lord,

Oh may it be in the presence of all His people,

 In the courts of the Lord’s house,

In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord!

Verses 15 –19

Praise the Lord continually, before people, in His temple

Repaying Him His due in praise

Come, join in with the singing

This year during Thanksgiving, join in giving utmost praise to Jesus - ultimate praise for the Son of God and the Son of Man; sincere praise for the Passover Lamb and Savior to the world; accepting His great gift of salvation give praise, our reasonable service.

©Copyright 2011 Simone Lake. All Rights Reserved

Fall Agenda

• Women of the Bible Study — 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Tuesdays; started Sept. 13 at Church on Randall, Pine

• Community Bible Study — 10 a.m., Wednesdays; month of December at Senior Center

• Payson KMOG Radio program — Rim Country Forum 9 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 23, Payson

• Prayer and Spiritual Discipline courses — The Center for Women with Vision, Phoenix


• Deep Roots in Christ Ministries: monthly Bible lessons on Facebook

• Rim Review: Firm Foundation, first Wednesdays of the month

• Trades and Sales online: Rim Reporter: Sacred Matters bi-monthly articles www. SimoneLake.

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About the author

Simone Lake is a pastor’s wife and full-time minister, serving in various areas. Her primary areas include Bible teacher and conference speaker (both in the U.S. and internationally). In addition, she writes devotional articles in several publications, is a short-term missionary, author, prayer leader, Bible mentor and chaplain. She holds a master’s degree in theological studies (MTS) and attends Church on Randall Place where she serves in various capacities Simone and her husband Pastor John Lake, enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking the Grand Canyon, mountain bike riding and walking their Border collie, Scout.


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