…and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth”.
When mentioned in the bible, a ‘new song’ most commonly is a song of rejoicing and happiness, victorious after battle or trouble and looking forward to a new era. Here in Revelation 14, the 144,000 could sing this song, because they endured extreme tribulation maintaining their integrity and able to testify of God’s faithfulness.
A new song is also mentioned in Revelation 5 where a new song is sung by the elders as Jesus is found worthy to open the Scroll.
David also writes a new song of thanksgiving in Psalm 40. This song is given to him by God- “he put a new song in my mouth”
Psalm 96 encourages us to “sing to the Lord, a new song, sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name.”
Psalm 33 also tells us to sing a new song, by loud shouts and by playing skilfully.
When we are down, as David sometimes experienced, he did express himself in the Psalms and he talked to God about it in prayer. But the Psalms record the specific habit of David of writing new songs, intentionally putting words and music together to proclaim truth about God and what the Lord had and was doing done. This use of music- songs and instruments- to sing a new song seems integral to our normal “spiritual language” and very definitely the language in heaven. Depression and anxiety seem epidemic today, with suicide being the leading cause of death for 15 – 44 year olds in Australia. To help us, the Bible says we ought to fill our surroundings with songs of rejoicing.
These days, we can access some amazing Christian music, that in my experience can soothe and minister to our souls, proclaim the truth of God’s goodness and lift up his name. By contrast there is a scourge of secular music, whose lyrics declare evil. Even great melodies can smuggle in antichristian ideas eg Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way”. My own approach is to avoid secular music, because there is a spiritual language here that seems very important to both the light and the dark. And so through “new songs”, we can reorientate, get perspective, renew our hope and lift our eyes, hearts minds and souls to Him.
Lord, you are a faithful, loving and generous God. May the songs of our lives, the words of our lips sing your praise! Hallelujah!!