Free files for my fellow student pastors…
Glass was shattering, the roof came caving in, and the walls were crumbling to the floor. “It was like a bad dream. I just have to keep reminding myself it really happened,” one teen recounted. In February 2007, a massive tornado ripped through the Enterprise, AL area. School was in session, many teenagers were injured, and some were killed. Personally not having children, I can’t imagine being a parent who raised their child for over 15 years and having them taken away by such a disaster.
Please Read Exodus 14-15. Escaping Egypt by the desert, what are the Israelites thinking when God has them turn back to camp with the vast Red Sea before them and Egypt behind them? What is going through their minds when they look up and see what looks to be an approaching storm and what sounds like thunder? Instead it is the swirling dust of chariots racing through the desert and the galloping of horses. They are trapped, but did God set this trap purposefully? Yes, but this is not a trap for Israel to be slaughtered. Instead, it is a trap for God to get the glory from destroying His enemies, the persecutors of His people: the Egyptians.
God has only talked to Moses about what is going to happen at this point, so of course the Israelites are complaining, confused, and afraid for their lives. Moses speaks out and says something that we all must remember when our back is to the sea and we feel like there is no way out of our circumstance: “Watch the salvation of the Lord, you will never see your enemies again, and the Lord will fight for you (14:13-14).” As we place our faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will be saved from our lives of suffering, our enemies will be destroyed, and it is all done by the grace and power of our God through the work of His Son! We must remember that God doesn’t get us out of every situational jam in this life, but His promise is to rescue us from the power of sin and death through resurrection. Our resurrection from the dead is the greatest way that we can see the salvation of the Lord, our enemies being slain, and God fighting for us. God getting us out of jams in this life is purely by His grace. It is the jams of life that grow us.
God fights for His people by moving in the form of the pillar of cloud and fire between Egypt and Israel. By the raising of Moses’ staff, God parts the Red Sea. Israel files through with watery walls on the left and right as Egypt follows close behind them and with God between them. When the last Israelite makes it to the other side on dry land, God closes the sea and drowns every single pursuing Egyptian. The Scripture specifically says that Israel then believed in the Lord and His servant Moses (14:31). Watch what Israel immediately does next!
Standing on the sea shore with wide eyes and hearts full of both fear and gratitude, Israel does something very godly but also very natural. They sing in worship to God! Singing to express emotion is part of God’s image in humanity. Although singing is not the only form of worship to God, it is a very primary part of worship. Some of my thoughts on worship from this:
1. Worship God because of your salvation. Exodus 13:17-15:21 give us such a powerful, physical picture of what has taken place in our spiritual salvation. We can see the salvation of the Lord, our enemies being crushed, and how God fights for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. If we hardly ever respond in singing, we will continue to have a very weak faith.
2. Worship God by exalting Christ. Exodus 15:1-18 is the song of Israel recounting what God did to save them from the Egyptians. Our worship of God must be driven by the Spirit of God who points us to the Truth of God who is the Son of God (John 4:24). Worship Jesus for who He really is – not some beautifully sweet sissy, but a majestic, powerful, and worthy King!
3. Worship God by encouraging each other. Exodus 15:19-21 shows us the importance of singing the salvation story to one another. Singing together as a church is crucial! As we sing together, we are reminding each other what we believe, what God has done in Christ, and how God will save us in the future. Remember God’s Great Escape. “Sea” the salvation of Christ!