7/3/2016 4:27:59 PM
A reflection on Psalm 98
What's your favorite new song? One of my personal joys is going to library book sales and digging through their old cd collections. I try to find songs and albums filled with the music I heard on the radio while I was growing up. In the process, I discover songs I never heard before by bands that fill the soundtrack of my youth. These songs are old but they are new to me.
Psalm 98 is a hymn of praise separated into 3 stanzas. It begins with the command that all of us should sing a new song to God. But what would be a new song to God? For the author of this psalm, something amazing has happened. God delivered the people of Israel from some kind of national crisis. We don't know what happened (an enemy army could have invaded) but the people survived. The people are called to sing a song of thankfulness and praise. God saved the people and, sometimes, the most proper response is to sing.
But the psalm isn't saying that only the people of Israel are called to sing. Everyone, everywhere, is invited to tell what God has done. This isn't a song for only one kind of people in one kind of place. God's deliverance of Israel is a sign to everyone that God is present and active in the world. Saving Israel from a national calamity isn't only good news for Israel; it's good news for the world. God is a God who cares for God's people and God's world. And a world that's commanded to sing a new song is a world called to sing God's love song to the ends of the earth.