Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of the salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! – Psalm 96:1-3
Taking a break from normal responsibilities is a quite literally, a god-send for us. The break allows us to completely relax and not worry about the day to day pressures of life. Obviously it is temporary and we always know we need to drop back into them at some point, but the break is so refreshing.
Barb and I are not like some people who see how much they can cram into a vacation. We certainly do take advantage of opportunities to do new things and experience the culture of places that are not normal for us. But this time it was all about swimming, walking along the beach, playing golf, working out in the gym, and going out for dinner more than we normally would. It was simply about enjoying each other in a context where we had few pressures and not many distractions. We obviously are independent and did some things separately but it is really important that we enjoy each other and have some fun together.
One of the reminders I have had doing Blackaby’s study on Experiencing God, is that knowing and doing God’s will is not a formula or a methodology. It is all about having a love relationship with Him that is real and personal. It is not about how much we do for one another, nor is it about checking off responsibilities that we promised to do and making sure the other person does what they promised. It also is not about making lots of demands and having high expectations about what the other will do for me. It is about growing personally in our relationship and having experiences where we get to see and experience each other in a context that may not be new but certainly different.
I think the Psalmist understood that God was to be enjoyed, celebrated and that his relationship with God was a deeply personal one. The idea of singing a new song is about celebrating the presence of God in real life and getting to know Him by experiencing Him in life circumstances. You know when someone really enjoys someone else because, like the Psalmist, does not have any problems boasting about his experiences with that person. The Psalmist sings about his relationship with God, how he has experienced Him and declares the joy of being in that relationship to others. He learns to value God in life experiences not blame God when life circumstances do not match our demands and expectations. I am always stunned when people who care little for God (whether they claim to be a believer or not) suddenly wants to be blaming God for their bad choices or for their difficult circumstances. They want nothing to do with Him for most of their life but eagerly use God as a scape-goat when life does not turn out the way they want.
It is interesting to get out of your normal context and see what happens. For most of us our relationship can start drifting because we our out of our normal disciplines and routines so when we are outside of that regiment, we do not know how to “fit God into my daily life” and so we end up ignoring Him. For others it is a way to find refreshment and encouragement simply by enjoying new experiences with God and learning to adjust our perspective from demands we have on God to enjoying the God who has helped deliver us from all the demands of life.
Are you really enjoying God? The summer time is often a time frame where our relationship with God either starts to slide as we drift away from Him, our routines and schedule. But hopefully for most of us, the summer is a great test to see if we really have a genuine love relationship with Him and learn to celebrate His presence in our life experiences. For some the summer can be an eye-opening revelation as to how I really treat God and demonstrates the need for us to use the summer to sing a new song, celebrate His greatness and glory. I hope you are declaring His glory, singing a new song, enjoying the opportunity to experience Him in fresh ways.
Pastor Brad Little