A Word from the Word

A New Song


Psalm 96:1–2

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.     NIV

God exhorts us there to express our praise to Him in various ways. In particular, He says that we are to “sing to the Lord a new song.” God never wants His praise to become old, to become stale, to become just a matter of ritual and routine.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul writes to Christians in the epistle to the Ephesians. He speaks about three different ways in which we can bring praise and worship to God. He speaks about psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Psalms, I understand to mean, are those which are recorded for us in the inspired words of Scripture. Hymns are the great traditional songs of the Christian church which have been consecrated by age and usage and which express our faith and our worship. But there are also spiritual songs. I believe that’s what the psalmist speaks about when he speaks about a “new song.” That’s not something that’s written down in advance. That’s something that’s given to us spontaneously by the Holy Spirit just as we enter God’s Holy Spirit and begin to worship Him, just as we recognize some new facet of His salvation.

So the Holy Spirit gives us a new song, maybe in our own words or it may be in a language given by the Holy Spirit, but it’s a spontaneous response to a fresh revelation of God’s ongoing salvation.