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A Building on Christ’s Foundation

February 6, 2023 | Dr. Joshua Schendel

Sing to the LORD a new song;
    Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation
    from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds 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 idols,
    But the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
    Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

— PSALM 96:1-6 (NASB)

For this issue of Inscribed, we asked our faculty to reflect on these opening words from Psalm 96. We are eager to see how the Lord will use YTI and our new property to sing God’s “new song” in our community and around the world. As we look ahead, we remember the ways God’s “new song” has been sung through the history of the church—including in our own lives—as the Lord builds us together on the foundation of Christ Himself.

Psalm 96 is an appropriate psalm to reflect upon while considering this great blessing of the Lord for YTI—our new building. This is not only because of the content of its opening verses, singing a “fresh” song to the Lord for his recent mercies. It is also because of the context of Psalm 96, which connects the psalm to a building and to the building of a building in the Old Testament. A portion of Psalm 96 was sung as a song of thanksgiving for the return of the ark of the covenant to the tabernacle (1 Chron. 16:23-33). Psalm 96 is also connected to the building of the building. The Greek translation of the OT adds an inscription to the beginning of Psalm 96, which reads: “When the house was being built after captivity. A psalm for David.” It appears, then, that this psalm was also sung during the time of the building of the second temple. Sing to the Lord a new song, for he is doing a new work, building a new building. And so it seems very appropriate for the YTI community to sing to the Lord a new song, for he is in our time and place doing a new work for YTI.

But this psalm is appropriate at a deeper level as well. In his sermons on psalm 96, St. Augustine reminded his hearers that though this psalm’s context was the physical building of the OT temple, it also teaches us of a different kind of building. “If all the earth is singing a new song [v. 2], it is being built up even as it sings, for to sing is to build…” God is not simply building stone upon stone in one place, he is building up persons the whole worldwide. “The house of the Lord our God is being built; it is happening all the time; the work is going forward,” Augustine says. And the labor of this building project is the praise of the saints: “This is the work our voices are doing, and the readings, and the preaching of the gospel throughout the world: all of them are engaged continuously on the building of the house… See in the psalm the builders at work, framing the house: Sing a new song to the Lord, Sing to the Lord all the earth.”

We at YTI are singing to the Lord a new song as we excitedly and expectantly begin to transition to our new building. And we are reminded by our very singing of another building, a building set on the foundation of Christ and the apostles, firmly founded so that it cannot be shaken; a building the world over, made of living stones built into a spiritual house, each joined and knitted together in love; a building for which God is its light, Christ its healing, and the Spirit its bond of peace.

Dr. Joshua Schendel

Professor of Theology

Joshua D. Schendel grew up in Montana. After completing degrees in classics, philosophy, and theology, he took a position as executive editor of […]

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