Psalm 96: Singing A NEW Song

Do me a favor and please read Psalm 96.

We don’t know a whole lot about this psalm but the feeling is that it is “ark-worthy” in nature. What I mean is that this psalm might have been sung while David was bringing the ark to the city of David. So while the ark was being carried people celebrated and were encouraged to sing, dance, and simply worship God. And as this psalm progresses we definitely get little affirmations that this COULD be tied to the ark in that since the ark was the very presence of God all these joyous words reflect what that meant. While the Israelites had the ark and obeyed God – they couldn’t be stopped. No nation or people or “god” could stand before the Lord. And this was something they NEW and looked forward to and hoped for.

I’m challenged by the opening verse: “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.” What IS a “new” song? What’s wrong with my current song? Well, this isn’t about singing to God something that hasn’t been sung before – but is more of an encouragement to remember that you have a NEW REASON to sing each day. As each day granted to you is a new day – so too should our thanks be to God. But again, this isn’t about finding a new song to sing. This is about singing a new song as each day we realize new manifestations of God and his love. To state it in a different way: God’s love doesn’t change each day but our realizations OF GOD’S LOVE does.

So the more we go through life, the more people we encounter and the more things we see and do means God’s love is revealed in new ways. So sing THAT song.

This is all about perspective and choice. Each day we wake up and we are faced with the simple decision of whether we are going to go through the day giving thanks to God or going through the day and ignoring God’s control will over it. Do you see God in the everyday and even the mundane? Do you go through your routine of prayer and thanks to God and leave it at that? Do you change things up and find new joys and hopes even in the sameness of the day?

THAT to me is hard.

My day, for the most part, is about routines. Granted my family just moved from Ames, IA to Fort Collins, CO and so my days are different right now but at some point routine will kick in. At some point all the boxes will be put away and all the house will be put back into a new order and my mornings will return to their normal ways. And the challenge we get from the psalmist is that we are to find a NEW reason to praise God in our everyday everydayness. I think the problem many of us have is that we fail to get into a mindset of NEW “thanks” for each day. I know I definitely fail to give thanks in my normal routines – but the fact that I have a routine and have things to do should move me to give thanks. The fact that God is and was and always will be should move me to give thanks. The fact that he’s asked me to be his hands and feet for one more day should move me to find new thanks. The fact that I am one day closer to seeing his face should move me to joy. The fact that we are one day closer to Christ’s return should bring me to joyful tears.


But there’s a second challenge in the psalm for me: we are to praise him gladly. And not just gladly but we are to proclaim, sing, praise, and rejoice. And not only us but we are to join the heavens, the sea, the fields, the forests, and all of creation! Luke 19:40 and Habakkuk 2:11 both state that even the rocks and stones will cry out. So if these un-moving non-living rocks praise God each and every day…what’s our excuse not to?

Finally, as we look to this psalm we should see its Messianic declaration. That is, Christ and his victory over all nations and people, creation, and evil, should be crystal clear. This was the hope that was given and seen in Christ. He will judge the whole earth in his righteousness and the people in his faithfulness.

Again I ask – if even the rocks cry out in jubilee (and what do they have to sing about?) then what are YOU singing on this new day?

Here’s a challenge for you:

  • God is everywhere and in everything so keep your eyes and mind open today. Ask God to reveal something new to you today. Maybe it’s not a matter of something new to be revealed but maybe it’s something you’ve failed to see? One of the most amazing things for me is finally seeing that which wasn’t necessarily hidden before…but I just wasn’t looking.

Oh, and sorry – I know that picture of the rocks is kind of creepy…but I am also drawn to them in some weird way.

As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this psalm. Maybe you can share with me your “new” song for the day?


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