Scripture: 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. Exodus 15:2 ESV
Observation: Chapter 15, as biblical commentator Peter Enns notes, is “a hymnic interlude in the midst of a story of deliverance.” Indeed, today it is a song of praise sung for the redeemed church worldwide. Still, its dating, authorship, and format (who sang which parts) remain a question mark among present-day theologians. For example, references to the Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, and Canaanites trembling in fear over reports of what happened to the Egyptians do not align with the biblical narrative of Israel’s initial encounter with these nations approaching the Promised Land. However, the prophecy does align with Israel’s eventual conquest of the Promised Land (implying perhaps a later addition to the text). Still, no matter whether the song experienced editing, it is safe to say that Moses and Israel sang a version of this song of praise once safely landing on the opposite shore and witnessing the destruction of their enemy.
In a related matter, one fascinating element regarding the title/location for this song is the name of the sea: Red. The Hebrew word for red, suph, may also be translated as “reed.” As such, its noun form means “end,” and its verb form means “swept away” (see Psalm 73:19). So the name of the sea tells its story: Egpyt is swept away and comes to its end.
Takeaway: The heartbeat of this song conveys who God is, what he has done for his people, and praise for his name. Indeed, hymns of this nature are redemptive. For they turn our attention away from ourselves to our Savior who:
- overwhelms our fears and anxiety with his joy;
- transforms our anger and resentment into gratitude; and
- overcomes our sense of hopelessness with glorious expectations.
Undoubtedly, God-centered worship, whether corporate or individual, changes our perspective. Rather than obsessing about the problem, we refocus on the Problem-Solver. For Christ has swept away our ultimate enemy and will bring an end to him when the Son returns in his glory. Thus, we would do well to sing such songs of deliverance from our hearts that declare who he is, what he has done and will do for us, and praise his name.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for sending your Son into our world to defeat our ultimate enemy, Satan, and overcome our fear, anxiety, anger, and hopelessness with supernatural peace, gratitude, and glorious expectation of what awaits us. So would you please help us in all circumstances to avail songs of deliverance to you and your Son that we might glorify your name and delight in you? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling