We have been going through a sermon series through various Psalms. This past Sunday, the sermon was on Psalm 40. It's probably among the most familiar Psalms. U2 even had a song written straight from the words of this psalm. We sang that song on Sunday.
New things hit me when I go through the Psalms, which is one of the reasons why it becomes my "resting place" during my devotions when I don't have any other Bible books that I am going through. This time through, the verse that struck me the most was verse 3, "He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him."
What does it mean to sing a new song? I think it means that God is constantly revealing new things about his character to us, things to which we respond in gratefulness and thanksgiving. Does it mean that we never sing old songs? No. I think that we will always have songs which we sing that have attested to the character of God in the past and the truths that they have attested to are still true today.
But we can often get caught up in the extremes. We either determine that we will only sing old songs because they are sufficient for us. That seems a bit presumptuous to me because, intentionally or not, it seems that we might be saying that we have learned all that there is to learn about God and there is nothing new to learn about Him. Considering John 21:25, I find that hard to believe. "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." If Jesus' works could fill books, how much more can songs be written about who he is and who God is, having been revealed to us through Jesus?
We can also get caught up in singing only new songs. When we are constantly trying to sing new songs, maybe we forget about the old songs. But that's not necessarily the case. We could just be trying to write new songs about some of the material that the old songs were based on. The important thing is, are we asking God to reveal new things about who He is, His character, to us? Are we constantly seeking after Him, seeking to know Him more today than we did yesterday?
Our relationship with God is just that, a relationship, if we think that we have "arrived" in a relationship and figured everything out about a person, I think we have another thing coming. I certainly wouldn't take that approach with my wife. If we can never know everything that there is to know about finite people, how could we presume to know all that there is to know about an infinite God?
I hope and pray that I will continue to sing new songs to the Lord, praising Him for who He is and what He has done. David continues on in the verse and says that many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him through those new songs. That's what I want to be a part of, singing new songs that help others to see who Jesus is that He might be praised and glorified. We can still do that with the old songs as well, but we need to constantly be seeking new ways in which to express what God is constantly revealing to us. If we aren't singing new songs, we need to be careful to not be growing too comfortable in our knowledge of God, thinking we've got it all figured out.