Sing a New Song!

God’s people – His church – is the living temple in which He chooses to dwell by His grace and mercy.  While nobody but Jesus will consistently “hit the mark” of holy perfection until eternity, Paul urges us to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”[1]  But this fear should not be a dissatisfied, joyless obedience.  Instead, look at Psalm 149:1-4 for an example of how to build life in Christ:

“Praise the LORD!  Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the godly!
2 Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
            let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
3 Let them praise his name with dancing,
            making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
            he adorns the humble with salvation.

Photo by Mic Narra on Unsplash

The 2nd verse says to be glad!  But why should we be glad?  Because we have a loving Maker and King who died that we might live as His children.  None of us are random accidents with no creator and no purpose.  In response (3rd verse), we offer our creativity and energy to God as worship, in all forms available to us (including but not limited to dancing and music!) and within our area of influence.  Accepting us in Christ as we humbly are (4th verse), the Lord takes pleasure as we offer what we have to His service and rewards us with His blessings.  This verse reminds us that God likes us; He wants to be with His people and see them succeed.  He takes pleasure in our praise and enjoyment of Him.

When we acknowledge our Maker and King as the protagonist of our life story, we know that we have an origin, a purpose, and a destiny, and that our lives can have eternal value, beyond all “random acts of kindness”.  Whether our community and culture are crumbling or thriving, the call of God to live in the Spirit can bring “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control.[2]

However, if we insist on being the protagonist and following the idols we create, our worldly altruism and good intentions will never be enough, and our works will always fall short of the mark.  God has better in store for us.

A New Song
Now we return to the 1st verse of Psalm 149: “Praise the LORD!  Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!”

The Psalmist asks us to publicly sing “a new song”: something that’s creative and offered in praise.  It’s an invitation from God to think expansively under the Spirit’s guidance, not restrictively under laws and regulations.  It doesn’t mean we all need to be extroverts, or become what people consider a “creative” person.  You might be a tax collector or a soldier[3].  You might be a clerk, accountant, lawyer, politician, engineer, housewife, mechanic, or anything else.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s about knowing who you are and dedicating that to the Lord and to others.

Therefore, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” – Colossians 3:23-24

Soli Deo Gloria

[1] 2 Corinthians 7:1
[2] Galatians 5:22b-23a
[3] See Luke 3:12-14

2 thoughts on “Sing a New Song!

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