Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sing A New Song

Print Passage: Psalm 96:1-6, 10-13
Devotional Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:23-34

I grew up loving the Perry Mason and Matlock television shows. So when I furthered my education, it was in political science and law. I later experienced twelve (12) years as an alderman in a small community. Law was simply something I loved. I would go to court rooms or turn on a legal reality television show just to watch the cases. But neither the reality of the court room cases nor my legislative experience measured up with my childhood memories of the Perry Mason and Matlock television shows. I had to learn to deal with reality. There were many cases and issues that went against my beliefs. However, I kept saying to myself that God is in charge. He shall be the ultimate judge. Prov 29:13-14 reads, “The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives light to the eyes of both. The king who judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.” (NKJV) Even though the cases and issues resulted against my beliefs, it was not worth losing my salvation. God, the true and ultimate judge, shall be in control. Hallelujah! Praise the LORD!

We are in Unit II – “Praise from and for God’s Creation” of the three units of the quarter. This is the second lesson of a five-lesson study. In the lesson today we shall focus on Psalm 96, one of the enthronement psalms. It has been cited in part in 1 Chronicles 16:23-34, which celebrates the Ark of the Covenant’s arrival in Jerusalem. The psalm therefore celebrates God’s majesty and splendor as both covenant maker and covenant keeper because the Ark symbolized a covenant agreement. Psalm 96 celebrates God as the Creator, the Sustainer, the King over all creation, and the Judge. The psalm can be divided in three sections. Verses 1-6 deals with praising God, verses 7-9 deals with a call to the congregation to worship God and a reflection why there is a need to praise, and verses 10-13 deals with a charge to share the joyous news that the LORD God is King and Judge over all the earth. Section 3 is the climax. It celebrates the majesty and splendor of the King and hails the end times’ hope of the One who will judge the whole world with truth and justice.

Not only are the Israelites expected to praise God for their deliverance, but the entire earth is expected to sing praises as to the wonders, greatness, goodness, and majesty of the LORD. Notice the thrice-repeated command of sing, sing, sing in Psalm 96:1-2, “Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.” (NKJV) Three times we are called to sing unto the LORD: sing praises to the Father, sing praises to the Son, sing praises to the Holy Spirit. Singing of the new song is important. The phrase new song is found in eight other passages: Psalms 33:3; 40:3; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isaiah 42:10; and Revelation 5:9; 14:3. As was stated last week, a new song does not have to be newly composed. It simply means that we sing songs that are fresh with new affections and not stale. We’re singing praises to the Majesty. All the earth is to sing (Rom 8:20-23) and bless his name. The subject matter of our praise is our salvation when Christ gave His life in order that we might have access to the Father and the opportunity to eternal life. This song of salvation praise must be sung constantly.

We are to use every means possible to let the world know of the glory of the LORD to the people of all of the earth. In other words, our means of communicating praise to the world is not limited to singing. We are to publish the Good News of salvation by telling it to every one in every nation. Verse 3 indicates, “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” (NKJV) At one point, in Old Testament times, the salvation had not yet been revealed. Then the salvation was discovered among the Jews, but the Jews failed to accept His glory. His glory was then declared to the Gentiles. This glory must be declared to all the nations. Our God is great and the many wonders He perform(ed)s is beyond our understanding. Humanity must be made aware of His glory and His deeds.

We have discussed that it is necessary to both sing and speak and communicate in any way possible to praise the wonders and glory of God. But truly, why do we do it? The writer at verses 4-6 stated, “For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.” (NKJV) I am reminded of the song by Ricky Dillard. The lyrics of praise are, “The greatness of the Lord is inconceivable. The love that he shows is unconditional. The power of the Lord is unbeatable. Great is the God we serve. God is Great! And greatly to be praised. God is Great! And greatly to be praised."

Even the new song proclaims God as great, good, and to be feared. Man can never be great at all times. But God is! For this reason He is worthy to be praised. The idols which were worshiped by the Israelites, by the Gentiles of the Old Testament, and which are worshiped by all people of today are worthless in contrast with the one true God. Only He is to be feared. Rev 14:7 indicates, “...Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (NKJV) This Scripture of praise explains our appropriate response to the One and Only.

Last week we saw four attributes of God’s Word and Works. (1) The Word of God is right. (2) God’s work and actions are always trustworthy and faithful. (3) God loves righteousness and justice. (4) The earth is full of God’s goodness. Yet these attributes are not the only attributes of God. The psalmist lists four attributes of God as to reasons to worship. They are (1) honor (splendor), (2) majesty, (3) strength and (4) beauty (glory). These attributes are always in God’s presence. Idols do not own any of these attributes.

We have moved from singing a new song (verses 1-4) to attribute to God’s glory as offerings are brought (verses 7-9) to now exulting in the fact that the LORD is the King, the Ruler, the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Vindicator of the World. As His creatures we must submit. Psalm 96:10-13 read, “Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns; the world also firmly established, It shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.’ Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness; Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD. For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.” (NKJV) A further reason for a new song is the climax when the kingdom of Christ is set up and He becomes King and Judge over all the earth. He reigneth from the tree (the cross), was resurrected, sat down on the right hand side of His Father to rule and reign as King and Judge with the Almighty God. The world-system is established on a sound basis and shall not be moved. God planned His work and works His plan. Nothing shall change outside of that plan. The LORD, and no one else, will be the final Judge over all the people. His judgment will be determined in a righteous, just, and fair manner. He will judge in truth. The entire world shall be filled with praise! The heavens and earth and everything within and between the heavens and earth shall rejoice, shouting in praise. Hallelujah! “I’m happy, happy in Jesus Christ!”

Written by Deborah C. Davis

No comments: