Psalm 33 is amazing, and there’s much to look at, but let’s just consider for a moment the most famous vs. 2-3 in light of the whole text:
Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
These verses implore Christians to wildly praise the Lord on instruments. But we must ask ourselves, “why does the Psalmist mention our skill as musicians in doing so?” Notice what’s at stake in us bringing our growing skill to the table.
First, it says to play skillfully as we sing him a new song. New songs are fresh. They burst forth from hearts newly inspired. This is why Colossians seems to imply that a taught, fed, and growing Christian naturally sings. As the heart is newly inspired by the Lord, the heart erupts in an effort to explore that new-truth-learned, creatively. Without our increasing in our ever-growing skill level, we lose the ability as believers to creatively erupt in new responses before the Lord. We may feel something new, learn something new, or even be inspired afresh, but if the hands, feet, lips, and tongue, lack the skill to execute new things to keep up with our new learning in Christ, we are at a loss.
Secondly, the text goes on to speak of the uprightness of God’s word, and all the faithfulness in His work. It speaks of how the heavens were made, and how the Lord faints at the Lord’s awesome counsel. How is our skill supposed to tell of our appreciation of our King? As He breathes into us gifts, we need to live out life through our creativity in a manner fitting the beauty of our Creator. Sure, we will never be as beautiful as he, and that’s why our works are forever covered by the blood of Jesus; yet still the Psalmist requests our every effort to try and attempt greater work for the good of God’s people and for the glory of God.
Lastly, this Psalm talks about the eye of the Lord being on those who fear him. I believe the one who plays and lives skillfully, in turn, is one who is keeping their eyes on the Lord and fearing him continuously. When we have the right perspective in our skill and craft, and we know that all that we do is paying homage to our King, our skill will undoubtedly become a priority for our efforts.