Sing a New Song
Eternal God, on this last Sunday of the year, I thank You for love toward me. Surely, goodness and mercy have been with me all year.
Read Psalm 98:1-9
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“What is a person’s chief end? A person’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever” (Westminster Shorter Catechism). The psalmists can help us to “glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”
Every Sunday, all over the world, people gather to sing to God. For non-believers, this is futile. For God’s people, it is non-negotiable. Singing is rooted deep in God’s story, from Miriam (Exod. 15:20,21) to Christmas (Luke 1:46-79), to people from every nation gathered in eternal song (Rev. 7:9-19). Essential to being human is singing to God.
Psalm 98 begins with an imperative: sing a “new song” to God–singing fresh compositions and older songs anew (Rev. 5:9). It tells us why Israel is to sing (1-3); for what God has done in Israel’s history from creation to the return from exile. God’s “salvation” has been witnessed by the nations, so God’s people should sing. Supremely, Israel sang of God’s hesed, his steadfast covenantal love and faithfulness. As Christians, we too remember and sing of God’s “marvelous things”–his redemptive actions from creation to new creation. In particular, we sing of Jesus, the incarnate revelation of God’s hesed (Rom. 5:8). We sing of the cross, the resurrection and eternal hope.
The psalmist urges the use of instruments (4-6). Whether with organ, pop instrumentation, African drum or Indian sitar, God’s people play and sing praise joyfully to God (Eph. 5:18,19). The vision is cosmic and prophetic. Ultimately, a whole renewed creation itself will sing “freedom!” (Rom. 8:19-23). It anticipates people from “all the earth” (4) joining this chorus.
Amazingly, this is happening in our time. The psalm concludes with God coming as judge. This should not make us afraid, for he will judge us with righteousness and equity. Rather, we respond with the psalm’s appeal; we sing! As the angel said to John, “Worship God” (Rev. 19:10). It is for this that we were created.
As this year ends, find some quiet, put on some music or write a song, reflect and sing to the Lord a new song. Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Lord, today I praise You for who You are, and I thank You for what You have done.
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