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.
What shall I render to my God For all His kindness shown? My feet shall visit Thine abode, My songs address Thy throne. Among the saints that fill Thine house My off’rings shall be paid; There shall my zeal perform the vows My soul in anguish made. How much is mercy Thy delight, Thou ever blessèd God! How dear Thy servants in Thy sight! How precious is their blood! How happy all Thy servants are! How great Thy grace to me! My life, which thou hast made Thy care, Lord, I devote to Thee. Now I am Thine, forever Thine, Nor shall my purpose move Thy hand hath loosed my bonds of pain, And bound me with Thy love. Here in Thy courts I leave my vow, And Thy rich grace record; Witness, ye saints, who hear me now, If I forsake the Lord.
—Isaac Watts (1674–1748)