True praise is always born of a great experience. Bondage and deliverance, suffering and victor--it is in these times that God's hand molds, shapes, and refines us and our song of praise. The refiner's crucible does not only remove the dross, but also brightens the metal. Out of the furnace of bondage and then in to redemption, the children of Israel learned to bow in holy worship. We read, "Israel saw the great work which the Lord did and believed the Lord. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel" (Ex. 14:31-15:1). As worship filled their hearts, praise filled the camp like the morning mist.
Exodus 15 is called the song of Moses; but it might rightly be called the song of the Lord's redemption, for redemption is its cause and the praise of God is its object. When the Lord in His compassion redeemed the children of Israel they burst forth in the first song of scripture—indeed it would also be the last song recorded in scripture (Rev. 15). Although the two songs are not identical, they are strikingly similar. In both songs the Lord is preeminent and sovereign. He is the Lord who renders judgment upon His enemies and is victorious as a "man of war". Yet He is also the object of reverent worship by the redeemed of both testaments. They sing, "Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty" (Rev. 15:3), and again, "Who is like thee among the gods"glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders" (Ex.15:11).
|The Two Redemption Songs Compared|
|Exodus 15||Revelation 15|
|The Plague Judgments||10 plagues of judgment||7 plagues of judgment|
|Enemy Defeated||Pharaoh & his captains||The beast and number of his name|
|Titles of Christ||Lord, Man of war, my God||King of the saints, Lord God Almighty|
|Position of the Redeemed||Standing on the edge of the Red Sea||Standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire|
|Position of Christ||King: "Lord shall reign forever"||King: "Thou king of the saints"|
The Song's Spiritual Necessity
There is a spiritual requirement in singing rightly unto the Lord. The word of God gives us the divine pattern—one must be saved in order to sing. One must know deliverance from the horrible pit and the miry clay in order to have the new song upon his lips. He, in whom this is a reality, is transported from out of the mire and into the choir of the King. We find this principle at work in the Lord's deliverance of the children of Israel through the Red Sea. Exodus 14:30-15:1 states, "Thus the Lord saved Israel that day and Israel saw that great work which the Lord did and the people believed the Lord"then sang Moses and the children of Israel". Therefore, the first principle of worship is that only a saved company can bring spiritual worship which is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. When the noted agnostic Robert Ingersoll died, the printed notices read, "There will be no singing." Look not for hymns, praise and spiritual songs among agnostics and skeptics; for without Christ, without God, and without redemption, there is no song to sing. However, the psalmist records in Psalm 40:2-3, "He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon the rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto out God."
The Song's Spiritual Focus
Spiritual worship must also have a spiritual focus. It is possible for the eye to rest on him and the heart not to be bowed in holy worship. In Exodus 15 the writer, Moses, brings the object of his song before our attention forty-five times, using titles or pronouns such as, "Lord", "He", "Him", "Thee", "Thou". Moreover, while focusing upon Israel's Deliverer, Moses traces the three-fold manner of the Lord's redemption. He writes that the Lord "triumphed gloriously" (15:1), that the Lord was "glorious in power" (15:6), and that the Lord was "Glorious in holiness" (15:11). A true worshiper is ever struck by the manner in which the Lord saves. Isaiah 53:12-54 records, "He bore the sin of many", but also notes, "and made intercession for the transgressors." This then leads to "Sing, O barren, thou who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud." (54:1)
The Song's Spiritual Content
Not only did the children of Israel sing unto the Lord but they sang about the Lord. Men and women of God are deeply moved to worship by the holy character and works of the Lord. Awe and reverence grip us in the presence of God's greatness. The singers glorify God's triumph (15:1), His strength (15:2), His victory (15:4), His power (15:6), His holiness (15:11), His redemption (15:13). His superiority over all the Egyptian gods is extolled in the words, "Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" (15:11) However, strangely absent is the theme of our own blessings. So much of self was forgotten amid the glories of the Almighty God. Where the Holy Spirit is fully in control, the desires of the heart and the worship of our lips will seek to tell forth the praise of Him alone. May we strive to know more of His "wonders", may we seek to praise him for His "fearfulness", and may we be more occupied with Him who is our "song".