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.
Behold the glories of the Lamb Amidst His Father’s throne. Prepare new honors for His Name, And songs before unknown. Let elders worship at His feet, The Church adore around, With vials full of odors sweet, And harps of sweeter sound. Those are the prayers of the saints, And these the hymns they raise; Jesus is kind to our complaints, He loves to hear our praise. Eternal Father, who shall look Into Thy secret will? Who but the Son should take that Book And open every seal? He shall fulfill Thy great decrees, The Son deserves it well; Lo, in His hand the sovereign keys Of Heav’n, and death, and hell! Now to the Lamb that once was slain Be endless blessings paid; Salvation, glory, joy remain Forever on Thy head. Thou hast redeemed our souls with blood, Hast set the prisoner free; Hast made us kings and priests to God, And we shall reign with Thee. The worlds of nature and of grace Are put beneath Thy power; Then shorten these delaying days, And bring the promised hour.—Isaac Watts (1674–1748)