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.
Be still, my heart! these anxious cares To thee are burdens, thorns, and snares, They cast dishonor on thy Lord, And contradict His gracious word. Brought safely by His hand thus far, Why wilt thou now give place to fear? How canst thou want if He provide, Or lose thy way with such a guide? Did ever trouble yet befall, And He refuse to hear thy call? And has He not His promise past, That thou shalt overcome at last? He who has helped me hitherto Will help me all my journey through, And give me daily cause to raise New trophies to His endless praise.
—John Newton (1725-1807)