The Song Of Moses


Exodus 15

A. The Song of Moses.

1. First stanza. The Lord is a man of war.

‘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 defence; 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.’ Exodus 15:1-5

a. This remarkable song is assumed to have come spontaneously, as Moses led the nation into the wilderness on the other side of the Red Sea.

i. God prizes these spontaneous expressions of praise and worship, this is a new song sung unto the Lord.

‘He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.’ Psalm 40:3

b. I will sing to the Lord: one of the greatest principles of worship is that it is unto the Lord, not unto man, when we worship God in song, our audience is the Lord Himself, not the people around us.

c. God is praised because He did what Israel could not do. The horse and its rider, He has thrown into the sea!

d. When we let God be our strength, He will also be our song, we will have a ‘singing joy’ in our lives because His strength will not let us down.

e. He has become my salvation is a glorious phrase, we cannot save ourselves, but God must become our salvation.

2. Second stanza. You have overthrown those who rose against you.

‘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.’ Exodus 15:6-10

a. Here, Moses and the people describe what God did to the Egyptians, and they glory in the defeat of God’s enemies. If we really love the Lord, we should glory in the defeat of God’s enemies.

i. Especially when those ‘enemies’ are areas of sin in our life, too often, we have a sense of regret when we see them being defeated!

b. The right hand was thought to be the hand of skill and power; when God does a work with His right hand, it is a work of skill and power.

i. Obviously, this is the use of an anthropomorphism, understanding something about God by using a human figure of speech, even though it does not literally apply.

ii. This idea of the right hand is used in the Scriptures more than fifty times. including passages like.

God’s right hand teaches us

‘In your majesty ride, forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.’ Psalm 45:4

God’s right hand is full of righteousness

‘Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.’ Psalm 48:10

Remembrance of the years of the right hand of the Most High.

‘Then I thought, ‘To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.’ Psalm 77:10

The Father invites the Son to sit at His right hand

‘The LORD says to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ Psalm 110:1

The cup of God’s judgment is held in His right hand

‘You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed! The cup from the LORD’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.’ Habakkuk 2:16

Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father

‘He exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms’ Ephesians 1:20

3. Third stanza. Who is like You. O Lord, among the gods?

‘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.’ Exodus 15:11-13

a. If the people of Egypt still did not know who the Lord was, the people of Israel did, they knew the Lord was not like any of the false gods of Egypt or Canaan.

b. In our worship, we should proclaim the superiority of the Lord God over anything else that would claim to be god, but we must not be like Israel, who soon forgot this.

4. Fourth and fifth stanza. The people will hear and be afraid.

‘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.’ Exodus 15:14-18

a. Moses and the children of Israel know that the victory will also say something to the enemies of Israel, they will become afraid when they hear of the great things God has done for them.

b. Some forty years later, Rahab the Jericho prostitute could tell the Israeli spies. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt.

‘We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.’ Joshua 2:10

i. God wants to build victory upon victory in our lives, to use one victory as a platform for the next.

ii. Some foes will be paralysed by fear when they hear of the great things God has done for us, others will fight all the more out of fear.

c. The Lord shall reign forever and ever. A gloriously true statement, but how long will Israel recognize the reign of God among them?

5. Miriam, Moses’ sister, leads the women in worship.

‘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.’ Exodus 15:19-21

B. The bitter water is made drinkable.

1. Three days into the wilderness.

‘Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days, they travelled in the desert without finding water.’ Exodus 15:22

a. Three days is time enough to forget the victory, now Israel is faced with a long trip through a difficult, dry desert.

‘Three days is the maximum time the human body can go without water in the desert’. Buckingham

b. It would have been easy for them to question God’s leading, after all, why didn’t He take them the easy way, along the major trade route along the sea? But God knew what was best!

2. Bitter waters made sweet at Marah.

‘When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What are we to drink?’ Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.’ Exodus 15:23-25

a. It must have seemed like a cruel joke, after three waterless days, to finally come upon water, and then to find that water undrinkable!

b. But by God’s direction, Moses makes the waters drinkable, and provides for the nation.

i. How did the tree work? Buckingham thinks ‘the chemicals in the sap of the broken limb drew the mineral content down to the bottom of the pools, and left only good water on top.’

ii. Even though the waters were now drinkable, there was undoubtedly still a significant magnesium and calcium content in the water. The laxative effect of this would have effectively cleaned out the systems of the children of Israel of common Egyptian ailments such as amoebic dysentery and bilharzia, a weakening disease common among Egyptian peasants.

In addition, calcium and magnesium together form the basis of a drug called dolomite, used by some athletes as a performance enhancer in hot weather conditions. At Marah, God was providing the right medicine to both clean out their systems, and prepare them for a long, hot march to Sinai.

iii. God was not only interested in getting the children of Israel out of Egypt, He also wanted to get Egypt out of the children of Israel, both physically and spiritually.

3. The testing of Israel.

‘There the LORD issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.’ Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.’ Exodus 15:25-27

a. How did God test Israel? By giving them a command to obey. When God tells us what to do, He is really giving us a test, and our obedience determines if we will pass the test or not.

i. Were the children of Israel a worshipping people who occasionally murmured, or a mumbling people who occasionally worshipped? Our true nature is revealed in times of testing.

b. If Israel would obey God He would put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. In many ways, their physical health was directly connected to their obedience.

i. Dr S. I. McMillen, in ‘None of These Diseases’, notes that so

‘many of God’s laws had a direct impact of hygiene and health, practices such as circumcision, quarantine, washing in running water, and eating kosher made a real medical difference in keeping the children of Israel free from disease.’

ii. Beyond the direct medical implications, obedience also means we are at peace with God, and fee from a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety in life.

c. Then they carne to Elim, after the time of testing, God had a time of refreshing for the people of Israel. He knew exactly what they needed!



"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Romans 12:2