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.
Fierce passions discompose the mind, As tempests vex the sea; But calm content and peace we find, When, Lord, we turn to thee. In vain by reason and by rule, We try to bend the will; For none, but in the Saviour’s school, Can learn the heav’nly skill. Since at his feet my soul has sat, His gracious words to hear; Contented with my present state, I cast, on Him, my care. Art thou a sinner, soul? He said, Then how canst thou complain? How light thy troubles here, if weighed With everlasting pain! If thou of murmuring wouldst be cured, Compare thy griefs with mine; Think what my love for thee endured, And thou wilt not repine. ‘Tis I appoint thy daily lot, And I do all things well: Thou soon shalt leave this wretched spot, And rise with me to dwell. In life my grace shall strength supply, Proportioned to thy day; At death thou still shalt find me nigh, To wipe thy tears away. Thus I who once my wretched days, In vain repining spent; Taught in my Saviour’s school of grace, Have learned to be content
—William Cowper (1731–1800)