Verse 3 encourages us to sing a “new song" to God. That is an unusual thing to say, and there have been various explanations of what the author meant by "new." At one point Alexander Maclaren suggested that it might be that this is the first psalm like this in the Psalter.1 Others suggest that the psalm is a new telling of Genesis 1 and Exodus 15, which are echoed in the psalm's main section. It is more likely, however, that "new song" simply means that every praise song should emerge from a fresh awareness of God's grace.

The psalter has been called "Israel's Hymnbook," because so many of its psalms are nationalistic or individualistic. That is, they are written from the perspective of Israel's experience as a nation, or they express the personal defeats, victories or longings of some individual Jewish writer such as David. Psalm 33 follows a somewhat different pattern. It looks to all the nations and to all generations and calls on all people everywhere to praise God and thank him for his universal blessings. It is a praise psalm for everyone.

In Psalm 51, after David has confessed his sin and asked God to forgive him, he says "Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you" (v. 13). We find the same thing in the third stanza of Psalm 33 (vv. 6, 7), because, having experienced the forgiveness of God, David next and naturally turns to others, exclaiming, "Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found" (v. 6). He wants everyone to experience the joy he has found as the result of his confession.

What is really striking about this second stanza is verse 5, in which David explains how God forgave his sin once he had confessed it. God forgave it completely and immediately. It is not brought up again.

Yesterday we concluded by looking at the first word that describes God’s action toward our sin when we confess it, which is that he forgives it.

The second word that describes what God does with our sin is "covers." It is a strong religious term taken from the imagery of the Day of Atonement. On the Day of Atonement the high priest of Israel took blood from an animal that had been sacrificed in the courtyard of the temple and carried it into the Most Holy Place where it was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant.