Friday, April 19, 2019

The Red Sea Song

"I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted. The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea" (Exodus 15:16).

One of the great recurring patterns in the Bible is that after God delivers His people, they sing a new song. The Song at the Red Sea (Exodus 15) is one of those songs, as is the Song of Moses (Deuteronomy 32) composed after God had preserved Israel in the wilderness. The Song of Deborah celebrates the defeat of Sisera (Judges 5), and David wrote psalms to commemorate God’s defeat of the Philistines. In the new covenant, we find the saints singing a new song, the Song of Moses and the Lamb (Revelation 15).

The first verse of the Song at the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1b) was taken up as a refrain and while Moses and the men sang the verses, Miriam and the women danced with tambourines and sang the refrain (15:20–21).

The Song celebrated God’s victory over His enemies, those who had dared to attack and oppress His Bride. Under Divine inspiration, Moses did not hesitate to call God a “warrior” (v. 3). He rejoiced that God hurled Pharaoh’s finest officers and chariots into the sea (v. 4). Like the wicked at the time of Noah’s flood, Pharaoh’s army sank like stones into the watery depths (vv. 5, 10), while those who followed Noah were kept dry (v. 8; compare our lesson for April 1).

We are given insight into the motives of Pharaoh’s army in verse 9. They were seeking to recover the spoil the Israelites had gained in Egypt and they wanted to experience the perverse pleasure of slaughter. Moses made it clear that they deserved destruction, and he showed no pity toward them.

Because God had stretched forth His mighty arm to save them, the Israelites could be confident that He would finish what He had started. Moses predicted that they would indeed be led to the place of God’s dwelling (v. 13) and that they would be planted like a new Garden of Eden, like a new post-Flood vineyard on God’s holy mountain (v. 17; compare Genesis 9:20).

Meanwhile, other nations roundabout trembled with fear. God’s people, however, could be confident in the face of future enemies because they had seen the Supreme Warrior fight on their behalf.

Does the fierce joy of the Song at the Red Sea seem a bit strange to you? Why is that? Perhaps you need to adjust your outlook on God’s holy war against sin. Why not find a singing version of this song, and use it in Sunday School, or even in worship?