Today: [Psalm 95-96] Rediscovering the New Song. In today’s study we see reference to the New Song. The new song is not a scripted song in a piece of sheet music. The new song is something mentioned throughout the bible as the highest form of musical expression directed at God. We also see in these two chapters that songs were directed TO God not just themed about God. It is important to rekindle the place of song in our lives not just for its melodic value but for its capacity to turn our focus to Him who sits on the throne of our lives.
[Psa 95:1-11 KJV] 1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. 3 For the LORD [is] a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand [are] the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills [is] his also. 5 The sea [is] his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry [land]. 6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. 7 For he [is] our God; and we [are] the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, [and] as [in] the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with [this] generation, and said, It [is] a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
Psalm 95 is interesting and unique because although it is untitled and unattributed in authorship – the New Testament in Heb. 4:7 says that it was written by David. The fact that a New Testament passage validates the unspecified authorship of the psalm also connects it with the message of that verse in Hebrews on the subject of entering into God’s rest.
Verse 1 is also enlightening on the subject of the structure of psalms and spiritual songs. The verse says to sing UNTO the Lord. There are several approaches to song writing. We can sing TO God, or we can sing ABOUT God, or about other spiritual / religious themes. This verses states that we should sing TO God. Songs are an interaction with God and with the Spirit of God. For instance, the late John Wimber wrote the following song with powerfully demonstrates the benefit of singing TO and not just ABOUT God:
Isn’t He (isn’t He)Beautiful (beautiful)?Beautiful (beautiful)Isn’t He (isn’t He)?Prince of peaceSon of God, isn’t He?
This is one of my personal favorites and a very intimate song extolling the virtues of God. The conceptualization of focusing ON God or simply ABOUT God extends as well to our theology and bible study. In the New Testament we have two kinds of teachings – those ABOUT Jesus and those BY Jesus. The Gospels record for us what Jesus actually taught. The epistles teach us ABOUT Jesus – thus establishing a framework for what we believe concerning Him and what it means to us in terms of Christian culture.
Larry Lea in the 1980’s framed a statement “read the red and pray for the power…” In other words don’t neglect the teachings of Jesus actually attributed to Him. When we prefer the epistles above the gospels we stray from sound doctrine even though the doctrine we are studying is true. When we present the epistles in preference to the gospels we are inadvertently creating RELIGIOUS infrastructure in the thinking of people rather than the SPIRITUAL REALITY evinced by the actually sayings of Jesus. We don’t simply want to know ABOUT God – we want direct access to the divine.
[Psa 96:1-13 KJV] 1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. 2 Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. 4 For the LORD [is] great, and greatly to be praised: he [is] to be feared above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the nations [are] idols: but the LORD made the heavens. 6 Honour and majesty [are] before him: strength and beauty [are] in his sanctuary. 7 Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 8 Give unto the LORD the glory [due unto] his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. 9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. 10 Say among the heathen [that] the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. 11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. 12 Let the field be joyful, and all that [is] therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice 13 Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
Psalm 96 is about singing to the Lord “a new song”. This is almost totally lost even to Renewalist, Charismatic, Pentecostal churches today. The “new song” is not something found at the top of the Christian music charts. The new song is an unscripted, spontaneous song sung either in the Spirit on in your known language. It is advocated throughout scripture and evokes a sense of God’s presence in a very unique way. There are 9 verses on the “new song” throughout the Old and New Testaments:
[Psa 33:3 KJV] 3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
[Psa 40:3 KJV] 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, [even] praise unto our God: many shall see [it], and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
[Psa 96:1 KJV] 1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.
[Psa 98:1 KJV] 1 [[A Psalm.]] O sing unto the LORD a new song…
[Psa 144:9 KJV] 9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God…
[Psa 149:1 KJV] 1 Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise in the congregation of saints.
[Isa 42:10 KJV] 10 Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise from the end of the earth…
[Rev 5:9 KJV] 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof…
[Rev 14:3 KJV] 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders…
Let us not forget the place of song in the life of a believer. These are not funeral dirges either. Neither are the clever little ditties designed to garner popularity for their turn of phrase. Singing is for every believer in every place where we find ourselves.
[Psa 149:5-6 KJV] 5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6 [Let] the high [praises] of God [be] in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;
Singing is not just for the congregation. Both the Old and New Testament speak of singing in your bed! The writer of Ephesians compares the place of song in comparison with wine in the life of a believer:
[Eph 5:18-20 KJV] 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
We make a mistake when we leave music and spiritual expression to the professionals. There is a new song that cannot be sung off of music sheets or originate in the sound studio. The early days of the Charismatic movment were filled with spontaneous, new song that had a haunting, other worldly beauty. To hear 100’s or 1000’s singing a new song in some of the Charismatic conferences of the 60’s and 70’s felt like listening to choirs of angels singing beyond the veil in the Holy of Holies.
So let’s give place in our lives to the new song. Let us not forget that the Psalms – the longest book in the bible is a song book as well as a prayer book. David was a man after God’s own heart and he was driven to express harmony and beauty in creation expressed to God in worship and praise. Let’s rekindle the song in our heart and not just leave it to the professionals. You have a song in you because you have God in you. God is a God who delights in our songs and our praise to Him.
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