Psalm 33 – Is It Possible to Sing a New Song?
Psalm 33 instructs us to sing a new song, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” (3) What might this new song be? How do we know it is new and not just a rehash of other songs, warmed over and re-served? Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. If so, what could this new song be?
Often people claim they are starting out fresh, maybe leaving a relationship or job for another, only to find themselves in the same rut with the same problems, only the names and faces have changed. More often than not, when we preach, we try to find new ways to get across the same old story – the story of God’s love, a message worth repeating. We struggle to find new ways to get our listener’s attention so that God might speak to them. So what is the new song the Psalmist is writing about?
Psalm 33 talks of God as creator. He speaks and the heavens were created: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made; and all their hosts by the breath of his mouth.” (6) In fact God’s word is so powerful that all God has to do is speak and it happens: “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” (9) In contrast, human speech is worthless.
The writer praises God who through his word made the heavens (6-9). It is the Lord’s counsel that stands forever, not the counsel of men (10-11) “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever; the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” Our God watches the goings on below on his earth and keeps his people safe (13-15, 18-19). People are not saved by armies but by their God (16-17). And so we have reason to sing songs to our God, “Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope I his steadfast love,” (18) but what is so new about this?
God in Isaiah says, “See I am doing something new.” Only God can do something new. So how do we know we are doing something new?
If God is the author. Only God, the creator, can bring new life out of dried out bones; only God creates, we are but participants in God’s creation. Even those who do not believe in God will speak of a creative spirit, tapping into this spirit.
Creativity in Psalm 33
The writer of Psalm 33 certainly tapped into that creativity. The Revised Standard Edition says, “He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle; he put the deeps in storehouses.” Imagine, all of the waters of all of the seas, somehow magically transported into a small bottle, the ocean deeps put into store houses. It brings images of a genie shrunk into a bottle.
Then we have the image of God setting in the heavens, looking down on earth, seeing all we do. “The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all humankind.” (13) The writer draws a picture of a king, sitting on a powerful horse, yet falling in defeat. “A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength, the war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save.” (16-17) The poetic imagery in the Psalms is outstanding!
Sing a New Song!
So sing a song to our God. God’s word is powerful. It does what it says. How much more powerful is a word of our Lord sung to the heavens than our feeble human words! Allow God to sing within us, allow God to change us, transform us, and then our song will be new.
This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and and receive a free copy of Still Dancing, the second book in my Dancing through Life Series. click here to sign up
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