The psalmist calls the Israelites to learn a new song. They are very familiar with the songs of sorrow and suffering. But the psalmist reminds them that as “children of Zion” they have a new song to sing, a song of joy and praise of God who has saved them more than once. God has been faithful despite their unfaithfulness. They can sing this new song because they remember the mighty power of God. They remember that “the Lord takes pleasure in his people.” They remember that God has adorned them with victory over their oppressors. The new song of joy and praise is to be the heart of their worship.
But a new song is difficult to learn. I have never served a congregation that learned new hymns with much grace. It is easier if the tune is familiar and there is strong accompaniment; easier still if the words are simple and speak of familiar ideas. The psalmist is calling us to sing a new song. The words are simple, faithful, and joyful. The tune is familiar. It’s the tune to which our hearts sing of love and peace. The accompaniment is strong. It is those saints who taught us the faith and those who daily support us in our journey. It is also the Holy Spirit gracefully keeping the vision of the Lord of our life ever before us. That vision reminds us of God’s faithfulness that frees us from all that oppresses us. It is that vision that fills us with joy and calls us to sing our new song.
Lord, help me remember the many times you have set me free from evil, fear, pain, sorrow, and indifference. By your Holy Spirit, help me more clearly see the vision of your grace in Christ Jesus and feel anew the joy of my salvation. Lord, I praise you, and I will try to sing my new song and to dance with joy. Amen.
We move forward in the story of Moses to the climax in Egypt, the tenth plague. God tells the Israelites to prepare for the terrible night to come and establishes the feast of Passover. It is to be an eternal reminder of what God has done for the people. The psalmist praises God for faithfulness and victory, including overthrowing those who would oppress them. Egypt is not mentioned specifically, yet the Passover represents just such a situation. Paul echoes Jesus in summarizing much of the Law in one simple commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus provides practical teaching on handling disagreements. Our first responsibility is to go to the other party privately and then include others only as necessary. Gossip and social media are not the ways to handle our disputes.
Read Exodus 12:1-14. How has the story of Passover shaped your faith?
Read Psalm 149. How has God called you to seek freedom from oppression for yourself or others through praise and through action?
Read Romans 13:8-14. What does it mean to consider love a driving force rather than a warm feeling? How does this understanding change the way you act toward yourself and your neighbors?
Read Matthew 18:15-20. When have you participated in or witnessed true reconciliation? How did you see compassion at work?
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