By Pastor Glenn Pease
Sometimes we take the wisest man in history too seriously.
Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun, and those who take this as the last word can become pessimistic.
What is the point of being an explorer if there are no new continents to be discovered.
The poles have both been reached, and all the highest mountains have been climbed.
There is nothing new to do, and so we are born to late.
Such is the thinking of one who takes Solomon too seriously.
The fact is, the Bible is filled with new things, and one of the most common references is to the new songs we can sing to praise God.
Not only does our text say, "Sing unto the Lord a new song," but this theme is repeated over and over so that it becomes a major duty of believers to be ever involved with the new.
33:3-Sing unto Him a new song.
40:3-He hath put a new song in my mouth.
96:1-O sing unto the Lord a new song.
98:1-O sing unto the Lord a new song.
144:9-I will sing a new song unto Thee O God.
42:10- Sing unto the Lord a new song.
Solomon did not realize that the best was yet to be under the new covenant where we would praise our Redeemer forever with new songs.
In Rev. 5:9 and 14:3, we hear new songs being sung in heaven in praise of Jesus.
The fact is, there have been more songs sung in praise of Jesus than any other person in history, and for all eternity song writers will be busy coming up with new ones, for our praise of Him will never cease.
The message of the Bible is clear: Do not let your praise grow stale by singing the same songs over and over until they lose their freshness, and no longer move you to true adoration.
I have sung hymns with my mind elsewhere because they were so familiar that I did not have to think.
They were mere memorized rituals that I could go through with no real praise to God because my mind was not on God.
A new song forces you to pay attention to what you are singing, and this engages your mind.
You can't be day dreaming when singing a new song, and, therefore, you are more likely to truly praise.
The implication of the persistent call to sing new songs is that by nature we get into ruts, and even as God's people we grow stale in our worship.
We need constant renewal, or we sink into dead orthodoxy where we have all the truth, but it makes no difference in our lives because it has lost its power to motivate us.
If we let this happen, it is our own fault, because we are urged to never cease singing new songs to the Lord, and thus, keeping our love for Him fresh and alive.
What we do not realize is that praise is one of the key weapons for spiritual warfare.
You will notice that this Psalm links praise and the sword.
This sounds strange and shocking to us.
Worship and warfare seem worlds apart in our minds, and it makes a discord in our minds to put them together as does verse 6: "May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands."
The reason it does not fit our sense of harmony is because the subject has been neglected.
Warren Wiersbe, one of the contemporary leaders in the study of worship, wrote in Moody Monthly, "I have read books and sermons on the subject of worship, and I have yet to find a major work that says anything about worship as spiritual warfare."
We sing Onward Christian Soldiers, and Fight The Good Fight, but we do not take the issue of spiritual warfare very seriously.
The result is we let our weapons be neglected, and they get rusty and ineffective for the battle.
Israel did the same thing on the physical level.
When she ceased to praise God she fell before the armies of her enemies.
When she praised God she was victorious.
One of the great examples is in II Chron.
A vast army of Moabites and Ammonites came against Israel.
When king Jehoshaphat was told of it he went to prayer, and in verse 12 we read, "O our God, will you not judge them?
For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."
God promised to be with them and so in verse 19 we read that the Levites, "Stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice."
As they marched to war, verse 21 says that Jehoshaphat, "Appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever."
As they marched into battle singing, the Lord gave them the victory over this far superior enemy.
It was such a total victory they called the place the Valley Of Beracah, which means the valley of praise.
They went there to praise God, then went back to the temple in Jerusalem to praise Him more with harp and lutes and trumpets.
From then on Jehoshaphat had peace on all sides.
What was the secret weapon that gave them victory over a superior foe?
It was praise.
This made them superior, for praise is a weapon far more powerful than the weapons of warfare made by men.
Praise puts God on your side, because you are on God's side.
I suspect that you could study the wars of history and discover that the side which most often won was the side with the greater number of praisers of God.
When Israel lost a battle it was because they had ceased to praise God.
Since physical warfare is not a regular part of our lives as it was with God's Old Testament people, we need to apply this to the warfare of the spirit.
We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers and forces of darkness.
In the whole armor of God, that Paul urges us to put on, only one is for an aggressive attack on evil, and that is the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.
It is by the Word that we take the offensive, and a large part of that sword is praise.
By praise we can fight our way out of battles with evil, and by praise we can push back the forces of evil, and overcome the territory they hold.
Why should we bother to teach children Christian songs at a early age?
It is because the Bible tells us it is a child's first weapon against evil.
8:2 says, "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger."
A little child singing puts a muzzle on the skeptic and the critic, and forces them into silence.
Satan trembles when he hears
The songs of children strike his ears.
The power of music kept the demons out of king Saul, who was otherwise under their control.
52 is all about the two kinds of praises: Those who praise themselves and boast of their evil.
They end in everlasting ruin.
The others are the praises of God.
They will go on flourishing in the house of God praising Him forever.
Praise is the weapon that overcomes all the forces that pull us away from God; especially pride.
The praises of God conquer pride and avoid the fall it leads too.
Praise is our weapon of victory.
Let it get rusty and you are bound to be wounded by one of the many foes of the Christian life.
By praise we bind the enemy.
In verse 8 of our text it speaks of binding their kings and nobles.
By our praise we bind the powers of Satan.
We are no match for the unseen forces of Satan.
He has so many advantages over us, but we have a weapon that negates all his advantages, and that is the weapon of praise.
Wiersbe says we have neglected our greatest weapon for overthrowing empires and changing the world, and the sad part is, we are content to do so.
Praise is like any other weapon.
You have got to train, practice, and learn how to use it.
But since we have not been trained, we don't want to bother.
If someone came around offering to teach anyone how to use a bazooka, most of us would past, for we don't see any relevance to knowing how to shoot it.
So it is with praise.
It is a powerful weapon of spiritual warfare, but we do not see its relevance, and so we don't bother with the discipline of training.
The result is we go marching into life's battle without our sword, and it is no wonder that we seldom take over territory under the control of evil forces.
8:10 says, "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
This means the lack of joy is your weakness.
When you are not in a spirit of joyful praise, you are vulnerable to enemy attack.
Why do Christians get down and depressed, and even have total breakdowns?
I do not want to be simplistic as if there are not dozens of different factors, but the bottom line is, they are unarmed.
They are fighting enemy forces without the weapon of worshipful praise.
Study any period of great revival in the history of the church and you will find a revival of praise, and an outburst of new songs.
William Taylor wrote, "He who has a new song in his mouth is ever stronger, both to suffer and to labor, than the man who has a dumb spirit and a hymnless heart."