Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skilfully, and shout for joy.
For the word of the Lord is right and true;(Ps. 33:1-5 NIV)
he is faithful in all he does.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
This Psalm is a hymn of praise to the Lord because of His creative acts in nature and in human history. V1-3 is the call to worship and is a description of a joyful occasion. The worshipping congregation are described as the righteous and the upright. Musical instruments had a place in the worship and here the Psalmist mentions two: the ten stringed lyre and the harp. The instruments were to aid the singing. The Psalmist says that they were to play the instruments with skill. Where possible the talents of musicians should be used to assist the singing and the praise. It is a fitting thing to praise the Lord because He is the covenant LORD. Each new act of God in the history of redemption is a new occasion for praise. In Ephesians and Colossians we are encouraged to sing using Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.(Eph. 5:19-20 NIV)
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.(Col. 3:16 NIV)
This is a balance we should attempt to maintain in our services. We sing the Psalms as they were given as a songbook to the church. We should sing hymns from previous generations so that we are confessing the same truth that our fathers before us confessed, but we should also recognise that we need not always sing from the past but we should sing new spiritual songs that are composed for our generation. The LORD of course has given us a new covenant song to sing and as we sing we name the name of Jesus in our songs.
The nature of God is the opening theme of the praise. The word of the Lord is right and true, and the Lord is faithful to His word in all He does. If we want to know the way of the Lord’s working, we enquire within His word. The Lord not only works righteously, He loves righteousness. There is a beauty, purity and cleanliness in righteousness. We need not be disappointed because of injustice done against us, because the Lord loves justice. The judge of all the earth and the judge of all generations. The LORD’s covenant love (hesed) is evident in all the works of His hand upon the earth. One spring, we took our book of wild flowers out with us in our walk in the woods and took photographs of all the wild flowers we could find. We identified the names of the wild flowers. The bluebells formed a carpet across the woods and the scent filled the air. No one plants these wild flowers in the ancient woodlands, but everywhere you look you find evidence of the Lord’s love. Even in a fallen world we can see that the Lord has decorated the earth with love that we might find it a pleasant place to live.
Lord we praise Your great and glorious name, because You are righteous and just. Just as You displayed Your love in the creation of this world, we thank You that You have displayed Your covenant love in the new creation. You have created a people who will inhabit Your praise. You will present us in righteousness and justice so that we will in beauty adorn the new heavens and the new earth. Everything in us that would spoil the new heavens and the new earth will have been removed from us, and then the Psalm that calls upon us to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness will be fulfilled. Lord help us to enjoy singing the new song that you have placed on our lips, for Christ the Saviour’s sake, in whose name we pray. Amen.