Something New

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
—Psalm 33:3

There are many places in the psalter where we are exhorted to "sing a new song" to God. Why all this novelty?

Calvin maintains that "new" means a rare or choice song. But we might also take "new" more literally, and accept that the song we sing to God is indeed a new one, one that has not been presented to other beings or powers, one that is premiered, as it were, for God first and God alone.

This might mean two things, both of which seem important.
  1. In the midst of one of the Bible's most depressing books—appropriately called Lamentations—I read these words: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness (3:22-23). Each day, each hour, each moment is something new in my life and new in my relationship with the Divine. Every word of praise that I speak, each song that I sing is new, even if I've said it or sung it before, for the context is different. Because God doesn't do the same old thing in my life, my praise—when sincerely expressed—is never stale.
  2. Just as each moment in each believer's life is new in the eyes of God, so each person is unique. Even when I repeat a 3000 year old song of praise, the song is new, for it has never before been sung with the same voice, powered by the same mind. Because I am singing it, it is new.
God is the only God, every morning is new, and every child of God is unique: Therefore I will sing a new song to God.

Teach me something new, O God, that I may sing your praises in language that hasn't been wasted on anything less than the Creator of all that is; in Jesus' Name. Amen.