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.
O for a closer walk with God, A calm and heavenly frame, A light to shine upon the road That leads me to the Lamb! Where is the blessedness I knew, When first I saw the Lord? Where is the soul refreshing view Of Jesus and His Word? What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void The world can never fill. Return, O holy Dove, return, Sweet messenger of rest! I hate the sins that made Thee mourn And drove Thee from my breast. The dearest idol I have known, Whate’er that idol be Help me to tear it from Thy throne, And worship only Thee. So shall my walk be close with God, Calm and serene my frame; So purer light shall mark the road That leads me to the Lamb.
—William Cowper (1731–1800)