When the Lord Becomes Your Song

June 27, 2014 at 10:26 am | Posted in Exodus | 10 Comments
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Exodus 15 features a song about what God did in the great miracle of the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of the Egyptian army, and this is not the only song in the Bible that mentions this event. Psalm 136 tells us how the Israelites in later years felt about it, and how we’re supposed to think about it.

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Exodus 15:1-2

This may be the first part of the Book of Exodus to have actually been written down, since it was probably written contemporaneously with the event itself. It is one thing to sing songs about the Lord. It is another thing for Him to be your song. “Your song” is what excites your imagination. It’s what you can’t help exalting. Your life will change when your “song” is not the new Playstation 3 or the new season of “The Bachelor” or whatever your hobby is or politics or the stock market or even your kids or your spouse. When the Lord becomes the thing you can’t help singing about, and you realize that you are not really singing “about” Him, but that He is your song – your joy.

The Book of Exodus is written in the genre of historical narrative. It is factual and summarizing, going into detail only when it furthers the theme. It is dramatic, but the drama is not embellished or fictionalized. However, here in Chapter 15 the genre shifts to “poetic” and much of the language is anthropomorphic. Anthro (from which we get the word “anthropology”) means “man” or “human beings.” Morphic means “form.” In anthropomorphism the subject is portrayed in “human form” even though it’s not really a human being.

For example:

Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

Exodus 15:6

And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.

Exodus 15:8

The Holy Spirit is not telling us here that the Lord literally used His right hand as opposed to His left hand, or that He even used a physical hand to dash the Egyptians to pieces. Nor is He telling us that God held up the separated walls of water during the Red Sea crossing with a holy sneeze. This is poetic language used for worship, beauty, metaphor, memorization, and lyrical brilliance.

Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.

Exodus 15:13

This is an Old Testament type and shadow of what Christ would do in a greater reality. God sees His people in bondage (Egypt), delivers them (Exodus), separates them (Red Sea) from the power of their enemy (Pharaoh), binds them to Himself with a covenant (Mt. Sinai), and then leads them and actually brings them to Canaan and ultimately Jerusalem, His earthly holy habitation.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:2-3

Jesus sees His people (as yet still lost sinners) in bondage (to the power of sin and Satan), and delivers them (by the Cross and – experientially for us – by faith when we are saved). He separates us from the power of our enemies (Satan and sin no longer are our masters). He binds us to Himself with a covenant (the New Covenant of everlasting life) and He brings us and goes with us and guides us (by the Holy Spirit) to His holy habitation (Heaven).

A Three-Item To-Do List before Leaving Egypt Behind

May 19, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Exodus | 5 Comments
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Three important things happen at the end of Exodus Chapter 13.

1. God led the Israelites out of Egypt and toward the Red Sea.

Why did He not lead them directly toward their destination in the land of Canaan?

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:

Exodus 13:17

God knew that they were hardly ready to be brave, even after what He had done for them. He would be proven right many times. Let’s be thankful for the times when God seems to be leading us into a place away from our strength – in confusing or disorienting directions. It probably means He is protecting us from going back into our old bondage despite our deliverance from the slavery of sin.

2. Moses paused to pick up the bones of Joseph (Exodus 13:19).

Of all the great acts of faith of Joseph, Hebrews 11:22 says that he gave commandment concerning his bones, because he knew God would keep his Word and bring His people into the promised land. What evidence of God’s promises are we leaving for future generations, so they will know we lived what we claimed to believe? That we really trusted the Lord? It’s a good idea to leave behind an inheritance and family heirlooms, but a legacy of faithful service is probably the best thing we can leave to our children and grandchildren.

3. The Lord established how He would guide them.

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

Exodus 13:21-22

The pillar of fire at night would give light to the Israelites and leave the Egyptians in the dark. The pillar of cloud by day would give shade to the Israelites but not to their enemies. These pillars were types and shadows (literally) of Jesus Christ, but also a symbol of the Word of God. I hope you are using the Bible as your guide. It will show you the way God wants you to go. It will provide cover when the heat of persecution bears down on you. It will leave your enemies confounded and unable to trouble you.

Delaying Dutifully During Deliverance

August 14, 2013 at 10:42 am | Posted in Exodus | 12 Comments
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God’s people cried and sighed and groaned. Then they were delivered, and it did not really have anything to do with their own strength, merits, or attributes. We call them “God’s chosen people” because God did the choosing. Like Christians today, they could not boast of themselves, when basically all they did was: “get chosen.” The Lord does not choose His people in the same way that a captain picks teams for volleyball. God doesn’t always pick the best players based on past performance. He often picks the puny and rejected so that He gets the glory.

When the prayers of the Israelites were answered, they must have cheered. “We’ve been delivered!” But then they paused before the Red Sea and they heard the distant hoofbeats, the churning chariot wheels, the trumpets, the war cries… coming from just beyond the horizon. “What if,” they wondered, “God delivered us only for this! For a slaughter?”

Waiting on God is sometimes harder than working for God. Sometimes it’s easier to cry out to God in a faithless panic than to wait faithfully with God-honoring calm assurance for Him to do what’s best. Our battles are supposed to be the Lord’s battles. Our deliverance is really God’s deliverance. If you were chosen by God to be saved, remember that He did the saving. And now that the flesh, the world, and the devil have a bull’s eye on your forehead, and they want to kill you, how are you going to fight? Will you compromise? You can’t compromise with the devil or any of God’s enemies. Will you scheme and manipulate? Will you fight the battle with carnal weapons: gossip, hypocrisy, backbiting, self-help books, common sense? Or will you wait to see the Lord fight the battle. Obey Him and get into the Red Sea, as crazy as that sounds, and just go where He leads.

And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Exodus 14:10-14

Moses basically told them, “God’s got this under control – shut your mouths.”

And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

Exodus 14:15

“Shut your mouths and go forward.” What if, as Christians, we just shut our mouths from complaining and grumbling and slyly airing our complaints about God? What if we just went where He told us? Just forgave everybody who cheated us and lied to us and played dirty tricks on us? Just gave it to God even though it seems like we can’t afford not to fight back? Just loved everybody we met – especially the seemingly unlovable?

When Jesus rescued me, He brought me out of a condition much worse spiritually than bondage in Egypt. What in the world makes me think He can’t get me across the Red Sea and into Canaan?


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