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 this month on the words of the hymns we so often sing.
Calm me, my God, and keep me calm, While these hot breezes blow; Be like the night-dew’s cooling balm Upon earth’s fevered brow. Calm me, my God, and keep me calm, Soft resting on Thy breast; Sooth me with holy hymn and psalm, And bid my spirit rest. Calm me, my God, and keep me calm; Let Thine outstretchèd wing Be like the shade of Elim’s palm Beside her desert spring. Yes, keep me calm, though loud and rude The sounds my ear that greet, Calm in the closet’s solitude, Calm in the bustling street; Calm in the hour of buoyant health, Calm in my hour of pain; Calm in my poverty or wealth Calm in my loss or gain; Calm in the sufferance of wrong, Like Him who bore my shame, Calm ’mid the threatening, taunting throng Who hate Thy holy name; Calm as the ray of sun or star Which storms assail in vain; Moving unruffled through earth’s war, The eternal calm to gain.—Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)