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.
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds In a believer’s ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, And drives away his fear. It makes the wounded spirit whole, And calms the troubled breast; ’Tis manna to the hungry soul, And to the weary, rest. Dear Name, the Rock on which I build, My Shield and Hiding Place, My never failing treasury, filled With boundless stores of grace! By Thee my prayers acceptance gain, Although with sin defiled; Satan accuses me in vain, And I am owned a child. Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend, O Prophet, Priest and King, My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, Accept the praise I bring. Weak is the effort of my heart, And cold my warmest thought; But when I see Thee as Thou art, I’ll praise Thee as I ought. Till then I would Thy love proclaim With every fleeting breath, And may the music of Thy name Refresh my soul in death!—John Newton (1725–1807)