Israel, has been led by the Lord down into the waters of the Red Sea, with the entire Egyptian army in close chase behind. The New Testament called this event being ‘baptized into Moses.’ Israel’s journey down into the Red Sea, and their coming out alive on the other side, was a type of our baptism! It was a miraculous victory straight from the hand of the Lord. And worthy of a little bit of praise!
Here in chapter 15 we read of the song sung to praise God during this time. A song , giving all glory where it should always lie… with God and God alone! It is a song giving the testimony of those that had seen the salvation of the Lord, and as such, should be applicable to those saved today.
As you read the song in Exodus 15: 1-21, think about how much credit does it give to Israel for what has been achieved? How much of ‘self’ is there in this song, either mentioning Israel’s good or bad deeds? What does it reveal about the character of God and the character of the enemy? Do you know where in scripture this song is sung again?
He turns my mourning into dancing! Israel had not done much singing up to this point, all we’ve heard some moaning, quite a bit of groaning, and more moaning again but now, for the first time we see real praise! It is interesting that this is the very first song that is revealed in scripture. Not only that, but it is the first record of anyone singing praise to God!
True praise and worship will always follow revelation of what God has done for us in Christ. ’ As Israel sat on the shores of the far side of the Red Sea, the realization of the extent of God’s salvation was there, plain as day, for all to see. And you can’t keep praise down for long when the eyes have been opened and are focused upon what God has done!
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: “I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.
The start of this song was personal! The Lord is not seen as someone far away or uninterested. He is very real, very active, and very much in control. Not only that, but the Lord is Israel’s strength and salvation. Not just a ‘help’. Because of what Israel had seen before their very eyes, they had gone beyond just having the Lord as a ‘helper’. They had seen that He didn’t just help, but that He fully took over! Their song didn’t say that the Lord is their helper. No, the Lord is their strength… the Lord is their salvation. Do you have God in His rightful place as the one who, through your consent, can live out His life through you?
Exodus 15:14-21‘Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone. “Your right hand, O LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy. In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble… “The enemy boasted, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.’ But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters. “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? You stretched out your right hand and the earth swallowed them.
The song continues, focusing on what became of the Egyptian army. The song says that the Lord ‘shattered the enemy…they sank like lead in the mighty waters… he hurled them into the sea.’ What an awesome picture of what happened to that which stood against us – our sins. The Lord, majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, dealt fully with our past, present and future sin, burying them in the waters of baptism as deep as He did the Egyptians!
Look also at the claim of the enemy – ‘The enemy boasted, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them. My hand will destroy them.’ Likewise, the Christian’s enemy, Satan, is full of boasts but his defeat occurred at the cross and any accusations or doubts that he may try to place upon God’s people are as empty as Pharaoh’s famous last words in this passage. Stand your ground and start praising God again for Jesus ‘disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’
Do you know the victory that was achieved on the cross? If so, believe it to be true for your own life, and keep yourself focused on it. Your song of praise to God will come from your understanding of what Jesus has done!
Exodus 15:13-16 “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia. The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away; terror and dread will fall upon them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone— until your people pass by, O LORD, until the people you bought pass by.”
In these verses we see the effect of the Red Sea crossing on Israel’s enemy. ‘The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia.’ Are these words true? Of course they are. When Israel finally got into the Promised Land, Rahab spoke of the fear that came upon the inhabitants of Canaan saying
‘I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt…When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.’ (Joshua 2:9-11)
So the words of the song were prophetic of the fear that would come upon the enemy in the Promised Land. How much sadder does that make the fact that through their own fear of the enemy, Israel had to wander aimlessly for another 40 years after this? They where frightened of a shaking terrified enemy! They sang the words of the song, but didn’t truly believe it in their hearts. Does this not speak to us as Christians? How many Christians still struggle with God’s intentions towards them, let alone that of the enemy? How many Christians fail to enter the ‘promised land’ and the promises God has for them due to fear of that which has already been defeated? Let us sing the song, believe its words, and live it out.
Notice also what it testifies concerning the Lord- ‘In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.’ What an awesome promise this is for us. Not only redemption through the Red Sea, but the promise for continual leading until we arrive home, in Heaven, His holy dwelling.
Exodus 15:17-18 You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established. The LORD will reign for ever and ever.”
Not only did God provide an awesome salvation for them through the Red Sea, but this song makes clear that he will bring them into His inheritance – the land He set apart for them. Israel was to be assured that the miracle of the Red Sea salvation was not the end of the Lord’s work on their behalf. He would lead them, and plant them, in the Promised Land. Surely this is something to be thankful for! God’s work on our behalf never stops at our salvation. The Bible says that if He sent His Son to the cross when we were His enemies (which He did), then we should have an even greater expectation of His continual work on our behalf now that He has given us His Son.
What a song this is! It covers all aspects of Israel’s salvation and gives all glory to the Lord. In contrast with much of our praise and worship today, it doesn’t focus at all on ‘self’ but places the God of Israel in His rightful place as savior, redeemer, and Lord. As we have seem, it is a song that we can sing too for God is all of these things to us.
Let us see, through a revelation of God’s grace, the extent of His salvation and let’s believe His words and sing His praise too.
Sing in Celebration, my sisters