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.
From deep distress and troubled thoughts To Thee, my God, I raised my cries; If Thou severely mark our faults, No flesh can stand before Thine eyes. But Thou hast built Thy throne of grace Free to dispense Thy pardons there, That sinners may approach Thy face, And hope and love, as well as fear. As the benighted pilgrims wait And long, and wish for breaking day, So waits my soul before Thy gate; When will my God His face display? My trust is fixed upon Thy Word, Nor shall I trust Thy Word in vain; Let mourning souls address the Lord And find relief from all their pain. Great is His love, and large His grace, Through the redemption of His Son; He turns our feet from sinful ways, And pardons what our hands have done.
—Isaac Watts (1674–1748)