The song of Moses (Exodus 15:1–19) was both declaration and anticipation: it looked back and forward. Within a few hours of singing this masterpiece of praise, however, the Israelites were murmuring! The question that must be asked then is, how many Israelites sang in the congregation that day with no real feeling or sincerity?
We must ask ourselves the same question. Do we sing with the heart or only with the mouth? Is our singing with an engaged mind, a faithful heart, and earnest desire for the God we praise? Meditate on the words of the hymns we so often sing.
Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings; It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings: When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain. In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new. Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say, Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may. It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through; Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too; Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed; And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread. Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear, Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there; Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice, For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.
—William Cowper (1731–1800)