Sing a New Song…by Pastor Tony Minell
As the weather changes the warm scent of burning wood (can a scent be warm?) fills the cool morning air. Wood-heated homes are warming up. That scent immediately transports me to a new (and old) season. Memories of this season begin to flood back, and the dreams of new memories are awakened.
The potency of scent is so evocative, so powerful, that though we are months away from it, Christmas memories flood my mind. Those songs we know so well are dusted and taken off the shelf. “O Come, All Ye Faithful” begins playing in my mind. My mind’s chorus begins “The First Noel.”
Like scents, these songs, along with countless other songs that we know so well, transport us to memories of years gone by. In the same way, when singing some of the great hymns of the faith, I find myself reliving the memories formed when those songs became “my” songs. Songs are meant to do this.
Part of their purpose, as we observe throughout God’s Word, is to transport the singer to a past moment – wherein the Lord did a mighty deed.
The first of these Scriptural odes was composed by Adam in Genesis 2. The Lord creates for Adam a helper “fit” for him – and, it was love at first sight! Adam sings (and I think he danced!), “This, at last is bone of my bone…!” Forever we can sing and remember the way the Lord blessed Adam with a helpmeet perfect for him (husbands – sing this song over your beloved helpmeet!).
Immediately after the Lord brought His people through the Red Sea, Moses and the people of Israel sang the song recorded in Exodus 15:1-18. The purpose was for subsequent generations to remember what the Lord had done!
In Scripture, song after song is recorded for the purpose of remembering His story. History’s scent is captured in the rhythm, tune and words of what should be our favorite songs.
It is no wonder then, that in Scripture, the Lord regularly commands us to “sing a new song” to the Lord. This refrain (which is fittingly a song in and of itself) occurs in Isaiah, Revelation and throughout the Psalms.
What is most surprising to me about this repeated call to “sing the Lord a new song” is its assumption. A regular call to all subsequent generations to sing a new song to the Lord assumes that the Lord will always be doing a new work. If the songs of the past are a testament to what God has done, the call to sing new songs assumes that God is and will be at work today.
In other words, we can only obey God’s command to sing a new song if we believe that God is at work today. If God is not currently at work, the old ballads would suffice. But Scripture’s premise is that God is always at work – and therefore, always worthy of a new song!
Do you believe this?
If we were to look at today’s circumstances we may be tempted to not sing a new song. We might be tempted to limit our Spotify playlist to something like “the best of funeral dirges of days gone by.”
But like the setting of Psalm 96 (please read/sing it), we live in a time when the world needs to know that God is still doing a marvelous work! For even today, He is gloriously worthy of praise!
To sing a new song today is akin to letting the world know that His mercies are new even today! He is worthy of a new song even when it does not look like anything positive is happening – He is worthy! For the Christian to sing a new song today is to proclaim that we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Jesus is actually doing a work in each of us today – a work that He will continue until the day of completion. He is changing each of us. The leopard’s spots are changing. That is miraculous. That is a subject worthy of a thousand songs every day.
We must resist the belief that He is only worthy of a new song when we like what He is doing. The command to sing God a new song understands His worthiness in all circumstances.
God is doing a new work today, and for that, I publicly rejoice. Let His song be heard among the nations as this new season in which we find ourselves carries a myriad of new scents. And may the scents of this new season fill our storehouses of future memories.
Jesus is at work and in Him, I rejoice.
Pastor Tony Minell