Sing a new song! The call is sprinkled throughout the psalms to express the joy of new blessings received from God’s hand. Those blessings weren’t limited to the psalmists’ days; they are meant for us as well. That’s one reason Psalms is the most universally loved book of the Bible. It’s appeal is what it conveys about God himself—he welcomes the honest outpouring of his people’s hearts. Joy, sorrow, anger, fear, perplexity, discouragement, and longing—the entire spectrum of human emotions is reflected in the psalms and taken to God in prayerful song. And each psalm reveals a particular facet of God himself.
Sing a New Song is not a devotional. It's a springboard, a launching-off place—for going deeper into the psalms in all kinds of ways. Here are a few suggestions:
Build confidence in prayer. The heartfelt prayers of the psalmists build our confidence to approach God with our personal pleas and pains. They also guide the substance of our prayers. We don’t know God’s will in all its particulars, but we can be sure that the prayer requests of the psalmists are God’s will because they are part of Scripture, and we can adapt them to our own situation. How did the psalmists pray in a crisis, and what does they ask for? How did they approach God after a fall into sin? How did praying give them perspective in difficult relationships? Scan each entry in Sing a New Song for prayer aids.
Prepare a Bible study. Gather a group of women to study the Psalms (see the appendix for group study suggestions), and use Sing a New Song to help you prepare for discussion. In all our Bible study we want to be faithful to the biblical text, which requires examining the original context. We want to know the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the psalmists before we apply what we see there to our own circumstances. Looking at the original context provides us with an accurate view of God, which is necessary for real spiritual growth.
Journal your emotions. Let’s face it—we women are emotional creatures. And we don’t have to apologize for that fact. After all, God designed us that way, and from the psalms we see that God works in and through our emotions to draw us closer to him and to mature us spiritually. As you read each entry, track the dominant emotions in the psalm. Do they fluctuate from beginning to end, and if so, why? Where is God in the midst of depression? How is anger expressed and dealt with? What causes joy and happiness? If you’d like to get a better handle on your own emotions, consider creating an emotions journal. As you read each entry, prayerfully identify how your feelings are reflected in the psalmist’s words and then imitate the response you find in the psalm.
Weave Psalms with hospitality. As you will see, the psalms were sung primarily in gatherings of God’s people. Sing a New Song provides clues about how each psalm was used, and there are many ways you can mirror those worship practices with your own friends and family. During a celebratory season, host a gathering at which each participant reads aloud a portion of a thanksgiving psalm. Or when believers you know suffer rejection or persecution for their faith, gather together to pray one of King David’s laments. There are so many possibilities here.
Those are just a few ideas. However you use Sing a New Song, the primary aim is to deepen your walk with God by glimpsing how the psalms shed light on the multifaceted character of our great God and his overarching purposes for his people.
For each psalm, Sing a New Song offers a one-sentence overview of the psalm; something about the nature of the psalm and how it fits into the big picture of the Psalter; a verse-by-verse breakdown of the psalm; how the psalm reveals God's grace; and a suggestion for related Scripture reading and personal application.