Series on Exodus, III The Commitment of God's People, A The Song of the People, Text:15:1-21, Title: The Song of Moses


Exodus 15 is the song of Moses and in Revelation 15 we have a reference to this song. The seven bowls of wrath are about to be poured out because God's wrath is completed and those who have been victorious over the beastial anti-christ take up their harps and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. The song is a summary of the truth embedded in Exodus 15. That it is sung at this moment is significant. God is about to fulfill his final victory over sin and death. His character is celebrated. It is knowing God that is the basis of all our actions. God's people are prepared for service by God's great doctrines. Knowing God makes a difference in our commitment to him. The message of the song of Moses in Exodus 15 and the song of Moses and the Lamb is the same. He is a personal, praiseworthy and powerful God.

I Personal

The first thing we note about Moses' song is the personal reference in verses 1 and 2, 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.” Moses helps the people see God as his own deliverer and the one who saved each individual Israelite. He is the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and He is their God. God was the friend of Abraham, but here we learn that God is the friend of each of his people. All those delivered through the blood of the lamb at the passover can sing this great song. One big difference between evangelical Bible believing Christianity and the rest of Christendom is the personal nature of true faith. The enemies of the cross use this against us because they say its all in our head. They say that It’s a matter of personal preference or opinion. but the song begins with a declaration of actual events.  It is rooted in history and because it is rooted in reality it is personal. The entire contest between Christianity and false religions revolves around this objective-subjective issue. Post-moderns assert that everything is an opinion. They are the ultimate agnostics. They say that nobody can know, and we all should have an open mind. The truth is that although Christians are accused of being engaged in totally subjective blind faith it is actually other religions which are the creation of men's minds while the Christian faith is rooted in objective reality. No open minds! C.S.Lewis said, “An open mind, in questions that are not ultimate, is useful. But an open mind about ultimate foundations either of Theoretical or Practical reason is idiocy. If a man’s mind is open on these things, let his mouth at least be shut,” and G.K.Chesterton adds, “Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” Christianity is personal because it’s real.

II Praiseworthy

Everything we know about God is praiseworthy, but the song of Moses focuses on three characteristics of God.

A Military

The Lord is a warrior in verses 3-10, The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. 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. By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood firm like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea. 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. It seems strange to praise God as a warrior to many who think God is only involved in peace. These ultimate peaceniks fail to understand that in a fallen broken world, war is inevitable. The first prophecy of the Bible says their will be war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. War is deplorable, but like all the other evil in the world it is ruled and overruled by God. it serves his ultimate purpose.  Nations arise and are destroyed by the decree of God. Two things are predicated of God here, his right hand and his breath. The right hand is the place of power. Jesus is at the father's right hand. all power belongs to Him. We are engaged in a spiritual warfare, but our champion is the right hand of God. The reference to God's breath is meant to demean human strength. God's enemies summon every weapon in their arsenal but he merely blows on them and they perish. So Jesus works by his spirit. Like Moses and the Israelites we are in a war - but it is a spiritual war. Gary Smalley writes about an event that took place during WWII in 1944. The Israelites knew they were in a war, but do we? An officer commanding a platoon of American soldiers received a call from headquarters. He learned his unit was being ordered to recapture a small French city from the Nazis-and he also learned that French resistance fighters had risked their lives to gather information about the German fortifications in that city, and they had smuggled this information out to the Allies. The map showed specific details of the enemy's defensive positions. Including the shops and buildings where German soldiers bunked or where a machine-gun nest or a sniper was stationed. Before the soldiers moved out the captain gave each man a chance to study the map. And then to make sure they had memorized it, he gave them a test. Just before his platoon moved out, the officer graded the test, and with minor exceptions every man earned a perfect score. The men captured the city with little loss of American lives. Thirty years later an army researcher heard decided to base a study on it. He arranged for a group of American tourists in France to help. For several hours, they were allowed to study the same map and then they were given the same test as the soldiers. You can guess the results. Most of the tourists failed miserably. The reason for the difference between these two groups was obvious-motivation. Knowing their lives were on the line, the soldiers were highly motivated to learn every detail of the map. For the tourists, being in a research study provided some motivation. But most of them had nothing to lose but a little pride if they failed the test.

