Passage: Exodus 15:1-22
Speaker: Steve Hands
Series: Coming Home – A Journey Through Exodus
Celebrating God’s Name
Why sing? We spend a lot of time in church singing, but is this simply a warmup to the sermon? In Exod 15:21, Miriam commands the people of God, “Sing to the LORD.” God has delivered them from Pharaoh’s army through the Red Sea in power, and the first thing that they do is sing. Why? We sing because the LORD is my song and my salvation who leads us past our enemies to bring us home. As we see how this song of Moses is sung by the people of God throughout history, we see that our song unleashes the power of God.
The LORD is my song (Exod 15:1–3). Immediately after the people of Israel walk on dry ground, Miriam took a tambourine in her hand to lead with all the women in singing and dancing (15:20). And as the people experience the power of God, the LORD Is not simply God or a God, but “the LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Exod 15:2). As they step out in faith and experience the power of God, then God becomes “my God” and “my salvation.” Similarly as we step out in faith and see his power, then God becomes “my God” and “my salvation,” so that we can sing “my song.”
Yet the LORD is my song because he has become my salvation (Exod 15:4–10). These verses spell out the decisive defeat of Pharaoh at the Red Sea, destroying the LORD’s adversaries with a blast of destruction, covering them with the seas of destruction. Just like creation began with the waters of the deep (Gen 1:2), so the re-creation of the Exodus begins with the depths of the waters (Exod 15:5, 8) that judge God’s enemies. And in this way, God demonstrates His mighty hand of salvation for his people.
As the LORD is our song and salvation, then we gain confidence that he will lead us past our enemies (Exod 15:11–16). Meditating on the power of God’s salvation, Moses exclaims, “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (15:11). God does not simply save me; his salvation is a demonstration of his glorious character. And because of how great he is, we can be confidence that he will lead us past our enemies. The song goes on to look at Philistia, Edom, and the inhabitants of Canaan, enemies that the people of God would soon face as they enter the Promised Land (15:14–16). Yet even the enemies of the future tremble and melt away because the LORD will lead his people pass their enemies; they need not fear. As we realize the greatness of our God, we need not fear any of our enemies but can rise in confidence. But where is God leading us toward?
God leads us past our enemies to bring us home with himself (Exod 15:17–18). God promises to “bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O LORD which you have made for your abode” (15:17). The destination of God’s salvation is God’s own presence and sanctuary. Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Him. And as our hearts find our rest in Him, then we can declare with unmitigated courage: “The LORD will reign forever and ever” (15:18).
So what? We sing. The song of the people of God paves the way for them to see the power of his salvation. This song of Moses is the song of the Psalmist who quotes Exod 15:2 and declares, “Glad songs of salvation are in the righteous” (Ps 118:15). This song of Moses is the mouths of Israel 12:2 as they face the power of Assyria and Babylon. This song of Moses is in the mouths of the people of God in Rev 15:3 as they worship with harps of God as God stills the waters of chaos to become a sea of glass. Our song is our weapon; as we worship, the power of God moves forward to defeat His enemies. May we be a singing people.