************ Sermon on Exodus 15 & Revelation 15 ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on September 14, 1997

Exodus 14:21-15:21
Revelation 15:1-4
"God's People Sing the Song of the Sea"

I God Gave Israel a Great Victory
A I am sure most of you saw on the TV or in newspapers or magazines the pictures of this past Spring's flooding in Grand Forks, North Dakota and Winnipeg, Manitoba. All sorts of stuff was floating on the water: dead fish, the swollen carcases of dead cows, cars, the roofs of houses, bits of lumber, trees, the debris of last year's corn harvest, and so on.

Like all of this stuff were the thousands of the Egyptian army. Many were floating to shore, their bodies swollen and bloated. Thousands more were under the water weighed down by heavy armor. Horses and chariots were hopelessly stuck in the mud and buried beneath the surface of the water.

Just a short time before the Egyptians were making big boasts about what they were going to do to the children of Israel:
(Ex 15:9) "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.'
The Egyptian Pharaoh, after the ten plagues, gave permission for the children of Israel to leave but now he has changed his mind and is determined to destroy and bring back the people.

That was Egypt's boast. That was her intent. Instead, they are like so much of that stuff floating in the water by Grand Forks, North Dakota.

B Why is this so? Is it because the Israelite men fought so valiantly against the spears, swords and chariots of Egypt? Not a word is said here about Israel's valor and vigor in battle.

Is it because Moses is a brilliant and cunning general who somehow surprised and defeated the Egyptians? Not a whisper is heard about Moses here. Verse 1 says it all:
(Ex 15:1) Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: "I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.
There is no mention here of Israel or Moses. The defeat of the Egyptians is totally a work of the Lord. It is the Lord Who has hurled the horse and its rider into the sea. As 14:30 puts it, "That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians."

Israel witnessed that great victory of the Lord. She "saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore" (14:30). She "saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians" (14:31).

How much these people had seen! In Egypt they saw each other being beaten and abused by the Egyptian slave drivers. They saw, through tear-filled eyes, their little boys struggling and drowning in the River Nile. They saw their work load increased when they were forced to gather the straw for the daily quota of bricks they had to make. They saw pain, hurt, bitterness, anguish; they saw so much oppression, slavery, brutality; they saw whips, torture, death.

But now? Now their feet are on the sand of the seashore. Their eyes look towards the sea. And what do they see? Thousands upon thousands of dead Egyptians. They now see justice, for all the evil and unrighteousness that was suffered at the hands of the Egyptians has been washed away by God.

"Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore" (14:30). They saw the mighty hand of God at work. The Savior of His people has done a mighty work. No wonder the words of verse 2 are said:
(Ex 15:2) The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.

There are many times when we, like Israel, can also see the mighty hand of God at work. We all have heard or know of people who doctors pronounce incurable; yet, when His people pray God brings about a miraculous healing. I think of a man who left his wife and children in order to live with his secretary. His heart is hardened. He listens to no one. Yet, the Lord works it in his heart to stand up in church and publicly repent of his sin. I think of my parents-in-law who make the decision to send their oldest child to the Christian High School some 50 miles away. They aren't sure how they can pay for his education. The very next day a company calls up and orders so many asparagus roots that all 4 years of Christian high school are paid for. I think of how the person without peace, in search of something, finds peace and God. And, I think of today when we could eat and drink at the Lord's Table. In all these situations and many more I am sure you can tell me about we see the Lord's mighty hand at work. It is on occasions like this that our own eyes see that God reigns over all: over death and sickness, over sin and evil and Satan, over His enemies and ours.

C As mentioned in verse 9, the Egyptians had every intention of destroying God's people. In fact, though, the soldiers of Egypt never once had a chance. For those soldiers were not fighting Israel; they were fighting God. Listen to what verse 3 says about God: "the Lord is a warrior; the Lord is His name." It is the Lord Who fought for Israel. It was His battle, not Israel's. The Egyptians were fighting the Lord, known in the Hebrew language as Yahweh. "Yahweh." That name emphasizes that He is the creating, covenanting God; the almighty and all-powerful God Who is Lord of lords and King of kings; the loving and faithful God who will never let go of His people and Who will achieve His eternal purposes with them. The Egyptians were fighting Yahweh the warrior. Against Him no earthly power can stand. Who is able to lift even a finger against this God?

It is little wonder, isn't it, that Pharaoh's chariots and army and officers were hurled into and drowned in the sea?!

