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Holy Roar: The Shout of Praise

Holy Roar: The Shout of Praise

Editor’s Note: Happy Easter! HE IS RISEN! He is risen indeed! Today’s Bible study from Holy Roar by Chris Tomlin could not be more perfect for this day which is filled with a roar of celebration. The victory is won! Let’s shout our praise!


The most valuable thing the psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance… [They] stand out as something astonishingly robust, virile, and spontaneous; something we may regard with an innocent envy and may hope to be infected by as we read. ~ C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

HALAL haw-lal’: To boast. To rave. To shine.

To celebrate. To be clamorously foolish.

Let them praise [halal] His name with dancing and make music to Him with timbrel and harp. — Psalm 149:3

SHABACH shaw-bakh’: To address in a loud tone.

To shout. To commend, glory, and triumph.

One generation shall praise [shabach] Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. — Psalm 145:4 NKJV


Picture this — you’re standing in the middle of five million people the moment the Chicago Cubs win the World Series. For the past century, dedicated fans have been saying hopeful prayers for their team as they watched them play at Wrigley Field, or listened to their games on the radio, or watched on their television sets as they gathered around the dinner table. But all seemingly to no avail… until the Cubs make this eleventh appearance in the World Series in 2016. Finally, after 108 long, long, long years of waiting, the Cubs have claimed the pennant!

Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, you can imagine what it would be like to stand in the middle of that crowd, with people yelling, cheering, and even crying tears of joy. Hands are lifted. Towels and T-shirts are waved high in the air. People share hugs and high-fives and give shouts of joy — all in the name of celebration. Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar during a raucous concert, a sporting event, or some kind of gathering. No matter where you’ve experienced it, you know that when you’re in the middle of that kind of celebration, you can’t help but feel the excitement and energy pulse through your veins.

Or maybe you’ve experienced this type of celebration at a wedding. You know the one… that reception where it seemed the entire guest list was out there on the dance floor. Maybe your preference was to stay on the edge of the dance floor, where you felt a bit more comfortable — gently swaying back and forth to the beat. Or maybe you were the one out there, with all eyes on you (and your dance moves) at center stage. Either way, there was just something about this collective celebration of movement that just drew you in. There was something that made you want to celebrate with others and have crazy fun together.

When you experience moments like this, it’s easy to see that the God of the universe made each of us to praise Him with abandon, like foolish but fun-loving children, together in unity. God wants our full and free expression of praise — and His desire for our praise isn’t contingent on our personalities, our feelings, or our comfort zones. In fact, God doesn’t just desire our worship but also requires our worship. And as we see in the book of Psalms and other places in the Bible, that worship often takes the form of exuberant shouts of praise!


Welcome to the first session of Holy Roar. If you or any of your fellow group members do not know one another, take a few minutes to introduce yourselves. Then, to get things started, discuss one of the following questions:

  • Have you ever been to an event where there was a lot of loud celebration — a concert, a sporting event, a musical or show? If so, what was it like?


  • What does the phrase “shout of praise” mean to your church family? How is it expressed in your weekly worship?

Play the video segment for session one. As you watch, use the following outline to record any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you.


There are seven Hebrew words translated as praise in the book of Psalms…

The Hebrew word halal means ___________________________ ______________________________. It is where we get the word ___________________.

Let them praise [halal][halal][halal] before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this… — 2 Samuel 6:21–22

The Hebrew word shabach means _________________________ _______________________. It involves the idea of God’s people coming together to…

One generation shall commend [shabach] Your works to another. — Psalm 145:4 ESV

Every time the body of Christ gathers together, what they are celebrating is…

How Great is Our God — why this is an anthem of praise…

Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty. The Lord wraps Himself in light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of His upper chambers on their waters. — Psalm 104:1–3

“You’re the name above all names” — shabach happens when people…


Take a few minutes with your group members to discuss what you just watched and explore these concepts in Scripture.

  1. What are a few key points that stood out to you from this session?
  2. Think about the stories Darren told of the Jewish wedding and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series after a 108-year drought. What are some other ways people celebrate halal and shabach as a culture outside of church?
  3. Read aloud Psalm 104. What are some reasons King David lists in these verses for praising the Lord? Which of these stand out to you?
  4. How do David’s words remind you of all God has done? Why is it often easy to overlook these “simple” things God does all the time? Why is it important to remember these?
  5. Read aloud Psalm 150. How is God celebrated in this passage? What does it look like for “everything that has breath” to “praise the Lord”?
  6. How does your church celebrate halal and shabach? In what ways is this the same or different as the way you see it celebrated in these psalms?


Close out today’s session by briefly reviewing the outline for the video teaching and any notes you took. In the space below, write down the most significant point you took away from the session and why it is meaningful for you. If there’s time, share your answer with the group.


Consider worshiping together as you close out your group discussion. Play “How Great Is Our God” on your streaming device, or ask someone in your group if they would be willing to play it on a musical instrument. Focus on the words of the song and think about the ways in which they capture the essence of halal and shabach. Close by spending a few minutes in prayer together.

How Great Is Our God

The splendor of a King,

clothed in majesty

Let all the Earth rejoice

All the Earth rejoice

He wraps Himself in light

And darkness tries to hide

And trembles at His voice

Trembles at His voice

How great is our God, sing with me

How great is our God, and all will see

How great, how great is our God

Age to age He stands

And time is in His hands

Beginning and the end

The Godhead Three in One

Father Spirit Son

The Lion and the Lamb

The Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God, sing with me

How great is our God, and all will see

How great, how great is our God

Name above all names

Worthy of our praise

My heart will sing

How great is our God

You’re the name above all names

You are worthy of our praise

And my heart will sing

How great is our God

How great is our God, sing with me

How great is our God, and all will see

How great, how great is our God

How great is our God, sing with me

How great is our God, and all will see

How great, how great is our God

The whole world sings, the whole world sings

How great is our God

How great is our God

How great, how great is our God

Songwriters: Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, and Ed Cash. From the album Arriving.

Copyright © 2004 Songs/sixsteps Music/ASCAP (adm. @ Alletrop Music/BMI All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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