1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
-This is the first recorded instance in the bible of people singing in worship to praise God. They have just witnessed the seas closing in on the Egyptians and destroying their army, leaving even the ability to pursue Israel completely null. God has utterly crushed this enemy of Israel leaving no possible thing left any person can point to to say Egypt still has a chance. It was a miracle in itself that Egypt would exist again in the future. Israel is now free on the other side of the Red Sea to live with the protection of this immensely powerful God that wants to help them. Life could not be better!
3 The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name. 4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. 5 The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. 6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. 7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. 8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
-Its interesting how we forget that the Lord fights for us as in a war. God is our Master General against the forces of evil and He actively fights on our side. This is a perfect example. By Himself, God took out the whole Egyptian army with nothing but the “blast of [His] nostrils”. Think what God can do for us if we let Him?
9 The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’ 10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
-Interesting that Pharaoh sent them all out to bring back the Israelites but the Israelites believe they were going to be destroyed. It’s reasonable given the army being sent and the chariots being designed to ram and kill enemies that the Egyptians intended to kill some of them. Perhaps their orders were to kill as many as needed for them to surrender and return, but we don’t know for sure.
11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
-This line ignited a mystery in me that I cannot believe I never thought of before. I have to ask the questions, Do the Israelites know, at this point, that there is only one God? Obviously they know that this God they are dealing with is the same one that dealt with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and that this is “The Hebrew God” but do they know there are no other gods? They saw how utterly devastated the Egyptians were and that either their gods don’t exist or were absolutely powerless against their God. But do they know for sure they don’t exist, or any other gods exist for that matter? God did tell Moses “I am” which does imply that He is everything but this particular concept is not explained. In fact, even in the law and the ten commandments themselves it reads in Exodus 20:3, “you shall have no other gods before Me”. This statement almost suggests the possibility of other gods. The first instance in the bible that undeniably is saying that there are no other gods and that God is the only God is in Deuteronomy 4:35, “To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.” So the Israelites are told but it is not until after this time. So at this point, it is possible they simply believe that this one God just happens to be very powerful and has taken an interest in them but that there are other gods that help other peoples. One might think this is something God would want to correct right away but He doesn’t nor is their scriptural proof that Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob knew this. If this is the case, this shows that seeing God’s relationship with people and with yourself and how He cares for you and fights for you is more important than theological accuracies. In all the bible, we are told next to nothing about demons and fallen angels and other spiritual beings that may have powers that could be mistaken as “other gods”. We know almost nothing most likely because it is not important for us to know. In fact, if we knew, it may be a source of even greater sin if we “knew” that if we asked some particular demon for something worldly it would be delivered to us and make us further reject god. We know demon possession is possible even today and people must allow these presences in somehow to get into this state in the first place.
12 You stretched out your right hand; the earth swallowed them. 13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. 14 The peoples have heard; they tremble; pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed; trembling seizes the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. 16 Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone, till your people, O Lord, pass by, till the people pass by whom you have purchased.
-This song says somehow the people groups to the east where they are heading have heard of what had happened and that these Hebrews have a powerful God that fights for them. I would be trembling in fear too! The Egyptians were the superpower of the world at the time and they were reduced to nothing before these slaves. You have to imagine the effects of the Red Sea as well as the plagues in Egypt were witnessed by others like traders or just travelers who have passed word of the miraculous things they saw. God likely lead the Israelites into the wilderness in part because these other peoples would have attack out of fear and desperation should Israel have found their way into their land. The 40 years in the wilderness is plenty of time to forget and let the fear subside that Israel and its God would come and destroy you.
17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain, the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. 18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.” 19 For when the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them, but the people of Israel walked on dry ground in the midst of the sea. 20 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
-Miriam is finally named here and she is the same sister who made sure her brother Moses was found and assigned to her mother, their mother. Miriam has an important role here of the worship leader and is leading the people in this song to the Lord. Being involved in the Egyptian court, she likely knew much about music and entertainment. This is one of my passages I offer if anyone ever claims a woman should not be a worship leader.
Bitter Water Made Sweet
22 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.” 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.
-Here is a possible location for where they may have been: http://bibleatlas.org/region/shur_desert.jpg . As we journey along with the Israelites, let us apply their situation to our own lives as they grow closer to obedience to their God. God is testing them so that they learn how this relationship is going to work. They do not order God what they want done, God orders them, and they must listen. As long as they listen, God will provide. We must do the same in our own lives and few ever get past this lesson. We are told to pray and we can ask God for things in prayer, but what we must do in our lives is recognize He is in control and simply listen for what He will tell us. We are like soldiers and He is the Master General. He is controlling the chess board. We are merely pieces and must move when God moves us and not grumble because our piece has not moved the way we wished. Chess cannot be played if each piece acted independently of one another, it would be chaos and disorder. Let us allow the God of order to put everything in order and as it said last chapter in Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent”.