Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.
Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
What an incredible Psalm right? If I may, I would love to break this down a little…not necessarily for you, but more for me. It is easy to forget among all the noise of the world around us to how important worship is!
“Sing a new song…” new or old, I truly think God loves our worship! It’s not a style issue; it’s a worship issue. It’s really not about music; it’s about our life! Does our life reflect a new song? Right now, does my life reflect a new song that proclaims for the entire world to see that He, my Savior Jesus, redeems me? You see it’s not about music; it’s about my heart. Is my heart right when I speak, in my thoughts, my actions, my attitude? Do I pretend to be something I truly am not, do I go through the motions of “faith in Jesus?” or am I truly living it out for others to see?
“The Lord has made salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.” I was challenged at Moody Bible Institute by one of my professors to write out my testimony so that a person who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus could understand it. That was a powerful exercise for me, one that if we are not careful can be lost. It is easy to get caught up in the routine “Christian-ease” language and avenues of sharing about my righteous Jesus! I have found at First Baptist Church that one way to help those who come through our doors that have either not been in church for a long time or never have been there is to use mainstream music to become a part of our pre-service time. It’s intentional…it has a purpose and that is to make those who may already be unsure about what is going to happen in the service a little more comfortable, more at ease…”hey, I know that song!” I have had many people share with me how this has helped those they have invited and or themselves that FBC is different. They were engaged before the service even started! A familiar song that opened them up to hear more about the righteous Jesus engaged them!
The process by which songs like this are selected is with care, research and help from my incredible worship team! Not only do they take part in this process they humbly take on the challenge and present these songs with their own style; most time rivaling that of the original artist. But that is not our goal as a team; our goal is to honor God, to do our best to “Connect People to Jesus”!
Verse 3 is the Old Testament equivalent of the “Great Commission” found in Matthew chapter 18. God’s heart is that the whole world see His love…not only see it, but receive it! We are the conduits on earth to be used by Him for this to happen. If we loose sight of that…well it goes back to the heart; what is the condition or our heart? What is the condition of my heart?
“Shout for joy…burst into jubilant song with music. Isn’t it interesting…you’ve heard this before that we cheer louder in a stadium for the Cleveland Browns than we do in the church for Jesus! A very wise former staff member of mine spoke great words of truth to me one day when she said that heaven will be loud…it will be every tribe, tongue and nation all worshipping God! Please, do not think that I am saying worship should be loud all the time. What I am saying again goes back to the heart…does your heart leap for joy, does it shout, does it burst into jubilant song for the Lord?
“Make music for the Lord.” Nothing specified there. “Make music for the Lord.” If we don’t “make music for the Lord” the Bible says that the rocks will. This Psalm goes on to basically say that nature does just that. Just go outside and listen. Nature’s sound doesn’t fit under a certain style, sometimes it’s loud, and sometimes it’s soft. God’s creation sings His praises.
This Psalm ends with God pronouncing judgment in righteousness. You know again, it boils down to the heart…that is where worship begins. So as I write this, I ask myself…where does my heart stand with God? There are only two that know that…God and myself. I do know this, unapologetic, I strive to worship God with my whole being…it’s not my place to try to determine someone else’s heart when it comes to worship…just my own.
Tonight, I end with this. While at Moody Bible Institute I was part of a group that brought Christian recording artist Margaret Becker in for a concert. I was blessed to have time to talk with her…truly a genuine worshipper. She shared something that really changed the way I view worship. She shared that her favorite place to tour was over seas…why, because her venues were all bars and pubs. Yes, that is right bars and pubs. Why did she like it…because she was actually fulfilling the great commission! She had the opportunity to make a joyful noise, to proclaim God’s righteousness to real people who were searching for something more than what they had. Margret told us she would never be able to do that in the states because of the criticism that she would receive. I walked away from that conversation very sad, because in America, followers of Christ, myself included always make it about us!
It goes back to the heart…where is my heart when it comes to worshipping my righteous Lord?