O sing to the LORD a new song: sing to the LORD, all the earth.…
The series of psalms to which this belongs is by nearly all commentators assigned to the period immediately succeeding the seventy years' captivity. The joyous feelings, the glorious expectations, the marked repetition (both in matter and style) of the later prophecies of Isaiah, their rhythmical character suggesting that they were intended for liturgical purposes, combine to identify them with this period. Take this idea of historical connection, and the newness of the song called for is at once explained. God is spoken of as beginning to reign, and as coming to judge, or rule; and this precisely represents the feeling of the returned exiles, who were setting up a new theocracy. They were restoring, beginning again, their theocratic, social, and religious system. The altar of burnt offering was new. The temple was new. The order of worship was new. And if the Divine relations were not new, they were at least freshly realized. On the call to song, H.W. Beecher suggestively says, "The wings God has given us to fly up to him are the wings of song. The lyrical element is the best expression of feeling. All forms of experience have been touched in the poetry of chant and song. Singing is the process by which intellectual propositions can be converted into emotion and heart expression." The point for us is this - a new age finds a new song to God. Illustrate from the Book of Revelation, which presents the white-robed host singing a new song, because no song can ever have risen before for a completed redemption. The Christian's is a new song, because it is that fresh thing, a soul's joy in God revealed and apprehended in Christ Jesus. Illustrate the following topics from the circumstances of the returned exiles.
I. NEW SUBJECTS FOR SONG. Divine faithfulness. Divine mercy. Renewed national life. Freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. Signs of Divine favour. Realization of the Divine presence. We can always find subjects for new songs in our new and ever-varying circumstances.
II. NEW FORMS OF SONG. Every generation makes its own hymns. Davidic psalms may be partly used by the exiles; but the thoughts and emotions of the hour called for an immediate and natural expression. The thoughts of God in these psalms are new. Note especially the idea of God as "coming to reign."
III. NEW FEELINGS TO EXPRESS IS SONG. Contrast the depressed moods of the time of captivity, and the joyous moods of the time of restoration. In Babylon they hung their harps on the willows, and could not sing. When back at Jerusalem they called for harp and song with which to praise the Lord. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.