Do you ever wake up singing? Perhaps you had a great day the previous day, or maybe you were in a season of great joy and success. Whatever the cause of your rejoicing, a song spontaneously bursts from your lips. Children do this effortlessly, as they create melodies and sing lyrics that may not rhyme but express their sheer delight in whatever they’re singing about. As God’s people, we need this childlike singing not only in our theology but also in our practice. That’s precisely what we see in Exodus 15. The Israelites’ present hope was anchored in the LORD, who worked salvation in the past and would display His great glory and power among them in the future.
God’s Work in Past Salvation (v. 1-12)
The song bursts onto the scene with a victorious battle cry: “I will sing to the LORD for He has triumphed gloriously. The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea” (v. 1). After witnessing the LORD’s overthrow of Egypt, it becomes clear who won the war—the LORD, the “man of war” (v. 3). God is the Divine Warrior who fought on behalf of Israel. There are numerous words and phrases throughout Scripture to describe Him, and “man of war” is a powerful name that signifies His willingness to enter the ring and fight for His people. Our culture doesn’t jive with this sort of language, but we need a God who can actually defend us. The Faithlife Study points out that this Divine Warrior motif reverberates throughout the Bible (see Deut 28:7; Neh 4:20; Isa 42:13; Zech 14:3).
The Israelites, or at least the genuine believers among them, clung to God as their strength and song because He became their salvation (v. 2). The proper response to God’s work in our lives is faith, and the natural outflow of that faith is expressed by rejoicing in and glorifying God: “This is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him” (v. 2). Throughout the song, we see expressions of worship interwoven among the works of God (v. 2, 6, 11, and 18). It’s almost as if Moses couldn’t narrate the story without sporadic outbursts of praise and worship! He tells the story, and he gives the glory.
We, too, have a song to sing. We who are in Christ have a God who fought to the point of death to bring us salvation. Notice that Israel’s present hope—”the LORD is my strength…this is my God”—stems from His work in the past. We have a present hope today rooted in the finished work of Christ on the cross. The Father chose us and sent His Son to rescue us. By the Spirit, we have been regenerated and brought to new life. That’s all God! Tell the story and give Him glory! God did a mighty work against a mighty foe! Who is like the LORD among the gods? Who can do what He does? None! Not Buddha, not Muhammad, not mindfulness, not self-worship. All idols are obliterated.
God’s Work in Future Salvation (v. 13-21)
God’s past work leads to present faith and hope in God’s future work. Notice the shift. God has guided the people out of Egypt and toward God’s holy abode. They are a people headed to the land promised to Abraham. The inhabitants of the promised land have heard of God’s glory against Egypt, and they “trembled,” “pangs seized them,” they all “melted away,” ‘terror and dread” fell upon them, they were “still as stone” (v. 13-16). Why such a response? Because of the greatness of God’s arm. God’s mighty hand struck and destroyed Egypt, and His arm would lead them through to the promised land as well.
The power of God gave the Israelites great confidence. The inhabitants of Canaan would face their Divine Warrior until the Israelites passed by. God Himself purchased Israel, would bring them into the land, and would one day plant them on His mountain, where His presence would abide among Israel. This land was God’s chosen sanctuary and was established by His hands. Moses knew that the LORD would reign forever, and this was the final line of His glorious song. The Divine Warrior was also their Divine King.
Like the Israelites, Christians today have present faith and a future hope. If God did all of this for the Israelites, many of whom eventually rejected Him, how much more will He do this for those who truly trust in His Son and are His adopted children (Eph. 1:5, Rom. 8:15-16)? If the believing Israelites had hope in Christ, whom they had not yet seen or fully grasped, how much more should we hope in Christ, knowing the power He displayed on the cross as He obliterated sin and death at the cross before rising again with power? We also have the book of Revelation, which gives a clear, authoritative, faithful glimpse into the future work and hope of God. We have something to sing about each and every day. We know that the LORD will bring us home, and He will reign forever and ever (v. 17-18)!
- In what has God proven to be a “man of war” in your faith walk? How does that strengthen your faith today?
- What are some specific ways God has worked in your story that cause you to praise Him and rejoice in His power? What are words you’ve used to express that joy and worship to God?
- How does God’s past work and present power give you assurance for the future?
- Pray for remembrance. Ask the Spirit to bring to your remembrance God’s mighty work in your salvation.
- Praise God with your words. Write a song, pen some prose, or simply pray some words of worship and rejoicing to God.
- Remember Christ’s coming. Plead the promise of Christ’s second coming to God in prayer. Ask the Spirit to bring to mind passages of hope and security in the second coming of Christ.
Photo by Luis Quintero: https://www.pexels.com/photo/monochrome-photo-of-woman-singing-2774575/
Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about A Salvation Song from Moses in Exodus 15.