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A New Song

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised. Psalm 96.1-4a.

As I read these words this morning, it struck me how often the songs that I sing to the Lord are old songs. I don’t mean that I spend my times of worship singing him only 18th and 19th century hymns. I mean that all too often I praise him for the same old things in the same old perfunctory kind of way without there being any freshness (the Hebrew word chadash that is translated “new” carries the sense of “fresh”) or re-awakened wonder in my praise.

But according to the psalmist, old songs will really not do and a new song is called for. He tells me to sing a new song not only here but in Psalm 33.3, Psalm 98.1 and in Psalm 149.1. He says that he himself will sing a new song in Psalm 144.9. And in Psalm 40.1-3 he tells me where new songs come from: “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” New songs are songs of the Spirit, outpourings of praise and worship composed and orchestrated by him in my heart so that they can be given voice to by my mouth.

When the twenty-four elders and then the 144,000 sing “a new song” in heaven (Revelation 5.9, 14.3) it is a kainos song, not a neos song. In Greek there are two words for “new”: neos means new in point of time but kainos means new in point of character and nature and substance. Again it is freshness and originality that is being stressed. It is a song that “no one could learn” (Revelation 14.3). It is a “given” song that comes to our lips as the Spirit shows us (according to this morning’s reading) the wonder of God’s salvation — his work of deliverance and restoration in our lives, his glory — the splendour of his presence and his love, and his marvellous works — the awesomeness of the created universe and the awesomeness of what he does in human lives.

So … time to end this post and time to let the Spirit open my eyes to something wonderfully fresh about our Lord and Saviour and to create a new song in my heart with which I can praise him and worship him this morning.

O Lord have mercy on me, and heal me;
O Lord have mercy on me, and free me.
Place my feet upon a rock,
put a new song in my heart, in my heart,
O Lord have mercy on me.

O Lord may Your love and Your grace protect me;
O Lord may Your ways and Your truth direct me.
Place my feet upon a rock,
put a new song in my heart, in my heart,
O Lord have mercy on me.

Place my feet upon a rock,
put a new song in my heart, in my heart,
O Lord have mercy on me,
O Lord have mercy on me, on me.

Carl Tuttle

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