Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Worship Wednesdays - Sing a New Song, Bible-Style - Part 1

As songwriters, we love the words "new song." In our home, we compare new songs to the smell of fresh-baked bread - filling every corner of the house with goodness and warmth. I love waking up in the morning to hear a new guitar riff drifting out from Gerald's writing room. And we love the feeling of singing a brand new song together, discovering the harmonies and the little ways we can shape the melody with our voices.

We consider songwriting to be scriptural. If you search "new song" in the NIV translation, you'll find 9 references to singing a new song unto the Lord. (Some translations give 10.)

I thought it would be fun to look at each of these verses and see what message they might hold for contemporary songwriters. Here we go:

Psalm 33:3
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

As we sing our new song to the Lord, we are also asked to 'play skillfully'. All offerings that come from a worshipful heart will be accepted by God, but why not offer Him our best? Learn your craft. Practice your instrument. Warm up your voice. Manage your tech. Let's raise our talents to their highest level when offering them in worship!

Psalm 40:3
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. 

I love the image of God putting a new song 'in my mouth.' Legendary songwriter, Harlan Howard, used the following as his epitaph, "He wrote the songs; I held the pen." God has melodies and words ready for us to receive. Sometimes our job as writers is simply to listen.

Psalm 96:1
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.

I love the invitation in this verse for 'all the earth' to sing. Are we writing songs that are inclusive and invitational? Are we creating words and melodies that will cross boundaries of age, nationality, gender, and denomination? Are we writing for both the lifelong Christian and those who have never set foot in a church?

Psalm 98:1
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.

He has, hasn't he? Sometimes the best songs to write are simply sharing the wonders of God. We can write a list song of the beauty of creation, or craft a story song sharing our personal testimony of blessings. "How Great Thou Art," "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," "Indescribable,""How Great is Our God," - the list could go on for days, and still there are always new praises to sing!

Psalm 144:9
I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you.

Could this verse be any more perfect for guitarists?? Okay, substitute '6-stringed' for 'ten-stringed', but you get my point. We sometimes only think of 'singing' as 'praise', but for instrumentalists, worship can come through the strings of the guitar, the keys of the piano, the skin of the drum, and the tone of the flute. Let's never forget the prayers and praise that can soar through a pure melody or an instrumental offering.

That covers 5 of our quotes! 
What are your thoughts on these verses?

Tune in next week for Part 2 ...

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page & visit us every Wednesday!


inspiredsongwriting said...

Yes, we need to use our gifts, but we should also take the responsibility to improve the skills needed. We can only do give our best when we look to Him for the inspiration and use the resources available to us to continually improve.

Allison Lynn said...

Hey Judy,

So glad we "met" during the SARK class :) And I'm so glad you're enjoying Worship Wednesdays! I know what you're talking about - I tried to drive my own boat for a while too. God's dreams and plans for us are better than anything we could create or control ourselves!


Allison Lynn said...

Hi Perry,

Agreed!!! God gives us our talents, but I truly believe He wants to us explore and develop them fully, especially when offering them back in worship. As worship leaders, teachers, and mentors, I think we have a responsibility to both share our resources and help others improve as well. I know that's what you're doing through your blog as well.

Thanks for reading & commenting :)