New Song for a New Year: Walking through the Psalms

I want to take a another walk through the Psalms. As I mentioned earlier the Psalms are a rich repository of wisdom, encouragement, and reflection on God. The past week or so I have been meditating on Psalms 96.

You know there’s something powerful about a song, it can stir feelings that can be dormant. It can revive passions, switch up a foul attitude, and set you in a good one. In fact I got a new song. Not a song that I have made, but there is a song that when it plays, I wanna get up with my wife hold her and do a little two step. My wife and I have other songs that we both like, but sometimes you need a new song.

Come with me into my time machine.  As we exit, take a look at a young shepherd boy tending sheep. Soon this same teenager, a musical genius,  is invited to the throne because it his thought that his playing will soothe the mental torment of the king. Fast forward  as this shepherd and part time musician single handedly wins a war for his country. Next the very King who he’s played for, and fought for becomes jealous of him. Then while playing for this same King, he narrowly avoids death from a flying javelin thrown by his king. He is forced to leave his home, his family, and friends and live on the run. He lives in caves, valleys, mountains, far from the comforts of the palace. Then while he is away, he gets news that this king is killed, but sadly his best friend also dies.

Upon finally returning home, the nation unites under him. The national symbol of God’s presence, the ark of the very God that he cried out and sung to, lies far away in some small village. He attempts to bring that symbol back  to the capital. He organizes a huge parade complete with singers and instruments, people come from miles only to have the person who is carrying this national treasure die. The celebration is cancelled, the plans ruined, money sunk, spirits broken. Time passes and he discovers his mistake, he assigns the proper people to carry the ark; the priests, he organizes another parade, this one bigger than the last. People have traveled from miles away, to gather to celebrate the coming of God’s presence. He has arranged singers upon singers, he has written songs, composed music, prepared food for thousands upon thousands to welcome their God. He has been through a lot, he has written many songs, but for today, to celebrate his new kingdom, the beginning of his reign, he writes some special songs. Psalms 96 is one of those. Here is the first five verses. It is also found in part in  1 Chronicles 16.

Oh sing to the Lord ba new song;

sing to the Lord, all the earth!

2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;

ctell of his salvation from day to day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous works among all the peoples!

4 For dgreat is the Lord, and egreatly to be praised;

he is to be feared above fall gods.

5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,

but the Lord gmade the heavens.

Sing to the Lord a new song.

New seasons demand new songs. There’s a reason there’s so many psalms. David needed to express his thanksgiving, his affection, and joy in his Lord. Notice who is commanded to sing? All the earth is. This God is not just the God of Israel, This God demands the singing the affection of all the world. That includes Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus’s. This God demands your voice, he seeks your song.  He desires us to Bless his name. The name is significant in that it reveals his nature. We are blessing his willingness to reveal himself to us. God has not left us without evidence of his existence. Many just refuse to accept the evidence. God has revealed himself in the person of Jesus. Let us Bless his name.

Talk about the Lord

We are instructed that our singing do at least three things.  Proclaim his salvation, Declare his glory and his marvelous deeds.  We should proclaim his salvation day after day. This is not saying go out and evangelize every day, though that is commendable. What this does point to is that there should never be a day where we fail to recognize, or thank him for the salvation that he has offered. David understood this. He had been fighting all of his life. He’d suffered many scars, many pains, he’d seen friends, and family die. He knew the stress of the enemy, but yet was aware that his deliverance was not just by his might, skill or intelligence, it was because of the Lord. So when he brings the ark to the City of David, when he invites the presence of God into his dwelling, he understands that it is God who has given him victory from the Philistines, the Moabites, Edomites, and Ammonites. It is God who has given you victory over cancer, diabetes, domestic violence, poverty, unemployment, and depression. Our victory’s are not something we should hide or conceal. They are life giving. They are things we should remind ourselves, and should declare to the nations. He is our salvation. He has not only saved us from earthly perils, but from the greatest enemy of all; eternal death and separation from him.

When is the last time you’ve shared your story, your victory, your testimony. Your testimony is not just for you, its not just for the church. Its for the world. That they may know that there is a living God who saves. That they may see the glory of God in you. Let them see the glory in your battles, in your sickness, in your brokenness. Our singing is what gives us hope. We must always be a people of hope. It is in this that God’s glory is displayed. When is the last time you shared how glad you are that God saved you from sin, from a life without him? For me this is convicting. The spirit behind this Psalm is not so much you have to do this, but to let the hope and thankfulness spring from you. Let it bubble over in your talking, and in your singing. Why is it that many of our kids know more lyrics to poisonous songs than the words of life. If we are not filling ourselves with his word, or we are filling ourselves with doubt, worry,  desperation, it will be difficult to be the light bearers that God has called us to be. Let his praise break through your tiredness, your doubts and fears. For he is worthy. HE’S WORTHY!!!. That’s how the preacher used to shout it in my old church.

Our God is supreme to the world’s gods.

Verses four and five echo that God is using us to show his supremacy over all other gods. Our lifestyles should reflect our singing. We should not fear our governments when they are oppressive. We should not fear sickness, we don’t fear money, we don’t succumb to the pride of life. We don’t attribute our success solely to our works, our lives do not revolve around us, but around our God and his mission. This world is built on materialism, power, and hedonism. Doing whatever makes you happy regardless of the cost. These ideologies are false gods. We should not bow down or succumb to these ideologies, for it is the Lord who made the heavens. We do not believe we are here by accident. We are made by a loving and holy God. It is him who should be feared.

As you enter into a new year. What song are you going to sing to the Lord? Who will you share your testimony to? If your walk with the Lord is getting stale,  do like I do, let that song play and get ready to two step with the Lord. Remember we are instruments of his glory. My prayer is that we will declare that our God is worthy, no matter what circumstances we are in. May he fills with joy, and may he give you a new song.

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