Tag Archives: Psalm 96


New (CaD Ps 96) Wayfarer

Sing to the Lord a new song…
Psalm 96:1 (NIV)

It’s a new year, and it is very common for individuals to use the transition from one year to the next to hit the “reset” button on life in different ways. So, it’s a bit of synchronicity to have today’s chapter, Psalm 96, start out with a call to “Sing a new song.”

In ancient Hebrew society, it was common to call on “new songs” to commemorate or celebrate certain events including military triumphs, new monarchs being coronated, or a significant national or community event.

Throughout the Great Story, “new” is a repetitive theme. In fact, if you step back and look at the Great Story from a macro level, doing something “new” is a part of who God is. God is always acting, always creating, always moving, always transforming things. When God created everything at the beginning of the Great Story, it was something new. When God called Abram He was doing something new. When Abram became Abraham it was something new. When Simon became Peter it was something new. When Jesus turned fishermen into “fishers of men” it was something new.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:19

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36:26

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills…”
Amos 9:13

“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.”
Luke 5:37

“A new command I give you: Love one another.”
John 13:34

..after the supper [Jesus] took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Luke 22:20

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
Revelation 21:1

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
Revelation 21:5

Along my life journey, I’ve observed that most human beings struggle with real change. A new gadget? Cool! A new release from my favorite author? Awesome. A new restaurant in town I can try? I’m there! But if it comes to a change that messes with my routine, a change that requires something from me, or a change that brings discomfort, then I will avoid it like the plague. Why? I like things that are comfortable, routine, and easy.

What I’ve observed is that “new” is always considered better as long as I think it will makes things easier or better for me. If it will rock my world, create discomfort, or expect something of me outside of my comfort zone, then I think I’ll cling to the “old” thing that I know and love, thank you very much.

And thus, most New Year’s resolutions sink down the drain of good intentions.

In the quiet today, I’m reminded of C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Great Divorce, in which a bus full of people in purgatory visit the gates of heaven. There they are given every opportunity to accept the invitation to enter into the new thing God has for them on the other side. One individual after another finds a reason to stick with the drab, gray, lifeless existence they know and with which they are comfortable.

As a follower of Jesus, I embraced the reality that I follow and serve a Creator who is never finished creating. “New” is an always part of the program. It may not always be comfortable, but it’s always good.

As long as I am on this earthly journey, I pray that I will choose into and embrace the new things into which God is always leading me.

My Zombie Garden

zombie gardenLet the fields and their crops burst out with joy!
    Let the trees of the forest rustle with praise
Psalm 96:12 (NLT)

I’m terrible with growing things. I got two mini-rose bushes this spring. I repotted them, fed them, watered them, and they both died. Over the past two years I’ve added three rose bushes to our poor excuse of a flower garden. Only the rose bush that survived was here before we moved in is still alive. The only thing growing in our flower garden is Hostas (seriously, they are zombies of the plant world – you can’t kill them and they keep multiplying). Despite my faithful weeding and feeding, my yard looks like the aftermath of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The bed of the undead. Only weeds and zombie Hostas survive. What can I say. I have a brown thumb.

I do, however, live in Iowa. It is among the most fertile soil in the world (which just makes me feel even worse). Each year I watch the crops spring up, grow, produce  good fruit, and be harvested in the fall. It’s a subtle and beautiful thing to watch the gray and brown fields transform into a sea of lush, living green each spring.

Psalm 96 is an “eschatological” song which means the lyrics muse on the end of time: God is on the throne. Nature takes on anthropomorphic (human-like) properties in praising God. The nations gather to pay God tribute. God judges the earth and the nations.

I love the idea of nature praising the Creator. The trees rustle their praise. The seas roar and pound the shore in praise. The fields of Iowa burst forth (along with the weeds and zombie Hostas of Tom’s garden) with joy.

I have to drive to Des Moines today. The fields of corn are bursting forth with their golden tassels which add this amazing transparent layer of gold across the deep green of the fields. I think I’ll take it all in, and add a my own offering of praise to the Creator (along with an apology for my zombie garden).