Exodus 15:1 – 21

The drivel we sing sometimes is embarrassing.  The music may be uplifting, but the words Christians sing are void of content; the mind has gone; the excitement is no deeper than a pop concert.  Frequently the focus is on the singer.  That is, the worshipper is lost in their narcissism as they cry out thanks for “A little piece of God in my world” (Saved).  The songs of scripture talk of the self sparingly as they focus on the object of worship.  The songs retell what God has done.  The songs unfold deep theology.  The songs have substance.  Moses’ song after crossing the Red Sea is such a song.  What examples of good worship songs do you know and sing?

Exodus 15: 1 – 21

1 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.

 2 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.

 3 The LORD is a warrior;
       the LORD is his name.

 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
       he has hurled into the sea.
       The best of Pharaoh’s officers
       are drowned in the Red Sea. [a]

 5 The deep waters have covered them;
       they sank to the depths like a stone.

 6 “Your right hand, O LORD,
       was majestic in power.
       Your right hand, O LORD,
       shattered the enemy.

 7 In the greatness of your majesty
       you threw down those who opposed you.
       You unleashed your burning anger;
       it consumed them like stubble.

 8 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.

 9 “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.’

 10 But you blew with your breath,
       and the sea covered them.
       They sank like lead
       in the mighty waters.

 11 “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ?
       Who is like you—
       majestic in holiness,
       awesome in glory,
       working wonders?

 12 You stretched out your right hand
       and the earth swallowed them.

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

 14 The nations will hear and tremble;
       anguish will grip the people of Philistia.

 15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,
       the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
       the people [b] of Canaan will melt away;

 16 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 [c] pass by.

 17 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.

 18 The LORD will reign
       for ever and ever.”

 19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen [d] 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. 20 Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:
       “Sing to the LORD,
       for he is highly exalted.
       The horse and its rider
       he has hurled into the sea.”

 Questions

  1. Which two people sing to the LORD in this passage?
  2. What has the LORD become to Moses?
  3. How is God’s right hand described?
  4. What part of the song does Miriam repeat?
  5. What song do you sing that recounts anything that God has done?

Going Deeper

Observation

  • What consumed God’s enemies like stubble?
  • What did God do in response to the Egyptians’ boasting?
  • Who is God compared to with a rhetorical question?
  • What did Miriam take in her hand?
  • What did the women following Miriam do?

Interpretation

  • Is Moses singing this by himself or with the people?
  • Is this a hymn for the people to sing regularly in worship?
  • Why are territories the Israelites have not faced the subject of this song?
  • How is man deemphasized and God exalted in the way the song is written?
  • How does the poem use parallelism?

Application

  • When did you last sing to God with passion?
  • How can you move your emotion through intelligent praise and worship?
  • Should I focus my attentions away from myself in praise and worship?
  • How could the congregation participate with percussion and dancing?
  • Why do so many people ‘endure’ praise and worship?  What needs to change for them?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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