B Majestic

The Lord is utterly unique, as we read in verses 11 and 12, 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 victory God has wrought leads to a conclusion. There is no one like him. Maude Royden writes, “When you have nothing left but God, then you become aware that God is enough.”  C.S.Lewis says, “He who has God and many other things has no more than he who has God alone”. In Egypt and in Canaan the children of Abraham have been surrounded by idolatry and by belief in false gods. The entire contest in the Old Testament centers around this profound truth. Our God is real. He exists. He lives. We may speak theologically of the attributes of God which include His self-existence, His eternity, His omnipotence, His omnipresence, and His omniscience. In our text these are not academic conclusions. The story of the entire Old Testament is God demonstrating that He is real over against the idolatrous gods of human imagination. This is why we need to read the Scriptures over and over again so that these things which were written for our admonition may lay hold of our souls.

C Merciful

We sing that the Lord is merciful in verse 13, In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. Not only does the song of Moses conclude that God who has acted to deliver his people is the true and almighty God, but He is a merciful God, because He acted to redeem them. It is an enigma to the world why God chose the Jewish people, the children of Abraham as his own. There is no reason to be found in them. It is the nature of mercy that God has mercy on whom he will have mercy and who he will he hardens. If this were not the case it wouldn't be mercy at all. Lewis Palau tells of a mother who once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. "But I don't ask for justice,” the mother explained. "I plead for mercy.” "But your son does not deserve mercy,” Napoleon replied. "Sir, the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.” "Well, then,” the emperor said, "I will have mercy.” And he spared the woman's son. We as Christians must remind ourselves of this. Surely this is vital to our own spiritual victory over sin. When we experience failure and doubt only the realization that God chose us for nothing in ourselves will make us realize that he still loves us. This is the greatest lesson of the gospel. In the gospel of Christ we discover both the reality of God as the one who has triumphed over sin and death, and the love of God as the one who has come to us.

III Powerful

The last part of our text focuses on the power of God, which has been declared and praised as it concerns itself with the future. God is going to bring them into their inheritance. Their enemies will be filled with terror and dread, they will flee before them, they will be as powerless as dead men, and Israel will be planted in the land. There are a couple of things about this prophecy  in verses 14-21, which we need to examine by way of analogy, 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. 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. When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the LORD brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Miriam sang to them: Sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea. Moses conclusion is that if God delivered them before He will deliver them again. It is the same sort of conclusion that is urged upon us as Christians. If God spared not his son but delivered him up for us all how shall he not with him freely give us all things. Despite appearances we need to lock into the principle that once delivered we are always delivered. Now the prospect of leading 3 million Israelites through the Sinai to the borders of the promised Land was a logistical nightmare. But if you look back bringing those people out of Egypt through the Red Sea meant a channel of dry land miles wide created by the breath of the Lord. But God did it and the Bible says then the Israelites feared the Lord and put their trust in Him. It was a colossal miracle illustrated by the story of a little boy whose parents asked him what he learned in Sunday School. He said, “The Israelites escaped from their Egyptian slave masters in jeeps, half tracks and sixteen wheelers. Pharaoh’s army tracked them down to the sea with color radar. They exploded missiles and shot from jet planes. The Hebrews thought they were finished, but then corps of engineers built a pontoon bridge over the Red Sea and they escaped, and when Pharaoh’s forces were about to go across, they blew up the bridge with dynamite. And everybody lived happily afterward in the Promised Land.” The concerned shocked parents said, “Is that really what they taught you at church?” He answered, “Not exactly, but if I told you what they told me, you’d never believe it.” Sadly in the wilderness Israel forgot what God had done, but we must never forget our Exodus through Jesus. We too are heading toward an inheritance and the promise is that the Lord will bring us safely into that spot in spite of all our enemies. But we also need to note that it was not a magical process. They fought their way into Canaan. They faced many dangers, toils and snares. They made many mistakes and committed many sins. They failed to trust and trembled before their enemies. We are mistaken to think we are different. Hardship and failure is part of the Christian life and the victory is not won without it. This does not make the victory less certain, it only means that we should not assume it will be easy. But through it all we must know God as our personal praiseworthy and powerful Savior.