“And they sang a new song with these words: “You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For You were slaughtered, and Your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And You have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.””
Revelation 5:9-10 NLT
John’ vision in Revelation continued, now with a multimedia theme. He heard a new song being sung by the four living creatures and the twenty four elders. And what a song it was! In just a few words it summed up the sacrifice Jesus made, His worth and authority, His saving act of redemption, the all-encompassing nature of the Gospel, and the establishment of a new order of priests who will reign with Him on earth. This was a song of triumph. A song that the devil would have cringed away from when he heard it ringing forth that day in Heaven. A song that established the relationship with God and His people forever.
It was a new song that John heard. He had not heard anything like it before. This was not a backward-looking song, such as would have graced the synagogues and Jewish worship, with words referring to God’s exploits in the past, good and significant though they were. This was a “now” song, bang up to date. A song encapsulating the New Covenant, sealed with the blood of Jesus not the blood of animals. This was a song containing lyrics that cemented God’s message of hope firmly in Heaven for ever.
What do we pilgrims think of new songs? So much of our church liturgies contain old songs and hymns. We retain them because of our traditions, not wanting to let them go, the familiarity somehow making us feel comfortable and secure. So many of our old hymns are riddled with archaic language that was great at the time they were written but the words have largely lost their meaning today. They celebrated a previous move of God. Even in modern fellowships, singing songs, penned in the last two or three decades, can become a celebration of our heritage rather than an expression of praise and worship to our wonderful God. But having said all that, it’s not the song or hymn and their lyrics that can be a problem. It’s that somehow in their repetition, something spiritually can be missing when we sing them. In the familiarity our minds can switch off or our thoughts move into a different groove instead of the praise and worship God deserves.
In his vision, John saw Heavenly beings singing a declaration of praise to our wonderful Saviour. He had never heard anything like it before. If he had it wouldn’t have been new to him. The lyrics and the melody introduced a tremendous outpouring of praise in Heaven – but more of that later. Suffice to say today that whatever and whenever we sing, songs new or old, we must somehow always remember who we are worshipping. Remembering all that He has done for us. And in return giving Him all the glory, all the praise, all the worship. With every part of our beings.
Do we ever write new songs ourselves? Poetic lyrics expressing our love for God don’t initially need a melody. On my office wall, I have a poem penned by my wife in 1987. It was a wonderful outpouring of her love for God just a short while before her faith in God was severely tested by my daughter’s potentially life-threatening illness. But her “new song” stayed with her, and is still bubbling from her soul even today. When we write down our God-thoughts we capture something significant in our lives that can stay with us for the rest of our lives. So can I encourage us all to write a “new song”? Let’s put a smile on God’s face today.
Dear Lord God. How can we not praise and worship You? Our amazing and wonderful Father. You who have done so much for us. We praise and worship You today. Amen.