D Whenever the Bible mentions the salvation of God's people, it always goes back to that first great act of salvation by God the saving of Israel at the Red Sea. For the faith that God's Old Testament people have in God rests first of all upon His great act of salvation at the Red Sea. Never could Israel take the Passover Meal without remembering this first great act of salvation.

However, we all know there is a second great deliverance of God. This deliverance is much more excellent that the first one. This is the deliverance through Christ Jesus. And, to remember this great act of deliverance God has given us the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

Why is this second deliverance much more excellent than the first one? Because in the first deliverance God saved the life of Israel, His Son, by destroying and killing His enemies. In the second deliverance at the cross God did not spare the life of Jesus, His Son, in order to save the life of His enemies.

Standing on the seashore, Israel saw the mighty victory their God gave them. Sitting before the Lord's Table, we see the mighty victory God has given us.

II Our Response is Song
A How did Israel respond to God's great act of salvation? Were they bothered by the sight and thought of all those dead Egyptians floating slowly to shore? Did they sit on the seashore and deplore the violence and death and destruction of our sin-filled world? Because of God's progressive revelation that may be and should be one of our responses to all victims of violence and disaster.

Israel's response, however, was different. When they saw "the Egyptians lying dead on the shore ... Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord ... Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing ..." (14:30; 15:1,20). We see here that Israel sang, she celebrated, she danced. Of course Israel did this. That's the only right response to salvation. That's why there is so much singing in the church. And, that's why heaven is so full of hymns and choirs.

And, how do you supposed Israel sang and rejoiced and celebrated? They did do so half-heartedly? Did they kind of shrug their shoulders and say, "Big deal"? Did they sing with their mouths while their minds were miles away? You can bet that was not the case at all. You can bet that they sang and rejoiced and celebrated with all of their heart and soul and mind and strength. After all, their God had done a great and wondrous and glorious thing for them.

On this Lord's Supper Sunday we should be able to sing and celebrate with Israel. We should be able to say
(Ex 15:1-2) "I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea. {2} The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.
I ask you, hasn't the Lord done great things for us too? Hasn't He triumphed gloriously? So we also should be able to sing and celebrate and dance unto the Lord.

Israel sang unto the Lord because He is their Savior. She sang the glorious words in front of us in Exodus 15. She sang what we know as the "Song of the Sea." And, we too sing unto the Lord because He is our Savior.
Topic: Singing
Index: 2472-2477
Date: 2/1990.24

In his book, Psalms of the Heart, George Sweeting illustrated a great truth from the experience of two Moody Bible Institute graduates, John and Elaine Beekman. God called them to missionary work among the Chol Indians of southern Mexico. Sweeting reports that they rode mules and traveled by dugout canoes to reach this tribe. They labored 25 years with other missionaries to translate the New Testament into the language of the Chol Indians. Today the Chol Church is thriving. More than 12,000 Christians make up the Chol Christian community, which is financially self-supporting. What's interesting is that when the missionaries came, the Chol Indians didn't know how to sing. With the coming of the gospel, however, the believers in the tribe became known as "the singers". "They love to sing now," Sweeting commented, "because they have something to sing about."
I trust that we too love to sing because we too have something to sing about.

B What we find in our Scripture reading is not the last thing we can say about the Song of the Sea. When we turn to Revelation 15 we see those who have been victorious over the beast and its image. They are standing beside the sea of glass and fire and they are singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. The same song sung by Moses and Israel is sung by the shore of another sea.

To our ears the song by the Red Sea and by the Sea of Glass and Fire sound completely different. In the first song the people say,
(Ex 15:1) "I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea ..."
In the second song the people say,
(Rev 15:3) "Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages ..."
Yet, Scripture says they are the same song.

Why is this so? Because the God Who saves the people from the Egyptians and the God Who saves the people from the beast is the same God. And, it is the same enemy who must be defeated. The anger of Pharaoh and the fury of the beast show the hatred of Satan towards God's people. And, in both instances, the song is the people's response to the Lord's great acts of deliverance.

C Do you realize what this means, congregation? This means that The Song of the Sea will always be sung. It was sung by Israel as she stood by the water of the Red Sea. It is sung by the church as she looks toward the cross and grave of Christ. And it is sung by the redeemed in heaven as they stand by the Sea of Glass and Fire. The Song of the Sea will always be sung because the redeemed of the Lord are always thankful for the Lord's great and wondrous acts of salvation. God's people will always sing to God a song of praise.
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