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Read Exodus 15

The Song of Moses and Miriam

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 defense;
    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.
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.’
10 But you blew with your breath,
    and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead
    in the mighty waters.
11 Who among the gods
    is like you, Lord?
Who is like you—
    majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
    working wonders?

12 “You stretch out your right hand,
    and the earth swallows your enemies.
13 In your unfailing love you will lead
    the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
    to your holy dwelling.
14 The nations will hear and tremble;
    anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,
    the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
the people of Canaan will melt away;
16     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.
17 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.

18 “The Lord reigns
    for ever and ever.”

19 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. 20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord,
    for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
    he has hurled into the sea.”

The Waters of Marah and Elim

22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”

25 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.

There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 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.”

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

Go Deeper

Imagine the flood of emotions Moses and the Israelites were feeling in Exodus 15. They are finally out from under the oppressive thumb of Egypt, and they just witnessed an actual miracle with the parting of the Red Sea. We could assume they had to be emotionally and physically spent. They have been on quite the journey from slavery, to the plagues, to their escape out of Egypt. 

We can learn a lot from the actions of Moses and Miriam here. They both pause, reflect, and praise the God who delivered them. They didn’t just exhale and rest. They weren’t delusional, thinking that they had somehow rescued themselves. They knew it was God. Moses not only looked back with gratitude for what God had done, he also spent time praising the very nature of who God is. This song of Moses doesn’t end here–it continues all the way on to the book of Revelation (Revelation 15:3-4).

How do you respond when you feel like God has delivered you? Do you stop and sing praises of gratitude? Do you just crash and try to block out any thought of what God delivered you from? Or do you look back with a certain amount of pride, wanting to claim credit for God’s work? Moses and Miriam show us what true worship really looks like. We have the opportunity to express our thankfulness to the God of the universe whenever we want to, yet too often we reserve that for a 75 minute block of time on Sunday mornings, or when we drive around listening to K-Love.

But what if it was more than that? What if we were habitually grateful people? At the end of this chapter, we see the Israelites start to complain about a lack of water. Three days isn’t that long, but apparently it’s long enough to forget what you just came out of. God had their back again and gave them clean water, despite their grumbling and complaining. We have the opportunity to be people who remember well. Let’s not miss out on that opportunity.

  1. What verses stick out to you about the song of Moses? Are there any lines that are meaningful to you?

  2. Why did the Israelites start grumbling and complaining so quickly after they had been delivered?

  3. Do you remember well? Do you often stop to reflect back on God’s faithfulness or do you move on too quickly without praising God’s faithfulness?

Did You Know?

Exodus 15:20 is the first mention of Moses’ sister, Miriam. She is described as a prophetess, which is the highest accolade a person can receive in the Hebrew Bible. A prophet or prophetess is a spokesperson for God. Miriam is the first woman to receive this description.

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1 thought on “Exodus 15”

  1. I’m seeing this chapter through Miriam’s eyes, she who had stood at a distance after her baby brother, Moses, had been placed in a papyrus basket in the Nile River in hope of escaping Pharoah’s order to kill Israelite baby boys. Now after a glorious deliverance again from the oppression of Pharoah, she and Moses team up in a duet of praise to lead the people to respond to the faithfulness of God. I can only imagine that tears were streaming down their faces as they belted out in praise. They highlight the awesome character of God as: Strength, defense, warrior, salvation, powerful, holy, glorious, love, guide! His character remains the same in 2020! My hope and prayer is that I will remember well and live like I believe he is the same yesterday, today & forever.

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