A song in two parts

Exodus 15:1-21 (NIV): ‘

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.

The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea.
The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, Lord, was majestic in power.
Your right hand, Lord, shattered the enemy.

“In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble. By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood up like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.
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.’
But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

“You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies.
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia. The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people of Canaan will melt away; terror and dread will fall on them.
By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone – until your people pass by, Lord, until the people you bought pass by. You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance – the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.

“The Lord reigns for ever and ever.”

When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen 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. Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing.

Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.”

Again, Selwyn makes some very instructive observations on today’s text.

The first point is obvious – ‘the natural response to redemption is praise; … praise and worship are our our main reasons for living’.

In this remarkable song that comes from the mouths of the Israelites, we are told by Selwyn that it’s in two parts: “The first part (vv 1-12) focuses on the deliverance from Egypt, and the second part (vv 13-18) focuses on the entrance into the promised land. The Israelites recognised that the total exodus experience consisted not only of coming out of Egypt but also involved entry into the promised land.”

Now, for the most important observation – please, meditate on these words during this day: Redemption is not only from sin but also into the new life that is in Christ. We are not just saved from sin but saved to take possession of the thrilling inheritance that has been made ours by Jesus. Has this truth really gripped your heart?”

Many Christians see their salvation only in terms of having been forgiven, and have little awareness of what lies ahead. God longs to bring you into the promised land. Have you been brought out of Egypt? Good. Now press forward into … ‘ our inheritance, heaven.

Sometimes, I hear people ask, ‘Are you saved?’ As if, that’s the end of the issue – as, if the journey across the desert does not exist – as if, following Jesus is ‘only’ the moment, when we first accepted Him into our life. Perhaps, that’s why in some churches there are people who utter praise and worship with their lips giving thanks for their salvation, but their daily actions just don’t display the love of Jesus flowing from their hearts.

Being saved and taking hold of our inheritance is a life-long journey, ‘He is guiding us, each day, to His holy dwelling‘ (v14). The salvation journey only ends with our death; or, as I hope – when Jesus returns, SOON!

‘However deep the pit … ‘

I think Selwyn’s conclusion is excellent:“The resurrection of Jesus is like a lighthouse in a storm-tossed sea of pain and suffering, beaming out a powerful message of hope and life. … So have confidence in the confidence of God. His Son overcame everything life threw at Him, and He sits once again on the throne of the universe, having Himself endured the deepest agonies of human suffering. As Corrie ten Boom puts it in ‘The Hiding Place’: ‘However deep the pit, God’s love has gone deeper still.’

I think, to a large degree, the book –  The Hiding Place, is more a story about Corrie’s sister Betsie:  “Betsie showed a universal love for everyone. Not only for the prisoners, but, amazingly for the Nazis. Instead of feeling anger, she pitied the Germans, sorrowful that they were so blinded by hatred. She yearned to show them the love of Christ, but died before the war was over.” You can read more about Corrie’s book on the Wikipedia site.

The verses Selwyn has picked for reading and meditation, contain some of my favourite verses: Genesis 50:15-21 (NLT), [Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and suffered in many ways before he eventually rose to a position of power in Egypt]: “… But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.

So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you – for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.

 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.”

Jesus’ enemies intended to harm Him – and thought they had destroyed His influence by putting Him to death. But God intended it for good – and Jesus, through His death was then in the position to save the lives of many people. His resurrection proves that He is able to save your life. He will reassure you of His victory by speaking kindly to you!

Do you agree?