Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017


I should have tried it earlier!


Kirk Tate


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Thursday, December 24, 2009

A New Song We Sing

"Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had His name and His Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of a harpists playing their harps. And they say a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless."—Revelation 14:1-5

            Perhaps the greatest comfort I have come to now is that there is not a single angel or demon in the unseen world who has any doubt over whether I am a child of the Father. We who are saved bear a seal of our Father. 2 Timothy 2:19, "Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: 'The Lord knows those who are his.'" Hallelujah!

            Scholars are divided as to whether the 144,000 is a literal or representative number and whether the Mount Zion in this vision is on earth or in heaven. Where the latter is concerned, the Bible clearly refers to both. The tragedy for any student of this passage would be arguing over the symbolism and missing the song! What song? Take another look at verse 3. The song no one could learn…except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. Don't miss the fact that John audibly heard the song, but he could not learn the song. It was a "new song."

            Having served the local church, I am often astonished how deep the discussion can be over "new songs." We are a people that revolt change. I chuckle as I think that at some point or another, every song we love was once a new song. I will agree, however, that my favorite songs are those that become mine as I sing them and connect with them on a deeper more personal level. Nothing provokes a new song in my heart like a fresh surge of hope in a wilderness season. There are countless titles I could mention that have resonated in my soul at different times of life. Each time, I first "heard" the song, and then I "learned" it. My motivation to learn the new song came through its voice to my experience.

            John "heard" the new song, but no one could "learn" the new song except the 144,000 that had been redeemed. When Revelation says "new," it doesn't mean "new" in the sense of a new Christian hit. It was new because it had an entirely different quality from anything they had ever sung before. Get this: this "new song" meant something to them that no other song in history had ever meant. Why couldn't anyone else learn it? Because no one else had lived it! Out of their unique experience, God gave them a song that only they could learn.

            The precious truth of this passage is this: that each one of us who is willing can receive a new song from God that arises in our souls out of hardships victories…not necessarily in musical notes but in fresh truths revealed in the heart. These are precious gifts of the Spirit that come to every believer who keeps the faith through difficult times. Call them "life-songs" if you will. And these songs can be "heard" by others, but they cannot be "learned" secondhand.

            To be honest, this makes my heart jump with joy and sink with frustration at the same time. I love the gifts which Christ gives me of new songs that emerge in my soul like frolicking whales from the deep seas of trial and suffering. Yet, at the same time, there is no more frustrating experience in life than when I cannot talk someone into loving and trusting God and finding His Son to be the greatest adventure in life. I sing the song, "If He will do this for me, He will do it for you!" Yet, until individuals let Jesus redeem their own personal lives, hurts, losses, and failures, they can surely hear the song, but they will never learn it. When out of faith experience we learn a new song, we will never have them taken away.