Summary: Sing to the Lord A New Song 1) Inspired by his truthfulness 2) Inspired by his influence; 3) Inspired by his watchfulness
I quit listening to music on the radio a long time ago. Why? Because they keep playing the same songs over and over again. I suspect that many others don’t like commercial radio either because wherever you go, people are plugged into MP3 players, not transistor radios. People like the ability to save hundreds of songs on those listening devices so they don’t have to listen to the same ten songs you often hear played on the radio.
When it comes to worshipping the Lord, do you feel as if you’re listening to a radio station with a limited play list? Have we sung the same hymns enough times that they have become stale? If so, then today’s sermon text is for you. King David, a master musician, will teach us to sing a new song to the Lord. This new song is inspired by the Lord’s truthfulness, his influence, and his watchfulness.
Actually David isn’t going to teach us a song with new words or a new melody. What makes this song “new” is our attitude when we sing it. The reason our hymns might be stale is not because the music is bad or the words boring, it’s because we’re not really thinking about what we’re singing or to whom. So David begins by saying: “1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him... 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. 4 For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:1, 3, 4).
When do you feel like singing the most? It’s when things are going well, right? You’ll sing a happy tune (or whistle one) if the sun is shining, the boss gave you a promotion, or you aced a test. But notice that’s not the reason David gives for singing to the Lord. We are to praise him because his word is right and true, and he is faithful in all he does (Psalm 33:4). That reality will put a song on our lips even when the sun isn’t shining, and things aren’t going so well at work or at school.
Consider the disciples in our gospel lesson. They didn’t feel like singing at all when Jesus announced that he would soon be leaving them (visibly though not physically). But Jesus explained how this was actually a reason to rejoice because he was going to prepare a place for them in heaven and would one day come back to take them to be with him where they would live forever in eternal happiness. Can Jesus be trusted? He spoke those words 2,000 years ago and we have yet to set eyes on him. Is Jesus like a presidential hopeful who makes great promises on the campaign trail he has no intention of keeping? Of course not. What great event did we celebrate last month to prove that Jesus is faithful in all he does? We celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus had promised to rise from the dead and he did. Therefore his word is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. It’s no wonder David concluded: “the earth is full of his unfailing love” (Psalm 33:5b). There isn’t a place in this world where God’s love is absent or lacking. God’s unfailing love is as much present in a dreary ER waiting room as on a glorious mountain peak in Jasper. His love is as valid here in St. Albert as it is where the rest of our family may live. Just as water surrounds you in a swimming pool whether you swim to the left or right or up or down, so God’s love surrounds us no matter where we end up in this world. And so every morning, whether snow or shine, we have reason to sing a new song to the Lord, inspired by his truthfulness, not how we feel at any given moment.
But can we really believe that God will do everything he says? Sure. In fact David says that another reason to sing a new song to the Lord is for his influence. David wrote: “6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth… 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:6, 9).
God’s Word is not only truthful it’s powerful. When God created the world, he simply spoke and lakes, mountains, and the sun came into existence. If I want to build something, I first have to envision it, draw blueprints, raise money, and then hire builders. Not God. No time or effort was lost from concept to reality.
But hasn’t so much gone wrong with God’s creation? Animals God created to live peacefully together now tear each other apart. Forget the animals, people God created to love one another tear each other apart. Doesn’t God care? Can’t he do anything about all the violence here on earth? Of course he can and does. God is not an absentee landlord. He is very active in controlling what goes on down here. David said: “10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:10, 11).