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"Sing to him a new song ... and shout for joy" - Psalm 33:3.

The Bible contains several references to singing ‘a new song’ and in each of them this ‘new song’ is grounded in truth about God.

In Psalm 33 the ‘new song’ is based on who God is –

the One whose word is right and true,
the One who is faithful and trustworthy,
the One whose love is unfailing,
the One who loves justice,
the sovereign Creator to whom everything owes its origin and existence,
the One on whom all things depend, irrespective of whether they know it or not,
the One who is in sovereign control over all things and all people.

Because God is who he is we are exhorted to ‘sing to the LORD a new song’ with great and confident joy.

And we wonder, perhaps, why that word ‘new’ is there, for these truths are not new; these are the truths that are embedded in nature, that have been proclaimed by the scriptures for millennia … they are old truths, original truths, foundational truths. Yet on the basis of these truths we are commanded to joyfully, jubilantly, sing a ‘new’ song.


But not ‘new’ in terms of chronology, not ‘new’ in terms of never having been sung before.

Rather, this song is -

new in terms of contrast with the fear and despair that have characterized our human lives from Genesis 3 onwards,

new in terms of contrast with the hopeless lostness and aloneness of our disconnection from God,

new in terms of contrast with the confusion and uncertainty that expresses our fundamental ignorance of God.

This ‘new song’ comes from a 'new' awareness and knowledge of God that erupts in exultant praise as we escape from the old mindset:

I am no longer nameless: there is God and he has created the whole universe and me.
I am no longer outcast: there is God and he loves me
I am no longer alone: there is God and he is with me.
I no longer disbelieve: there is God and he has revealed himself.
I am no longer threatened: there is God and he is the Sovereign Lord.
I am no longer without hope: there is God and he is for me.
I need no longer fear: there is God and he is faithful.

This command ‘sing to him a new song’ is a call to put aside our human views of god and to embrace him who alone is God, and in that repentance, in that return to the one true God, in that sure and certain knowledge of God to experience and to express ongoing, immeasurable joy.

Those who know the true God have, above all others, the most reason to sing for joy.

Although we still sin, although we still suffer, although it is right and reasonable to cry and to grieve, yet, deep down, underneath it all, and rising high above it all, there is this new song, this joy, that has its source and its foundation in God.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2012, 2019