“Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD” This is the way that our chapter (15) in Exodus starts today. It is a song about what had just happened. “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” [v.1-2]
What we may not realize is no that no one, except a select few, had the ability and opportunity to write at this stage of history some 4,000 years ago. It was popular among sceptics 150 years ago to claim that writing was unknown in the time of Moses, that early books of the Bible were all legends written much later than the events they report.
This scepticism was demolished by archaeological discoveries, but the point for us to realize and imagine is that all these people that came out of Egypt needed to have songs that they could learn off by heart – since there was nothing available for the masses of the people to read – even if they could read.
So the chapter today was the ‘hit song’ of that generation! Imagine the scene painted for us in v. 20-21. “Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing. And Miriam sang to them: Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
As we read the detail of the song, consider what they sang about! “Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power … shatters the enemy… You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength” [v.6,13]
But there is a lesson for us in what then happened! We will read in coming weeks of their failure to maintain their faith in the abilities of their God that they were singing so joyously about. Were the things they were singing, just words! Sadly, the wonder of them failed to find a permanent lodgement in their hearts.
Switch the scene to today – a very popular hymn is “Amazing Grace” – does the meaning of the words that are sung or heard really impact on the core attitudes to the life they live, is there a heartfelt appreciation of God’s grace?
There is an imperative need for us to turn the question over examine the real and true attitude of our own hearts! Our world is more than ever a spiritual wilderness. Are we going to be able to do any better than the Israelites did 4,000 years ago? We make the answer now! Let us say, “I will sing to the LORD” with real meaning – in my heart – today – and every day – until my faith is turned to sight! And how soon now!?