The Song: Satisfaction

Exodus 15:1‑21  •  20 min. read  •  grade level: 5
(Ex. 15:1-21.)
There are a good many songs given to us in Old Testament Scripture. This is the first, just as the Song of Solomon, I suppose, is the last. This is the song of redemption. The Song of Solomon is the song of reciprocal affection. Both are beautiful in their place. And I think we all should seek to sing each of those songs. It is our portion.
In this song, which is beautifully simple, and very refreshing to the spirit, God is everything, and SATISFACTION the result. Even though you and I may have been a good long time on the wilderness journey, yet we can turn back with joy and gladness to re-echo this song. There are many here who have just set out on the road, and I want to point out to such how suitable it is that you should sing. Observe, there was no song in Egypt. You must be out of Egypt before you can really sing to God. It is not a question of people having the vocal capacity, but the state of soul which warrants such a song, so you must not " join the choir" till you are saved. Then you will find yourself in it without joining.
I think it must have been a wonderful thing for God that day when six hundred thousand men opened their mouths and sang this beautiful song. Depend upon it heaven listened that morning. They were very happy that day. They had a right to be. Was it not a beautiful song. It was a lovely song. And what was there in the song? Well, there is a peculiar absence of a great deal that is found in what you and I are wont to sing. Nineteen-twentieths of our singing is about ourselves. This redemption song from first to last is all about the Lord.
But I hear a sorrowful voice saying, I cannot sing, for I am very miserable, and I fear that I am not converted. You would not be miserable, my dear friend, if you were not converted. If you were still dead in your sins you would be insensible. Why are you wretched now? Because there has been an action of God's Spirit in your soul, and you have had a glance at the value of the cross, but then, instead of keeping your eye resting on Christ, you have been looking into your wretched miserable self. If I were you, I would drop all that, and get into the spirit of this beautiful song.
Israel sighed, wept, and groaned in Egypt, but they could not sing. Even in the twelfth chapter they did not sing. Why? Because they were not in liberty, but the moment they were, out comes the song. So will it be with you, the moment you learn the fact that the cross, the death, and resurrection of Christ are for you, and that in His death and resurrection you are dead and risen, you will not then be able to help singing. The song will burst from your lips spontaneously without a bit of effort. This gives us the true thought of worship. A religious service will in all probability be a great deal about ourselves. But that is not worship. Worship is the overflow of a full heart. No one can worship unless he be in the sense of the liberty of God.
Let us now briefly listen to this new song of redemption. It begins with, " I will sing unto the Lord, for he bath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea" (ver. 1). It celebrates His victory. How does it finish? " The Lord shall reign forever and ever " (ver. 18). It proclaims His glory. This song begins with the sense of the grace and power that has delivered, but it closes with the glory. It takes us right into the glory. Faith enjoys the salvation that it has found in the Lord, and faith takes a flying leap right over all the difficulties of the way, saying, " Thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation " (ver. 13). There is faith's confidence, that what grace has commenced it will finish. Doubting friend, take up this language, and let your doubts go. They are the fruit of unbelief. It is Satan diverting the eye from Christ. You let the eye rest upon Christ, and all your doubts will go, and you will be occupied simply with God, and with what Christ is.
Note how this chapter opens. " Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song," &c. (ver. I). Really the state of many a professing Christian to-day would find its expression, not in the word they " sang," but they " sighed." Oh, my dear friends, I believe our lack of joy is a great sin. It is a very serious matter, because it is a positive testimony against Christ, to His enemies. Instead of being a testimony for Him, oftentimes we are a testimony against Him, and a kind of encouragement to halfhearted sinners to go on with the world. The reason of this poor state is because our souls are not in the joy of this song. Listen again to the words, " I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously." It is the first outburst in Scripture of real worship, and is based on the fact that " He has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea." All the power of the enemy is broken. And if you look back for a moment and see what is connected with the cross, the death and resurrection of Christ, you will see that the power of the enemy has been absolutely crushed, and we stand in the victory, deliverance, and acceptance of Christ. Christ is all. What joy fills the heart when that is seen. What joy filled the heart of the prodigal when he got the sense of the Father's love-(Luke 15).
