I think God loves music. Unpacking Zephaniah 3:17, Sam Storms has called him “the singing God.” He calls on us to match cheer with song (James 5:13; Romans 12:15). In the words of Martin Luther, “Music is one of the most delightful and magnificent gifts the Lord has given to us.” Thus the Bible is full of glorious thoughts wrought into beautiful verse and rhyme. For example, Psalms is not a sorry collection. But the best part is that all the songs contained in the Bible are written by God; divinely inspired. Exodus 15 contains one such song, full of sublime beauty and superlative appeal. It is a song of praise!
The Bible is full of glorious thoughts wrought into beautiful verse and rhyme
A Song To The Lord: Exodus 15
“Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name” (Exodus 15:1-3).
These three verses capture the essence of the entire song. The burden of the song is to magnify the wondrous deeds of God. Only God’s saving deeds can inspire such ecstatic praise. These two verses unfold in two movements, which I will make into my subsequent headings. After considering each, I will apply the truth contained in Exodus 15 for Christian believers today.
The burden of the song is to magnify the wondrous deeds of God.
He Has Triumphed Gloriously!
As the people of God stood along the shores of the Red Sea, everything must have seemed surreal. It must also have been breathtaking. For generations they had been a harried people. This entire generation had been born and bred in slavery; they had been oppressed and maltreated in Egypt all their lives. Not long before singing this song, the Egyptian Army had been on their trail—charging furiously after them. Thus Israel had gone into a panicked frenzy. But Moses, the servant of God, reassured them that they’d never see the Egyptians again (Exodus 14:13). God was true to his promise.
God had not only delivered the Israelites from their foes; he’d destroyed them!
God had not only delivered them from their foes; he’d destroyed them! Therefore Moses’ song declares God’s glorious act of redemption. “He had thrown the horse and the rider into the sea!” (Exodus 15:1). The Lord had flexed his muscles and Israel’s enemies had experienced swift destruction. The charioteers of Egypt, and their horses were being washed to the shores of the Red Sea, lifeless.
This resulted in an explosion of exuberant praise. The old and young, men and women joined in this choral effort. How else could they respond? Isn’t it true that singing is the language of holy delight, just like praying is of holy desire? So they exalted in the Lord.
Only he could save in that way.
Singing is the language of holy delight.
Take a look at Exodus 15:2-3. Moses, the leader of the song, is unsparing. The Lord’s deeds inspired enormous confidence in him and the people. This is not merely a song of praise, it is a song of faith. Their confidence is not unfounded, it’s informed by God’s lofty deeds. The mercies of God are fresh in their minds and they boldly claim that God is their strength. The one who demolishes all powers and potentates: He is Omnipotent! It is almost as though they were as strong and indomitable as the Lord.
The one who demolishes all powers and potentates: He is Omnipotent!
They also assert that God is their song. He is both the reason for and the content of their singing. It is all about the Lord. From beginning to end. He is their salvation, ensuring their deliverance from bondage.
The Lord is also identified as a “man of war”. When we meet an eloquent person, we call him a man of words. When we meet one who is mighty and skilful in war, he is a man of war. The people of Israel knew without a shadow of doubt that their God was an eminent warrior. He had triumphed gloriously! He’d proved it right before their eyes!
Two Reminders From Exodus 15
So, what reminders are there in these two verses for us?
We Triumph With God
Even now, the general of heaven, the divine warrior, Jesus Christ, has descended. He vanquished our greatest and ultimate enemies: sin, Satan, and death. Christ has routed them in his death and resurrection. “He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness” (Colossians 1:13). Through Christ’s death and resurrection God has defanged death, smashed sin, and shattered Satan.
Through Christ’s death and resurrection God has defanged death, smashed sin, and shattered Satan.
But God still wages war. He has not resigned in fear. He is actively involved in the affairs of this world.
Consider the words of John, “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war” (Revelation 19:11).
Therefore, the events of Exodus can still inspire confidence. For in our shakiness, God is our strength. Facing sorrows, he is our song. When confronted by death and sin, he is our salvation. God is faithful in his promises and fearful in his judgements. ”If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Our Praise Will Never End
In Revelation the apostle John gives us a sneak preview of what will happen at the consummation of all things. Our redemption will continue to inspire praises to our God. Our outbursts of praise will never end.
On the other side of death and despair we will awake and continue in the song of Moses.
“Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished. And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire – and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed” (Revelation 15:1-4).
This is an ancient song, but it is our song, for our God will surely triumph!
On the other side of death and despair, trouble and terror, pain and persecution, sin and sickness, suffering and sorrows, we will awake and continue in the song of Moses, the song of the Lamb. This is an ancient song, but it is our song, for our God will surely triumph!