Sing to the LORD a New Song

Representation of the Earth Praising ChristOh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.

Psalm 92.1-2



[1] O Lord, we give thanks to You this day for the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Remind us again that, in Jesus, our life is secure despite the many difficulties and frustrations of this life. Teach us to sing the new song of salvation from day to day. Amen.


[2] One of the most rewarding parts of my work as a pastor is to guide people back to Jesus and into fellowship in the Christian church. These are people who have for various reasons left the church. Sometimes they call and ask to meet with me. Sometimes they just show up for worship. Their stories often sound like Erv’s—"Pastor, I need to meet with you. I’ve been away from the church for more than fifteen years. I was raised in the Lutheran church, but I began to drift away. I got busy. The pastor came by to see me several times. The last time he came I was trying to fix a flat tire. He offered to take it to a service station for me. That’s when I got mad. I told him I didn’t need his help or God’s help for that matter." I’ve heard other stories of people who have drifted away from the church because someone said something discourteous to them, or because the voter’s assembly didn’t agree to their proposals.

[3] It doesn’t take much for Satan to drive a wedge between people and Jesus, between people and the body of Christ—the church. He is also capable of driving us away from one another and from the world. We just get disgusted with everything! One of the most effective tools he uses is cynicism. He has a talent to magnify in our eyes all the foibles and weaknesses of the Christian church, and at the same time he can minimize in our eyes the beauty and the blessings that the Christian church has to offer. Is cynicism eating away your hope and joy? Are you concentrating too much on the church’s failures? Is this having an affect on your life? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Listen closely to the word today. It gives us a reason for singing—even in a church and world that is outwardly full of imperfections. The reason for this joy is plain and simple: God is still in control, and there is nothing that we, or others, can do wrong that will destroy His promise of salvation.

I. The Good News of His Salvation

[4] Psalm 96 says "Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day." God’s salvation always prevails. That is the promise that is found throughout the Bible. That salvation always comes despite the most unfavorable odds. In the Old Testament we read about a woman named Hannah. She could not have children and was miserable because of it. Her personal life also reflected the dismal situation for God’s people as a whole. They were being torn apart. They lacked a leader who could guide them properly. They were all going their own way. Hannah, however, did not give up. She didn’t walk away. She realized that the solution to her personal problem or to the problems of her people would be found only in God. She prayed to God for help, and in her case He answered with the gift of a baby. She praised Him saying, "My heart rejoices in the Lord… For by strength no man shall prevail" (1). You see we become cynical when we look only to people to solve problems. Disappointment and frustration are bound to come when we look to people instead of looking to God.

[5] I remember reading about a church committee that was meeting in a Sunday School room to discuss the problems the church was having. One member, a bit frustrated, looked up at one of the walls in the room. There was a sign for a fire extinguisher that had been relocated in the hallway. There was also a poster on the wall that had been next to the fire extinguisher. Now the fire extinguisher sign that remained and the poster combined to make a great statement: "In Case of Emergency"… "We Are the People of God." God’s salvation always prevails, and that is what we need to keep us out of the quicksand of disgust and despair. No matter how bad things might be, we can always "Sing to the Lord a new song!"

II. Don’t Trade God Away

[6] As cynically minded people we are often tempted to trade God and His plan of salvation away for something better. But there is nothing better. In fact anything we substitute for God would be an idol. In Psalm 96 we read, "For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens" (2). Sometimes people get frustrated with the way God does things. So they look for a better way themselves. They create another image of God more to their liking. The image may be physical—like the new age shrines that some people set up for themselves in their homes. Other images may simply be thoughts about God that don’t come from the Bible. In either case the false image of God is a substitute for the real God tells us about Himself and the way He does things in the Bible.

[7] Many centuries ago there was a man from Britain who visited Rome. He noticed that many Christians were not living very holy lives. Pelagius became disgusted and frustrated by it. He began to preach sermons focusing heavily on morality. He also taught that people could learn to be good if they’d just try harder. Have you ever caught yourself doing that? Many people leave Jesus behind because they think they can solve their problems on their own. This kind of false idea of God only reinforces their actual separation from Him. Pelagius was wrong, and his approach to human problems has been proven wrong again and again. The Bible says that, "Without faith it is impossible to please [God]" (3). We must repent of cynical attitudes and their close cousin—self-righteousness.

