Sing a New Song
By Brent Rinehart
“Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!” - Psalm 96:1
In 2012, Jefferson Bethke released a spoken-word video on YouTube titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” It has since received nearly 35 million views and launched a best-selling book, Jesus > Religion. Its message is not the only thing that made it so popular. The art form itself is rooted in history and what encourages oral traditions, epics and tales to be passed on from generation to generation. His rhythm, delivery and use of alliteration and rhyme make it infectious.
Many of the world’s greatest pieces of literature began as spoken words – songs even – that were passed down. One example many of us read in high school – The Odyssey – comes to mind. Songs are a critical part of the human experience, so it stands to reason that the same is true of the Christian experience. In fact, there’s a whole book of songs (Psalms) to use as Exhibit A.
Martin Luther once said that “next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise.” Many of us can say “amen” to that statement as we gather with other believers to sing worship songs and hymns or when we feel God speaking through praise and worship music from our car radio’s speakers.
Throughout the Psalms, we are urged to sing, dance and play instruments as a sign of our worship of the Lord. But, Psalm 96:1 says “Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!” This idea of singing a new song appears again in Psalm 98 and 149. What does it mean to sing a new song?
As humans, most of us love the familiar. There’s something comforting about a song we know by heart. One we can sing without even looking at the words. We can close our eyes and worship. A few weeks ago, my wife and I were introducing our kids to some old hymns we both use to sing out of the hymnals of the churches we grew up in. Some of these were songs our kids had never heard before, which is kind of strange when I think about how ubiquitous there were to me at their ages. “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine.” Or, “O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder. Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder Thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee. How great Thou art, how great Thou art!”
Powerful words from familiar songs are wonderful and can certainly focus our hearts and minds on who God is. But, here, in Psalm 96, the call is to sing a new song.
To sing a new song to the Lord, we need to experience Him in a new way today. It means being open to God’s leading today, producing new fruit for tomorrow. His mercies are new every morning, so shouldn’t our song be? Our experiences today, no matter how difficult, should lead us to new revelations of who God is and how He is working. And, we can trust that He is working.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
Whatever trials we are going through today, we can trust that God is with us. We can trust that His mercies are new every morning. And, we can have faith that He is using our current circumstances to produce new worship material – a mature walk with the Lord that encourages us to sing a new song. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our response to it. Will we quit, or will we decide to sing a new song to Him?
Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @brentrinehart.
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