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
Declare his glory among the nations,
His marvelous deeds among all peoples.
Sunnyview, it is time to sing! Right now - where ever you are – take a deep breath and SING! I can imagine two scenarios taking place as I write this at my other office (coffee shop): 1) People clearing the room in a panic like that of a for-real-fire-alarm (because they have not read this article) or 2) people join in and a heavenly-junior-varsity choir begins to form. I am sure that most people would be looking for a safe zone to hide rather than joining with me in a star struck, next American Idol success story. But I think the meaning of the Psalm extends beyond any one of our singing abilities and points us to the very presence of God himself.
Psalm 96 begins with five imperatives (commands) of which the first three are to “SING to the Lord.” If the scripture says it once it is important. If the scripture says it two times in a row, it is really-really important. Three times in a row it is essentially a matter of life and death. The idea of being commanded to sing is frightening because we turn our attention to singing based on our abilities (or lack of abilities) rather than seeing the one that we are singing to. He is the one who can give us a new song to sing. He is the one who invites us to join with the rest of his creation in a song. When we realize that he is worthy of praise we are commanded to sing proclaiming “His salvation day after day” and “glorify him with other people.” He waits to hear each of our songs.
Before you start to clear your throat and begin to express yourself in some musical expression, please read on. The basic mechanics of Music isthe key to understanding what God is commanding us to do in this Psalm. Every sound is a vibration. When the vibration is the same, it is said to be on pitch and that is good. When the vibration is different, one of two things occurs: the tone can harmonize, creating beautiful sound or the vibration will not synchronize with the other notes creating a sound totally opposite of beauty. When we are commanded to sing and we harmonize with who God is and what He has accomplished through Jesus coming to this earth, dying in our place, and resurrecting from the dead, a beautiful sound is created – a sound that harmonizes with others who are singing and praising him. Ultimately, God has arranged a great symphony in his throne room, it is called the church and God is the audience. We are all invited to harmonize with him and with each other in declaring his glory and his praise!