III. Give God the Glory

[8] The problem with an idolatrous "do it yourself theology" is that we all become gods unto ourselves. We end up criticizing everyone else and singing only our own praises. This is the darkest and deepest aspect of cynicism gone to seed. But Psalm 96 says, "Give to the LORD the glory due His name… Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth" (4). How do we give God glory? Do we give God glory when we acknowledge that we know who He is, that we once read a few parts of the Bible, that we can sing the first stanza of "Amazing Grace"? Martin Luther, in his comments about this psalm, pointed out that we truly show forth the holiness of God and glorify Him when we fully acknowledge our own unholiness and our need for His mercy, His salvation. When we yearn for this salvation, we glorify God.

[9] The Bible tells us about a very frustrated man named Naaman. He had leprosy and was desperately looking for help. Elisha, the prophet of the Lord, told him to wash seven times in the river Jordan. Naaman was furious. He could have done that anywhere. He wanted salvation on his own terms. He did not have an image of God who worked miracles simply through the power of His promises. The Bible says Naaman "turned and went away in a rage" (5). But his servants persuaded him to try it. He did, and he was healed—not only of his leprosy, but also of his proud, cynical attitude. He said, "Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel" (6).

[10] When I was first beginning my work as a pastor, I became discouraged when I watched our congregation struggle through important decisions. It seemed to me there were some people who just wanted to argue. Others had no interest in looking to God’s word for guidance. Sensing that I was a little worried about this, a wise lady reminded me, "Pastor, the amazing thing about the church is that it can even survive voter’s assemblies." We sing to the Lord a new song because our Christian faith, despite our personal missteps and faltering gait, like the church as a whole with all its past and present failures, is founded upon the perfect salvation of God in Jesus Christ. At no time in the history of this world have people had the opportunity to become discouraged and cynical than at the time Jesus of Nazareth was arrested and put on trial. Yet, just hours before this Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him" (7). God showed His glory by offering His only Son as the sacrifice for a world that had turned from Him in a rage. Jesus died on the cross to save us from selfish cynicism. He rose again on the third day to show us the truth and the joy of that salvation.

[11] Remember the story of Erv? The man who came to me after being away from the church for years? He asked me with tears in his eyes if he could come back. He admitted that from the day he turned away in anger from the church, nothing had gone right in his life. He was sick and tired of being sick and tired. He did come back. I had the privilege of telling him, "You might have left God, but God has never left you. He’s been working to bring you back all this time."

IV. God’s Justice

[12] Someone might say, "Pastor, what you say about salvation in Jesus being the real heart and core of everything in the church is fine and good, but there are still a lot of problems in the church that just tick me off!" I agree completely. I get ticked off too! But there is a big difference between being upset about some things that are wrong and being cynical. Cynicism drives us away Christ. Having the joy of salvation in Jesus causes me to work on problems, pray to the Lord about these problems, and otherwise draw even closer to Christ. We need never let problems steal our joy, and we should certainly never allow them to turn us away from the Lord. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (8). Problems, troubles, tribulation—they will never go away. Sometimes it seems that injustice, unfairness, and wrong-doing control everything. But they don’t. The world and the church would have destroyed itself long ago if that were the real case. Instead God guides us toward His ultimate goal. His plans cannot be thwarted.

[13] Psalm 96 ends by looking to the Last Day. "For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth, He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with truth" (9). In fact a few verses before this the psalm says that God will judge the world—to use the literal Hebrew—"with smoothness" (10). Though there certainly are wrinkles in the fabric of life now, there won’t be any wrinkles in the future. Twice in the Book of Revelation John refers to the "new song" that people who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus will sing in heaven (11). Another pastor reminded me once that this life is a lot like the backside of a tapestry. You can make out the picture, but there are a lot of loose ends that clutter up the image. When Judgment Day comes God will show us the other side of the tapestry. Then we will see clearly what we can only see now by faith. We sing the new song now along with the saints in heaven because we know how everything is going to end. God will judge all the sin and corruption of this world. God will justify all those who have now received through faith His gift of righteousness and holiness in Jesus Christ. When we know how the story is going to end, why should we ever think to give up on it now? Instead, we are embolden to live in the grace of God and to take on those troubles that God would permit us to address one by one.


Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.




(1) 1 Samuel 2.1 & 9   (2) Psalm 96.5   (3) Hebrews 11.6   (4) Psalm 96.7, 9   (5) 2 Kings 5.12   (6) 2 Kings 5.15   (7) John 13.31   (8) John 16.33   (9) Psalm 96.13   (10) Psalm 96.10 The Hebrew word meshar means "smoothness, evenness, straightness"   (11) Revelation 5.9 and 14.3

Pastor Michael P. Walther
Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost
August 25, 2002
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1300 Belt Line Road, Collinsville, Illinois, 62234

Michael P. Walther, Copyright, 2002