Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Feb 26 2019 - Exodus 15:1-21 – The song of Moses

As we saw yesterday, when the Israelites seemed to be backed up against the sea with the Egyptians coming towards them they were full of fear and cried out in complaint against Moses and against God. But Moses had said, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still" (14:13-14). And that is precisely what had happened. The opening verses of Psalm 44 are probably recalling this event when they say, "You give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name for ever" (Psalm 44:7-8).

When God saves his people they cannot but respond with praise. That is what we read in Exodus 15. This psalm of praise is called a song of Moses, but it also involves Miriam, Moses' sister, taking up her tambourine and joining in along with all the Israelites, both men and women. Just imagine the scene on that day.

I wonder how deeply the Israelites were affected by this psalm taught them by Moses and Miriam. The psalm rehearses what God has done using the most dramatic language, see, for instance, vv. 8-10. In response, it expresses his people's faith new-found in him:

The Lord is my strength and my defence;
    he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  (v.3)

The people seem to be acknowledging that the Lord, Yahweh, is the living God, a God like no other god (v. 11), a God who hears and acts to save.  They at last acknowledge that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is now their God also. They seemed determined to praise him rather than complain against him both now and in the future. Maybe, at that moment, they were genuine in their praise and in their intentions, but how long would it last?

The psalm also expresses the assurance that God will perform all that he had promised to do for his people. He had delivered them from the Egyptians and will not now abandon them, but will bring them into the land he has promised them:

In your unfailing love you will lead
    the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
    to your holy dwelling.   (v. 13)

Revelation, the final book in the Bible, pictures those whom God has brought safe to glory singing "the song of God's servant Moses and the Lamb" (see Revelation 15:3-4). God has saved us in a remarkable way through Jesus Christ; through an even more remarkable demonstration of his power than the Israelites witnessed in Egypt. Jesus, the Lamb of God, has defeated the powers that held us in captivity and slavery, the powers of sin and death. He has promised that he will bring us to live at last with him in the glory of a world made new. Surely our hearts should be filled with thanksgiving and our mouths filled with songs of praise. This should be more than a momentary enthusiasm; it should become the settled character of our lives even as it will be our theme in glory.

Father God, we acknowledge that there are no other gods like you. You loved us when we were far off from you and sent your beloved Son into the world to bring us home. We thank you for the salvation we have in him; we thank you that you have forgiven our sin and rebellion and have owned us as your children. Help us to glorify you in all we say and do and to tell others of your goodness and saving power. May all the ends of the earth come to acknowledge that you alone are God and that you are an almighty Saviour.

Peter Misselbrook