“Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!” Psalm 96:1
We are often called upon in Scripture to sing a new song to the LORD! Does God prefer new songs over old songs? Are the hymns of yesteryear obsolete? Not at all! But the Lord’s mercies are new every morning, and they call for a new song to extol the new mercies of the day! It was good and fitting that the Israelites sing a song of praise to God on the banks of the Red Sea for his mighty deliverance, and for His destruction of the Egyptian army (Exodus 15). But it would be concerning, if fifty years later, that was still their only song of praise to God. By now they had received manna from heaven, water from a rock, and the law through Moses. They had many reasons to sing new songs of praise!
All of Old Testament Scripture is pointing forward to the greatest salvation this world has ever seen – the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. And so, we may well understand the command to sing a new song as a call to God’s people to sing a New Covenant song – a song of New Hope and New Life in Jesus Christ! Now that Jesus has come, and has won the victory over sin and death and hell, all our songs find their culmination in the praise of this glorious Christ! Although we continue to receive daily mercies, nothing can top the ultimate mercy and grace extended to us at the Cross of Calvary!
We need not ask if our song is an old hymn, or a new worship song. The age matters not! The subject of the song matters! Our worship leaders continually find new songs that describe the glory of our Saviour, and of His salvation in profound, new ways! And we praise God for both the old hymns and the rich, new worship songs! But just as we need to be on guard against false prophets, we also need to be on guard against false teaching in the songs we sing! Bethel Music, Hillsong and other “ministries” have written songs that are in line with the false gospel they proclaim. We need to test every song against God’s Word. (We do not, however, reject songs based on their author, but on their content.) May all of our lives be as a new song, a gospel song, resounding to His eternal glory!