There is music and dancing in our chapter (ver. 20), and you have music and dancing in the fifteenth chapter of Luke 1 want you to get into the spirit of the beginning of the chapter. In the end of the chapter we find that Israel murmured. It is true that the song of the fifteenth of Exodus did die away, but did you ever hear of the song of the fifteenth of Luke dying away? " They began to be merry," it says. And we never hear of it ceasing, and we must live in the spirit of our dispensation.
What is Christianity? It is the knowledge of the Father, and the Son, with the Holy Ghost dwelling in the body of the believer, and setting him up in this scene in the power and spirit of Christ, that he may live in this scene as the Lord lived. Christianity is the repetition of the life of Jesus, in the life of the Christian. 1 cannot therefore allow myself any comfort from this chapter if I am a bit dejected. No, no! That might be overlooked in that day, when God was testing the flesh, as He was, but when I come to the full expression of the truth of the day we are in, you get Christ as the pattern. Did you ever hear Him murmuring? No, never! Even in the darkest day, we hear Him say, " I thank thee, O Father" (Matt. 11:25). Always subject, always obedient, always peaceful. " Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you'' (John 14:27). Always joyful is also our normal state. " These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full" (1 John 1:4). Ah, beloved, we have a perfect pattern in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us follow Him.
Observe the way their soul's vision is filled that resurrection morn: " The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation " (ver. 2). I think, beloved friends; that some of us will have to put it this way: " The Lord was my strength and song, but now I am so weak." Israel says here, " The Lord is my strength and song." Is there not refreshing vigor about that note of the song? Do you think that as you and I get older, we are to get colder? As we go on are we to become feebler? Away with such unbelief. Let me show you an old convert. Four years in a prison, cut off from everything, and all Asia turned away from him, listen to what he says, " Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, Rejoice" (Phil. 4:4). It was Paul the saint. He writes as a saint, not an apostle there. What can keep a saint right? The company of Christ.
Brethren, let us get a little more into this element of joy. We want it. You usually see young Christians very bright. Should we older ones be the reverse? God forbid! If we see one joyful and bright, we should judge ourselves if we are not the same. " The Lord is become my salvation " is a fine note to sing when we have learned our own absolute weakness and incompetence. His heart was filled with gladness as those voices rang from the borders of the Red Sea. Shall He not hear ours also? They saw that the road back to Egypt was blocked. They had heard the word, " Stand still." They had seen God come in and deliver them in that marvelous manner, and now they turned, and gave to God all the praise, and all the thanks. Further, they say, " He is my God." It is a nice thing when the soul is able to say that with distinctness and clearness. And more than that, " I will prepare him an habitation " (ver. 2). That to me is the most lovely bit of the whole chapter. The moment I am upon the ground of redemption I am fit for His company, and He loves to have my company. " I will prepare him an habitation " is faith's apprehension of God's ultimate purpose. They seized the thought that God was going to dwell with them (see also ver. 1:3). Mark, it is His strength that brings you out of a defiled world, and it is to a holy habitation He leads you (see also ver. 17). They seem to say, Lord, you will never be content till you have got us in your own company.
Ah, but you say, we have not got there yet. No, beloved, but is it not a wonderful thing, that while you and I are here, God can dwell with us. How few of God's people ever rise to this. The scripture says, " Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16). " In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:22). It is an immense thing for the soul to see that, and that it is only upon the ground of redemption. God visited Abraham. He paid him a visit, and then retired. But when I come to this chapter, what is the first thought that comes into their hearts? They say, He will come and dwell with us. We shall have His company permanently.
