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.
Jesus, Thy boundless love to me No thought can reach, no tongue declare; Unite my thankful heart with Thee And reign without a rival there. To Thee alone, dear Lord, I live; Myself to Thee, dear Lord, I give. O, grant that nothing in my soul May dwell but Thy pure love alone! Oh, may Thy love possess me whole, My joy, my treasure, and my crown! All coldness from my heart remove; My every act, word, thought, be love. O love, how cheering is thy ray! All pain before thy presence flies; Care, anguish, sorrow, melt away Wherever thy healing beams arise. O Jesus, nothing may I see, Nothing desire or seek, but Thee! More hard than marble is my heart, And foul with sins of deepest stain; But Thou the mighty Saviour art, Nor flowed thy cleansing blood in vain; Ah soften, melt this rock, and may Thy blood wash all these stains away! Still let Thy love point out my way; How wondrous things Thy love hath wrought! Still lead me, lest I go astray; Direct my word, inspire my thought; And if I fall, soon may I hear Thy voice, and know that love is near.
—Paul Gerhardt, (1607–1676)