sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
(Psalm 96 ESV)
How is “Christian Music” defined—music that is intended for worship, praise and instruction? We hear a lot of music today that is called “Christian,” but it falls way short of the label. It seems that as long as you mention certain key themes like love, kindness to fellow men and living for something more than instant gratification in your song it is then “Christian.” Honestly though, couldn’t a Buddhist or Mormon agree with a song like this?
Psalm 96 provides the Church with standards by which we define our “new song.” The music of the Church should be to the Lord and about the Lord to bless His name. We are to sing of His salvation, glory, and marvelous works. Our songs are to be sung in humility crediting God with splendor, majesty, glory and strength highlighting His sovereignty and coming day of just reckoning. This is the sort of music that all of creation echoes ("...all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD...").
There is currently a resurgence of Psalm 96 thinking within the Church today. Song writers and musicians are again concerned with exalting Christ rather than man. And at the risk of being picked apart and labeled as a heretic, I would like to suggest a few sources for you to plug into if you are having a hard time finding music that resonates with Psalm 96. And as you sing this "new song" in the pew, car and shower, bless the Lord, for great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised!