Heh. The Message version certainly has a way of putting it.
The instruction in this verse is an interesting one and one that I see overlooked in places, but is not necessarily as hard as it appears. For example the Psalmist certainly isn’t instructing us to all of a sudden turn into Lennon/McCartney and come up with the next greatest smash hit. In fact if you noticed on some of the Psalms these are words that have been put to familiar tunes for the time.
So the invitation here is not to be looking to be all original. New praise isn’t a demand to be original. It’s an instruction to see what the Lord has done in your life and put that to song. A song of praise. A song declaring the greatness of the Lord in your life.
True story: I was minding my own business at a large shopping store and while walking through a packed car pack, I came across a car weaving it’s way up and down the area looking for a vacant spot and on finding it, the car wheeled in quickly. I saw the driver leap out of the car and exclaim a brief rendition of an old pop song with her own ‘lyrics’ singing her exasperation away. It was comical for two reasons, firstly to say her singing was slightly off key would perhaps be a kindness too far. Secondly, the store was closing and soooooo …
In any case, the incident highlighted to me that we are able to express ourselves in song We have hymns both modern and ancient that can help us, yet these were all fresh at one time. These were all new. These were all one person’s (or in some cases more than one person – there’s a helpful hint) expression of truth, expression of their lives, expression of their experiences with God in good times and bad as well as experiences of the greatness of God. They were crafted out of experiences just like the one the poor driver had.
You don’t have to worry about rhyming and rhythm, you don’t have to be concerned about eloquence and vocabulary. The beauty of praise is that it will just flow from you – and the invitation is to continue that flow and express it in song. This Psalm gives a lot of reason to do that and doesn’t limit it to the human experience. The invitation is extended to creation.
Give it a go. You know some songs, you have come across some tunes before. You know what God has done for you lately – how He has worked wonders in your life. Praise Him and put it to song and there – you have sung to the Lord a new song. You don’t have to worry about recording it, you can do it in the privacy of your own head and let it out of your lips when you are safe enough. Maybe it will only be you and God that ever hears it, but it is to Him that you’re giving it, He is worth it too.
He is doing wonderful things in life, it’s worth singing a new song for that.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden