O sing to the Lord a new song;
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
This one verse, out of the four psalms I read today, spoke to me most profoundly. The psalmist invites us to sing to the Lord a new song. In fact, he invites the whole earth to sing to the Lord.
The Psalms was the hymnbook of Israel. It was also the first hymnbook of the Church. Furthermore, the psalms are still sung in many quarters of the Church to this day. Thus, we are probably missing something if we only read the Psalms and do not sing them.
However, the words of the psalmists do more than simply invite us to sing them. At least in this one instance, the psalmist invites us to sing to the Lord a new song. This suggests that we are to make up our own songs of praise to the Lord.
Now, I know that most of us probably do not have the requisite gifts or talents to be able to actually create a tune and the words to go with that tune that would properly express our praise to God. However, even if we do not have a musical gift, we can still write down our words of praise to God. Doing this, at least from time to time, can be a good, healthy, spiritual exercise.
This psalm also reminds us that God expects us to be singing new songs of praise all the time. We are not confined to the words of the psalms to express our praise, as wonderful as some of these psalms are. Nor are we limited to the words of the many great hymns in our church hymnbooks that have been sung over the last two thousand years—though devoting ourselves to learning and singing more hymns can be a spiritually enriching experience. Still, we need to sing new songs of praise. This is where I feel a great debt of gratitude toward those in the worldwide church of Jesus Christ who are writing and leading us in singing such new songs of praise. I think of people like Robin Mark from Northern Ireland, who is my favorite praise and worship recording artist and worship leader. He has written some incomparable new songs of praise. I would urge you to look up his music and experience it for yourself if you have not already done so.
This psalm also reminds me that we, as Christians, have a singing faith. I do not know if people of other religions have a singing faith, but Christians certainly do. Furthermore, we have a faith that sings, not only from the spiritual mountaintops of life, but also a faith that sings from the deepest dungeons of seeming despair. I think of Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns to God in a Philippian jail. (See Acts 16:25.) Jesus Christ gives us a resurrection hope that causes us to do such crazy things. Ever since Jesus rose on the first day of the week, Christians have been singing out through the darkness, and spreading the light of Christ wherever they go.
What new song might you sing to the Lord today?