Praise the Lord.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.
The middle line of that verse made me cringe when I read it a while back…so much so that I did a little study to prove that the NIV is NOT the best translation. Turns out it IS a correct translation. I am supposed to sing a NEW song to the Lord in the assembly of his faithful people.
OK, so the translation is accurate, but perhaps this is a specific prescription (sing together a fresh song) for a specific people (the Jews) in a specific place (in Israel) at a specific time (at the dedication of the second temple). Maybe it’s not meant to apply across peoples, places, and times.
Maybe, but the instruction is repeated seven times throughout the Bible (and not all of them are in the book of Psalms). Further confounding my attempts to side-step Psalm 149:1, there are two times in the book of Revelation where John describes this happening at the culmination of time.
Well, I know when to give up. Apparently, the Psalmist actually means that I am supposed to sing to the Lord fresh songs…songs that are new to me, songs that I have to learn to like, songs that I would not choose unless I was choosing to obey Scripture. As I reflected on that, I saw these applications in my own life:
Maybe I should allow my children to listen to their Christian music station in the car instead of mine. I may not know the songs, but hearing fresh Christian music will help me appreciate God in new ways.
When I am with younger people at Christian conferences, maybe I should strive to learn and sing the songs they are singing, if for no other reason than God asks me to.
In my private worship, maybe I should incorporate a new-to-me song on a regular basis. This will make my own worship more intentional as I must learn new lyrics and rhythms.
Perhaps I should lead God’s people to be faithful to His Word by learning fresh songs that we can sing when we gather to worship.
Some of those are harder for me than others, and if I don’t miss my guess, the same is true for you. That last one, especially, can be difficult for all of us. Nonetheless, it will be beneficial for Beulah Missionary Church to make sure that we are singing fresh music.
To those ends, in 2018 our Praise Team will be introducing us to new music. We will not be leaving behind the songs that we have come to know and love (hymns, choruses, and songs); we will be adding to those new, fresh songs that help us sing of God’s glory in new ways.
I have been working with the leadership of the Praise Team to identify the best new songs for us to learn. Some of them are brand new songs, others are fresh approaches to songs that have nourished several generations before us. All are songs that we believe God would have us sing together in order to praise Him in the assembly of His faithful people. Next week I will share more about how we went about choosing these fresh songs, how we will strive to introduce them, and what new songs we will be singing.
Today, though, I would like to end by inviting you to pray with me this prayer:
Father, thank you for Your Word. When I live by it, it is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. That includes these 7 times when you invite me to sing to You new, fresh songs. By Your Holy Spirit, please help me to have a willing spirit to obey and a soft heart to feel Your glory in fresh ways through new music. Please quicken my mind that I may learn these new songs quickly and loosen my tongue that I may sing them with sincerity. As all of that happens, Father, please help me to set an example for the younger believers of what it means to faithfully follow our Lord and Savior, even when it involves doing something I would rather not do. Thank you for Your grace, Father, and that even when the songs change, YOU do not! AMEN.