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.
God is the Name my soul adores, The almighty Three, the eternal One; Nature and grace, with all their powers, Confess the Infinite Unknown. Thy voice produced the sea and spheres, Bade the waves roar, the planets shine; But nothing like Thyself appears Through all these spacious works of Thine. Still restless nature dies and grows; From change to change the creatures run: Thy being no succession knows, And all Thy vast designs are one. A glance of Thine runs through the globe, Rules the bright worlds, and moves their frame; Of light Thou form’st Thy dazzling robe; Thy ministers are living flame. How shall polluted mortals dare To sing Thy glory or Thy grace? Beneath Thy feet we lie afar, And see but shadows of Thy face. Who can behold the blazing light? Who can approach the consuming flame? None but Thy wisdom knows Thy might None but Thy Word can speak Thy Name.
—Isaac Watts (1674–1748)