August 25: Psalm 33

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Singing new songs is one of those things that stirs different thoughts and feelings in different Christian circles; but here in this psalm David vigorously encourages the practice!  But before either side in the worship discussion gets too excited about what he says, we would do well to pause and reflect on what he means.

The newness of the songs he invites God's people to sing is not so much in their being new compositions (though, prolific composer of psalms that he was, he can hardly have been ruling that out) as songs that are sung with freshness and fervour.

As we read on into the psalm we begin to get a flavour of what exactly he has in mind as he pens these words. At two key points in the first half of the psalm he points to 'the word of the Lord' as the stimulus for praise; but what is striking is that the 'word' of which he speaks is God's creative and providential word. It is perhaps easier for us to think of 'Scripture in Song' (whether ancient or modern) as the highest form of praise; but David accords the same kind of enthusiasm for the 'his powerful word' by which God sustains all things (He 1.3).

There are at least two compelling reasons why this should inspire our worship in the way that David describes. The first is the fact that it is in the Lord that we all 'live and move and have our being' (Ac 17.28) - we do not draw a single breath apart from our dependence on God. The second is the Lord's mercies are 'new every morning' (La 3.23) - there is a freshness to every good gift that comes down from above (no matter how often we may have received it) that should give rise to fresh expressions of praise.

Whatever our personal thoughts may be on 'new songs' there can be no arguing with the fact that our worship must never grow stale. Just as there is freshness from God every day in this tired old world in which we live, so also there ought to be a freshness in our response to him that is a fitting expression of our love and adoration for him and gratitude for all he give us - even in the simplest things of life.

When we cultivate such a spirit of worship, then - as David says at the close of the psalm - we can truly 'wait in hope for the Lord'.

Posted August 26, 2010 @ 10:20 AM by Mark Johnston
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