Singing Praises to God

Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: “I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously!” (v. 1).

- Exodus 15:1–21

As soon as the Egyptians are destroyed, Moses immediately leads the people in the song of praise. He doesn’t waste any time, but turns his eyes toward heaven and lifts his voice in praise. When we have received special mercy from God, we ought to be quick in our returns of praise to Him before time and the deceitfulness of our own hearts efface the good impressions that have been made.

The song itself was a holy song, consecrated to the honor of God, and intended to exalt His name and celebrate His praise. It was not designed to magnify any man, but to focus on the Lord. Moses intended to give glory to God and to delight in Him as his Savior and King. It was God alone who saved them from their enemies, and so God, and no other, received the praise. Moses did not sing about his own actions or the actions and thoughts of the people, but of the activity of God in displaying His awesome power in their deliverance. Moses spoke of God, not in the abstract, but as a personal God, the God of their fathers. He is a covenant-keeping God, and for this Moses exalted Him.

The Hebrews sang passionately of God’s power, His sovereignty over the nations, and His incomparable perfection: “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?” This is pure praise, and a high expression of humble adoration, for the people recognized that even the greatest ruler is nothing compared to Jehovah. God is to be worshiped and adored as a being of such infinite perfection that there is none like Him, nor any to be compared with Him.

In his song, Moses also recounted the work of the Lord in Israel’s deliverance. When we praise God, we should always bring to mind the many mercies God has shown us, the many ways that He has triumphed over our enemies, and the many times He has given us the grace to overcome our sin. Our praises should not be left in the realm of generalities, but should be personal and particular.

As we consider this glorious and ancient song set before us, let us remember to go and do likewise. Let us put the Lord, not our subjective feelings, our experiences, or our insights, at the center of our praises. Let us praise Him for who He is, for His incomparable majesty and power: “The Lord shall reign forever and ever.”

Coram Deo

Read the song of Moses out loud. Imagine what it would have been like to sing this on the shore of the Red Sea just after God divided the waters and then destroyed the Egyptian army. Do you sense the joy and delight in the words? Read it out loud again if you have time. Praise God in this song, that your heard might be stirred.

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 81:1; 95:1
1 Corinthians 14:13–17
Ephesians 5:19–20
James 5:13

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