Singing a New Song
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Psalm 96:1-9, (10-13)
96:1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
96:2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
96:3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.
96:4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.
96:5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
96:6 Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
96:7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
96:8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.
96:9 Worship the LORD in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.
96:10 Say among the nations, “The LORD is king! The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.”
96:11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
96:12 let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
96:13 before the LORD; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth.
- Most people probably like getting or experiencing something new. Like the smell of a new car, new books, or a new school year ( Waxed floors and totally refreshed buildings have a distinctive aroma that always made me excited for what was to unfold in the coming days and months) . But everything that’s new isn’t good. Ex. Coronavirus, other prognosis or challenges people may face that are unexpected and unwanted. Everything declared New and Improved may not be!
- In the midst of all life’s circumstances, Psalm 96 suggests that we are STILL to sing a new song.
- Psalm 96 highlights all the reasons why we have taken time to gather for worship. Scholars have labeled it one of the ‘enthronement’ psalms which declare the sovereignty and majesty of God’s reign. It is a Psalm of praise that describes the nature and results of God’s rule.
- Praise is not just from humans but all of creation. As in Psalm 150 which I presented in Children’s Time yesterday, we discover here that everything that all creation should praise God AND that all of nature, even inanimate objects that God has created are a witness to God’s glory.
- Since the beginning of time, God has always been creating something new, re-creating, and restoring. From the creation story of Genesis to the formation of a new heaven and new earth in Revelations; to Isaiah saying, ‘Do not remember the former things. I am doing a new thing, don’t you see it springing forth’; to Jesus saying a new commandment I give you, love one another; and the presence of Jesus on earth being a sign of the new covenant God was making with His people. New every day are opportunities to see God at work in the world, in your life, in your family, community, and church. It is only fitting for us to sing a new song in response; one that is generated from a heart of gratitude and awareness of God’s majesty and power.
- Our new song is refreshed every time we worship and causes us to tremble with thanksgiving.
- So what does it look like to sing a new song?
- For an individual—it can look like a new commitment of time, talent, energy and money; it can be a first step of faith or an intentional step of deepening faith towards a more intimate relationship with God through application of spiritual disciplines like Bible reading, prayer, and fasting; it could be a step on a pathway away from addiction or other forms of life-sapping activity.
- For the church—a new song may look like more people engaged in worship and the other activities of the church that proclaim the good news of Jesus throughout the week. It could look and sound like people filled with the Spirit and joy, with words of hope and encouragement on their lips while they pursue justice and mercy in the community and the world. All the aspects of the life of the church come together and reinforce one another when the church is authentically singing a new song—worship, Christian education, service/ missions, fellowship, and congregational care.
- How do we sing a new song when there is so much trouble in the world, and in our lives?
- First be sure you are singing to God and God alone and not false gods which are idols. We have a tendency to worship the created and not the Creator. Sometimes we even put too much emphasis on what we can do, in our OWN strength. Yes, we can do all things God wants us to do through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13), but we need to make sure we keep the emphasis on Christ who is doing the strengthening and who is at work in us.
- Because God is never dormant, look for evidence of God at work around us and in the world. That will be your inspiration: Examples: Members inspired to serve in our voter registration drive and the knitting missions project. Flu Clinic on Election Day; new project through Dominican University; Christina F. recovering faster than anyone would have expected (anyone but God).
- We worship God with joy! We tell others what God has done and is doing.
- We give generously as God gives us ability. Monetary offerings are symbol of the greater offering of ourselves in praise.
- Remember that Jesus will eventually judge and the earth will be redeemed. Those who have put their trust in God through Jesus will go on to their reward and sing a new song yet again, this time with all of creation.
- We gain hope from these words, “the kingdom of the world has become, the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” Rev. 11:15
- God’s rule offers stability and justice for the world and all its people. In the face of injustice, inhumanity and cruelty of our degraded and broken world, we can still proclaim the present reality of God’s reign when we say in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thine is the kingdom” while we hope for the fuller expression of it when we say “thy Kingdom come.” It is the failure to establish justice and righteousness that indicts those who set themselves up as demi-gods and the other things we set up as idols that plunge the earth into chaos.(Ps. 82: 1-5). But justice and righteousness is the hallmark of God’s reign. So where we see chaos and confusion, we must sing all the louder to drown out the noise that is not joyful, that is not hopeful, that we might uplift those who are losing their way.
Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. WE ARE HIS SANCTUARY. Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary….. We CAN sing a new song because God’s mercies are new each and every day, even now and from this moment on. You may think I can’t sing a new song, I’m in too much pain, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Psalm 96, like the preaching of Jesus, offers a choice—accept and believe that God is in control, that Jesus will come again and set all wrong things right and that he will judge the world with righteousness and all people with his truth. Are you willing to submit to God’s sovereignty and his Lordship? Are your ready to go forward singing a new song?