THE NEW SONG
What Is Meant By It?
The New Song of the saints is spoken of in the Bible. The singing of a “new song” is referred to nine times in the Word of God (Ps. 33:3; 40:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa. 42;10; Rev. 5:9; 14:3). It is logical that most of these are found in Psalms, the hymn book of the Bible. Some of the texts refer clearly to an individual singing (e.g. Ps. 40:3), others to a group (e.g. Ps. 96:1).
It is possible, and often beneficial, to sing when we are alone. But there is a special delight in singing God’s praises in the assembly of His people. However, our corporate music-making must not be merely a hollow ritual (cf. Ps. 47:7; I Cor. 14:15). It must be a sincere expression of the heart (Ps. 28:7).
That is what is implied by “a new song.” Sadly, some have used this phrase as an excuse to ignore the hymn book, to abandon the richness of two thousand years of Christian hymnody, replacing it with shallow contemporary ditties. ("Why preserve them for our use when they are so old? We want to keep up-to-date.") But if that were the meaning, God would never have given us the book of Psalms, and His people would not have found blessing in singing the hymns and gospel songs written over the years.
The new song is fresh and refreshing, it is renewed and renewing. It may be old in the sense of having been written many years before, or of having been sung before (as were the Psalms, when, when Israel used it over the years). But it arises out of a fresh experience with God (that is the key), giving the singers a new motivation to share a new testimony. In the sharing of it they are renewed in faith and confidence, and in a spirit of praise and thanksgiving, by the Spirit of God.
So how often does your church sing the new song? Picture a local church, after a series of evangelistic meetings in which a number put their faith in Christ, or a congregation holding a service in a beautiful new facility after the completion of a building program. Imagine them singing “To God be the glory, great things He hath done” (written by Fanny Crosby and published in 1875), or “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father” (written by Thomas Chisholm in 1923). If you were present at that assembly of the saints, you would experience what “new songs” these can be!