Are we not going to dwell with the Lord by-and-by? Certainly, but here you have the thought of God now dwelling with us. God's people are now formed into a house, the body of Christ, by the presence and indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and that only upon the ground of redemption. The thought of this you have in this chapter, " I will prepare him an habitation." The way is clear for God to dwell in our midst. Before the moment of our going to dwell with Him, comes the wonderful truth of His dwelling with us (see John 14: 16, 17). Our going to be with Him is all certain of course, but, before we go to dwell with Him, He comes and dwells with us. This is made good, and known only by the Spirit of truth, as the Lord said, " I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever: even the Spirit of truth... he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:17).
Further, " If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him " (John 14:23). This is not only in the assembly, mind. It is individual. It is a wondrous privilege which the soul has now, and I believe it to be conditional on our practical state of heart. You will see in a previous verse Jesus says, " He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him " (ver. 20. What is the meaning of that? You keep His commandments, and He will pay you a visit. But He says also, " If a man love me he will keep my words." What is the difference, beloved friends, between keeping His commandments, and keeping His words? There is a very great difference. There are many things that come to you and me in the form of a command in Scripture, and there is also a great unfolding of God's thoughts, His wishes, His words, and what would please Him. You set yourself to keep what you are commanded to do, and you will get a visit from Him. But if you love Him, and treasure His words in your heart, you will do always that which pleases Him, and you will secure His company abidingly. How blessed is such a privilege. May we seek it fully!
It is of the last importance that Christians should be instructed as to the indwelling of the blessed Spirit of truth, both individually, and likewise in the assembly. The moment you are upon the ground of redemption, you will find that God has a people. We are saved to be part of a people, God's assembly. Do you observe that God had a people here? " Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed " (Ex. 15:13). He has that which He can call His own. Now it is the Church of God. We are only a bit of it. God's Church in any place to-day is composed of every saint of God therein. We ought to be together, and we ought to be clean separate from the world. But we are not. To-day you see where the Church is, alas, all divided and separate. Scripture shows us what God's thought for her was-to walk together as His people. It is always good to get back to the beginnings of things.
You go and read the Scriptures. Get back to the Bible, and read what God has written. Whatever you may hear me say, or any other man say, do not believe one word of it till you go back to Scripture and test it. What we want is to get back more to what God has said, and to take our thoughts from what God has said.
Moreover, this song celebrates that it is not only a people that are redeemed and purchased, but a people brought right home to God. They rejoice that every enemy has melted away, and every opposer is " as still as a stone till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased " (ver. 16). Is not that beautiful? They are God's people. Wake up, fellow-believer in Christ, you are one of God's people. It is a wonderful thing when the soul gets the sense of this. What God has begun, you may depend upon it, He will carry on to the end, and by-and-by the top-stone will be laid in glory with great shouts and rejoicings.
The secret of much of the darkness among God's people to-day is, that they are reading the New Testament through the dimness of the Old Testament. What ought we to do? Read the Old Testament with the light that God has given us in the New. It is a profound mistake to read the New Testament through the Old Testament. Everything was in type, shadow, and figure in the Old Testament. But it is all out of type now. Everything is wrapped up in Christ, a living Man at God's right hand. And I am in Him, and you are in Him. As far as the practical ways of a saint down here are concerned, whether individually, in the assembly, for worship, or whatever be connected with God's people here, what is the secret of power? Only the Holy Ghost. And therefore you can easily see the folly of the present day in going back to the Mosaic ritual. You are behind the times. You are all out of date. Everything now must be in the power of the Holy Ghost. Perhaps this is never more true than in song.
A redeemed, rejoicing people, with God in their midst, have the sense that they are a delivered people; they know they are God's people, and they know they are sure to get to the spot He is leading them to.. But there is something more than that. They have this sense, holiness belongs to this company. " Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders" (ver. 11). They had a deep sense that "holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever" (Psa. 93:5). Do not let us forget it. I hear some one say, I am not happy; May I ask you a question? Are you holy? Ah, that searches me. It ought to search us all. It is not that sin is not in us. but that does not give a bad conscience, if it be not working. Holiness is the soul walking in the light, and in separation from the flesh, the world, and from the things that do not suit God.
