Friday, February 18, 2022

2022.02.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 15:1–21

Read Exodus 15:1–21

Questions from the Scripture text: Who did what in Exodus 15:1? What action of Yahweh occasioned this song? What has God shown about Himself (Exodus 15:2Exodus 15:3)? In relation to whom (Exodus 15:2)? Whom did God throw in (Exodus 15:4)? What happened to them (Exodus 15:5)? What did this show (Exodus 15:6)? What part of His excellence had He sent forth (Exodus 15:7)? What initial display of power had the Lord made (Exodus 15:8)? And how had Egypt thought that this would end (Exodus 15:9)? But what happened instead (Exodus 15:10)? To whom does Exodus 15:11 compare Yahweh? What wonder had He done (Exodus 15:12)? What did this show to whom in Exodus 15:13? And what effect would it have upon whom in Exodus 15:14-16? Allowing what to happen (Exodus 15:16-17)? Whose arm? Whose people? Whose place? Whose dwelling? With what ultimate conclusion (Exodus 15:18)? What data does Exodus 15:19 repeat? What does Exodus 15:20 call Miriam? Who, specifically, follow her? What does she lead them in singing (Exodus 15:21)? 

This hymn is organized into three stanzas: Exodus 15:1-6Exodus 15:7-11, and Exodus 15:12-17. Some have called it “the Song of the Sea,” but it would more accurately be titled “the Song of Yahweh.” At the end of each stanza (Exodus 15:6Exodus 15:11Exodus 15:16-17) is some conclusion about Him Himself using a doubling of the language, “O Yahweh!”

So stanza one concludes, “Your right hand, O Yahweh!”

And stanza two concludes, “Who is like You, O Yahweh!”

And stanza three concludes, “In the place/sanctuary, O Yahweh!”

The occasion for the song is the drowning of Pharaoh and Egypt, but the point of the song (and of the occasion) is for Yahweh to make Himself known. The Lord Himself had told them as much in Exodus 14:4Exodus 14:17-18. And the song captures that this has been a display of the Lord Himself.

So, in Exodus 15:1-6, the Lord has displayed the glory of His hand. He is powerful, unstoppable. If He happens to be your strength, song, and salvation (Exodus 15:2), then you know that you will make it through and be saved, because this must all end with you praising Him. So the stanza concludes, “Your right hand, O Yahweh!”

And, in Exodus 15:7-11, the Lord has displayed that He alone is God. No one else’s purposes (Exodus 15:7Exodus 15:9) can overcome, because the exhalation from His nostrils is stronger than the most powerful forces of the creation (Exodus 15:8Exodus 15:10). So the stanza concludes, “Who is like You, O Yahweh!”

Finally, in Exodus 15:12-17, the Lord has displayed that He has taken a people for Himself. Yes, this is bad news for Philistia and Edom and Moab and Canaan (Exodus 15:14-15). But they’re not the point here. The point is the Lord’s mercy to the people whom He is redeeming (Exodus 15:13a–b, Exodus 15:16), the people whom He is bringing all the way home to Himself (Exodus 15:13c–d, Exodus 15:17). Everyone deserves wrath, but the story of history is God patiently enduring those who are perishing out of a desire to display His mercy in those whom He lovingly elects to save (cf. Romans 9:22–23).

It seems that it was part of the Israelite culture, if not the broader ancient-near-eastern culture, that women would take up victory songs in honor of their kings. This was famously an issue for Saul and the Philistines with David (cf. 1 Samuel 18:6–9; 1 Samuel 21:11; 1 Samuel 29:5). Once Moses and the men have sung the song (Exodus 15:1), the women answer antiphonally with Miriam the prophetess leading them (Exodus 15:21). Whether this was done line by line, stanza by stanza, or by the whole song, we cannot tell merely from the first line that verse 21 gives us. But the antiphonal singing communicates the same in any of these cases: what the Lord is for His people as a whole, He is to each of them particularly. He is not just Israel’s Redeemer. He is each Israelite’s Redeemer.

We would do well to see in His great redemption through Christ a display of Himself and Who He is to His church and to each Christian. And we would do well to see this also in every “small” deliverance in our lives. Let our hearts—and our voices—be ever ready to declare His praise. And, let us especially relish the opportunity to do so in the assembly of His people.

What great deliverance has the Lord given you? What smaller deliverances? In each of these, what are some of the things that He has shown about Himself? How/when do you respond with praise?

Sample prayer:  Lord, Your mighty hand has saved us, for You alone are God, and You have taken us for Yourself as Your people. Forgive our sluggishness to praise You and frequent coldness, even as we do so. We look forwward to the completion of Your work in us, when Your praise will properly thrill us, and overflow through our mouths from out of our hearts. Grant that Your Spirit would be doing this work in us, unto Your great glory, which we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the Lord” or TPH98A “O Sing a New Song to the Lord”

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