“Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise in the assembly of the godly! Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!” (Psalm 149:1-2 ESV)
“Sing to the LORD a new song!” What is new about this song? For centuries the saints have offered up songs, hymns, and chants of praise to the Lord, but this new song is not merely a recently composed melody or new words to a familiar hymn tune. It is not just a contemporary song accompanied by guitars and drums. Our song is new because what God is doing is so new: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19a ESV).
It is a new song about an ancient promise fulfilled, God’s promise to send a Savior. God the Son, Jesus our Lord, took on human flesh to be born among us. He suffered the penalty of death that we deserved for our sins and rose victorious over death. Among the many world religions and other so-called gods, who has heard of such a thing? The Lord our Maker chose us in Christ Jesus to be His holy people. We were not chosen because we stopped sinning or tried very hard to obey His commandments. We were not chosen because we performed the correct ceremonies and brought the right offerings. We were not even chosen because we were singing all the right songs! God chose us in Christ Jesus to be His holy people before we were born, before the world was created.
Our new song celebrates this new thing God has done. He chose us by grace, His undeserved favor for sinners. The mighty Creator of all things, who created everything from oceans to insects, who set the stars and planets in motion, yet knows when even a sparrow falls, chose us—sinners all—to create for Himself, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession” (1 Peter 2:9a ESV). This is something to sing about, with songs both new and old!
Our new song is also about being made new. We have been baptized into Christ, united to His death, burial, and resurrection. We are raised to walk in newness of life and each of us is a new creation. All of this newness has come about because of a new covenant, in which God says of the people He creates and claims for Himself: “I will be their God, and they shall be My people … I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:33b, 34b ESV). It is a covenant sealed in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Finally, when Jesus returns, God will create a new heaven and a new earth. Raised bodily from death as Jesus was raised, we will join the saints and angels singing praise to God our Maker and Redeemer: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12b ESV). It will be a new song, and it will never get old.
Prayer: Lord God, hear and accept my songs of praise, both new and old! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. What song have you recently heard that you really like?
2. Was singing and praising God a thing often done in the Old Testament? Can you give some examples besides those in the Psalms?
3. What’s the best thing about God remembering your sin no more? Does that give you a fresh start?