But supposing I am making provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof. If I am walking in the flesh, I shall not get the support of the Spirit, nor the comfort of the Spirit. " But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Rem. 13:14.), is the injunction. If I do not, my joy will go, and I shall inevitably lose my brightness. And what is the secret of this? I have not been holy. Happiness walks just one foot, and one foot only, behind holiness. The secret of a happy life is a holy life. It is very simple. " Be ye holy; for I am holy " (1 Pet. 1:16). You walk with Christ, and you will become holy. Do not try to be holy. The moment you try to be anything, it is not of Christ. There is no effort in Christianity. Walk in holy fear, and your heart will be kept in the company of Christ. It is a beautiful thing when a soul walks in that kind of holy fear. You walk with Jesus, my friend. Tell everything to Jesus. Have no secrets with Him. If you are in weakness, go to Jesus, and tell Him about it. Count on the heart of Jesus, and the strength and love of Jesus. He has no reserves on His side, do not let us have any reserves on our side. You will be happy then.
But more than this, holiness leads to such confidence in God that the soul can triumphantly say, "The people shall hear, and be afraid " (ver. 14). Will you meet enemies? Plenty of them. What will happen? They will all go down before God. Every difficulty becomes opportunity for God to display His power. The Lord comes in to show Himself strong. My friend, is all the world against you? God and you are a match for them. God and I together are invincible. All the difficulties will disappear, because you will have the strength of the Lord. " My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness " (2 Cor. 12:9).
The song closes very beautifully: " Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in; in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established " (ver. 17). They are a holy people on the road, and they are going to the sanctuary. That is the spot where there is neither enemy nor evil occurrent. And, beloved friends, we are going to it, and what ought to mark us by the way is holiness.
" The Lord shall reign forever and ever" (ver. 18), is the triumphant conclusion of faith's song, and the reason thereof is very blessed. His glory and their deliverance are based on the same thing-" For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea " (ver. 19).
They got back to the starting point. It is very interesting to notice that the end of the song is the beginning of it. The older a saint gets the more his soul enters into and enjoys the simplicity of the grace of God.
Miriam and her fellows ring out the chorus of this redemption song, " with timbrels and with dances," saying, " Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea " (ver. 21). The chorus is not on a level with the song itself, for Miriam is a type of a soul that never gets beyond the thought of escape. She has not -a note about getting into the land. She rejoices in what had been done in destroying the foe, but breathes not a word about getting into the land. It is very striking; she never got in. She died in the wilderness (Num. 20:1). In the history of her soul, she never got over Jordan.
It is our privilege now to pass in spirit to where Christ now is. And God will sustain us, and keep us, and carry us on, a bright living witness for Himself. Oh, you be for Christ in this scene. Are you a young convert? Be out and out for the Lord. It is His purpose to carry you in. You may be a Caleb, or a Joshua. They fully followed the Lord. They were the only two that got into the land (Num. 14:26-30). Had I met these two men, forty years after, and said, Were not you among the men that stood on the shores of the Red Sea and sang that song? Yes, we sang that song, and are not we here, two witnesses to the truth of what we sang? A h, it is beautiful to see this. And I believe there will be many a saint in glory by-and-by, whose history has been something after the pattern of a Caleb, and a Joshua. They had been kept and sustained by God the whole way along, and they had fully followed the Lord. May God give you to fully follow the Lord Jesus Christ, for His blessed name's sake.
O patient, spotless One!
Our hearts in meekness train,
To bear Thy yoke, and learn of Thee,
That we may rest obtain.
Jesus! Thou art enough
The mind and heart to fill;
Thy patient life-to calm the soul;
Thy love-its fear dispel.
O fix our earnest gaze
So wholly, Lord, on Thee,
That, with Thy beauty occupied,
We elsewhere none may see.