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Exodus 15:1-21 – Rich Owen

Rich continues from yesterday's post.

Read Exodus 15:1-21

We now find ourselves encamped on the Eastern shore of the Red Sea looking back on the great salvation worked by the Father’s Saving Angel.  His glories shining as brightly here as they would by the waters of Galilee.

Moses has just seen the two biggest, most dramatic and loudest multi-media presentations of the gospel the Hebrews would ever see.  He saw them.  More, he even experienced the Lord’s salvation.  His clothes still smell of roasted lamb, his hair and beard have the salt spray of the Red Sea matting it together.  The cloud of smoke which concealed the Angel of the Lord is billowing just a few metres away.

No wonder he broke out singing the first ever Christian hymn recorded!

Before we delve into the joy of this hymn, we need to consider the terror of it.  This is the reality of the gospel.  There is no salvation without judgement.  Hell will be suffered.  Either by Christ or by you.  For those who reject the Lord’s salvation, like the Egyptians, there is death but for all those who are in Christ Jesus, those who shelter under the blood of the lamb, those who pass through the cloud and the water there is life.

Considering the many warnings Pharaoh had, the mistreatment of the Hebrews and contempt towards the Word of Yahweh, we can (I think) feel that this is just. The Egyptians had ample opportunity to join Israel (as some of them did – Ex 12:38) but they hardened their hearts to the clear gospel presentations they received and so the inevitable consequence for them is to be thrown into the chaos and darkness of the deep.

I am not going to pretend that I find rejoicing in this aspect of our gospel particularly easy – I have to look again at what The Lord Christ has achieved for me for that joy to overwhelm my sadness at the hard hearted rejection of the free gift of salvation.

Moses’ hymn reflects on the events of that night in explicitly salvific language. Moses knew his salvation yes in terms of the great events which he lists and amplifies in verse, but also in terms of his relationship to his Saving Lord. He doesn’t just focus on the events and signs and forget who did them and how real he is – there is no depersonalised view of God here.

Verse 2 – he is my strength and my song and my salvation.  He is my God.  He knows his name verse 3.  Salvation from verse 12 is described in terms of a loving relationship.  Love which leads, which guides and keeps with God’s own strength.  It is pastoral language.

Just think about what this “unfailing love” meant to Moses, in his experience.  In the face of such a strong captivity, such an awful cost to salvation, such a dangerously narrow path. It is so rich a term!  He hadn’t forgotten his people.

Now think what it meant to Moses that God’s people are lead, what Moses knows and saw about His strength and His guidance and leading of His people.  It certainly wasn’t a case of throwing them a map and legging it!  It wasn’t even that he pulled some strings from on high to work salvation from a distance.  He was there.  He was with them.  He stoops down to save.  By his own Right Hand the Father works salvation for them.

This gives him great confidence going forward too.  If His great and unfailing love has moved Him to come in person and lead us thus far, then He will surely bring me my inheritance.  Moses looks beyond the Red Sea to his future hope.  Verse 17 – he is looking forward to being grafted into Zion – not just a bit of land in the Middle East, but the Lord’s actual sanctuary – the one He built and verse 18 his eternal reign.

His rejoicing is relationally focused and that relationship has this eschatological edge to it. He knows the Lord and he wants to know Him eternally. He depends on his guidance, strength and leading to establish him in his future kingdom for all eternity.

Such trust and dependence is built on the affirmation “be still and see the salvation of the Lord, see him fighting for you”.

If you are in Christ today, the Lord is with you – to guide, to provide, to lead you. His Spirit’s great work and goal is to bring you to the Father’s rest, to keep you in his fold, to keep your eyes focused on the gospel of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone.

Rest in Christ, be still. Enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit as He works to bring you home.


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