Summary: The psalmist cried hosanna and the Lord listened, was gracious, delivered, and gave him rest. The psalmist cried hallelujah.
Hosanna to Hallelujah - Part 1
Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on a young colt. It must have been quite the event in those days. As Jesus rode people would place their cloaks in front of Him. People also placed palm branches along the way. Thus we have what is traditionally called Palm Sunday.
I am not sure if everyone knew what was going on but like many a crowd one group of people started to shout and not wanting to be left out others joined in with them. Some estimate between one 1000,000 to 2000,000 people lined the streets. Those that followed behind were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! “Hosanna in the highest!”
Hosanna in Hebrew means Save! It doesn’t make much sense to put save in the sentence instead of hosanna. We need to understand that the people understood that it was a word of praise. The people recognized that salvation was from the Lord only. It was to come from the Messiah. This was their expression that the Messiah, salvation, had come as foretold.
I would like us to look at another person who calls out "hosanna", and discovers it turns into "hallelujah!" He is the psalmist, David, in Psalms 116.
The psalmist replies in much the same way.
I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
He loves the Lord. He loves the Lord based on the Lords hearing him. Essentially he begins the psalm by praising God in much the same way the crowds were hailing Jesus with hosanna.
He loves God because He heard his cry for mercy and therefore he will cry out to Him evermore. The psalmist then begins to tell us the reason behind his love and the cry for mercy.
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, save me!”
Hosanna makes perfect sense in this verse. The psalmist is calling out to God to save him from impending doom. The situation was dire and he needed help. Where did he turn, to the Lord.
What is it that causes us to cry out Hosanna, "Save Me"! The psalmist sums it up.
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
The "cords of death" comes from the Hebrew plural word "meetsar". It speaks of the "pains of Hades". The condition the writer describes is one of great physical pain, the pains of hell. I spent one night in a cancer ward. The screams of pain and crying out were so loud and constant that they brought to mind the screams from hell.
The "anguish of the grave" seems to refer to the tugging and pulling of death on his life. The psalmist may have even been talking about the march to death we all experience as we walk this earth. I spent one night in a cancer ward. The screams of pain and crying out were so loud and constant that they brought to mind the screams from hell.
Trouble and sorrow overcomes him. For David it would have referred to his flight from Saul. Living in caves, wondering about his next meal, wondering if God’s promise and anointing would ever come to pass, or would Saul’s spear pierce his heart before it came to pass.
Some years ago a book was written by a noted American historian entitled "When The Cheering Stopped." It was the story of President Woodrow Wilson and the events leading up to and following WWI. When that war was over Wilson was an international hero. There was a great spirit of optimism abroad, and people actually believed that the last war had been fought and the world had been made safe for democracy.
On his first visit to Paris after the war Wilson was greeted by cheering mobs. He was actually more popular than their own heroes. The same thing was true in England and Italy.
In a Vienna hospital a Red Cross worker had to tell the children that there would be no Christmas presents because of the war and the hard times. The children didn’t believe her. They said that President Wilson was coming and they knew that everything would be all right.
The cheering lasted about a year. Then it gradually began to stop. It turned out that the political leaders in Europe were more concerned with their own agendas than they were a lasting peace.