September 1, 2021
Laity, Central UMC, Knoxville
Tennessee Valley District
Singing A New Song
Psalm 144: 9-15 (NIV)
9 I will sing a new song to you, my God;
on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
who delivers his servant David.
From the deadly sword 11 deliver me;
rescue me from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.
12 Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
with every kind of provision.
Our sheep will increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields;
14 our oxen will draw heavy loads.[a]
There will be no breaching of walls,
no going into captivity,
no cry of distress in our streets.
15 Blessed is the people of whom this is true;
blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.
DevotionAfter my mother’s funeral in 1987, I was asked to sing in the choir to introduce the anthem that was bought with memorial money for her. Well, I guess it stuck. Here I am, 34 years later, and lucky enough to be a tenor in that choir. Apologies to you who are disgusted by “girlie” tenors. I love it, and they put up with me.
Painful only begins to describe watching our services online or live in masks without singing. What the choir years have done is to give me a chance to praise God, express joy and thankfulness, and honor the seasons of the church year, in ways that are not possible without music.
David described that feeling in Psalm 144. He promised a new song to recognize God’s gifts, to request deliverance, to expect a victory, and to describe the blessings of the future once that deliverance is made.
After ascribing his kingship to God, David recognized that he continued to need God’s help in leading his people. War and conflict were the way that kingdoms gained place and power, and David desired to defeat his enemies and help his people to prosper. He had just defeated the Philistines, and he knew that God had provided him with righteousness as well as strength and battle skills. This leadership would only continue if he recognized that this was God’s faithfulness and not David’s perfect right.
The declaration of a new song meant speaking to the God who had saved and protected him in ways not seen before – best wording, best musical instruments, and humble, limitless praise of God.
The song progresses to requesting removal of the wicked and forever gracious presence of the Lord. And what a description this is of the presence of the Lord – healthy sons, worthy daughters, limitless food supplies, strong and numerous flocks, and ongoing peace for the people. Some writers (including Psalm Talks at WordPress.com) have called this David’s Battle Hymn for True Believers. For David, that meant strength and victory in battle with physical enemies. For us, as Paul wrote, our battle is against terrible forces of evil, but the message remains.
Our battle is against sometimes-invisible forces that are energized by hate, greed, and desire for power. Fortunately, our strength and expectation of victory come from the God of David. We can also sing of desiring removal of the wicked, future prosperity, and peace, infinite peace.