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Praise on the Other side of the Sea

February 15, 2012

Exo. 15:1-2 “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. 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.'”

The Israelites saw a lot in their journey out of Egypt: frogs, gnats, bloody rivers, hail storms, and a river parted down the center. The Lord was shown mighty through the stubborn, hardened heart of Pharaoh as he displayed his power in a war against the “gods” of Egypt. After all was said and done, the Israelites stood before the Red Sea, safely on the other side. God redeemed them.

As a worshipper, what amazes me in the text is Moses’ response, and God’s next course of action. It wasn’t here at the other side of the Red Sea that the LORD gave Moses the Law. It wasn’t here that the man of God was instructed to build the Tabernacle. Instead, Moses stood before the people and burst out into song! He and the whole Israelite community began to spontaneously worship God and declare his victory over Egypt.

So I begin to ask myself whether or not I sing to the Lord out of the gladness of my heart for all the things he has done, or because it has become just another chore of my Christian faith. Do I celebrate God’s faithfulness in bringing me through the waters, or do I follow the pattern of the Israelites later on and complain because I am out of my comfort zone.

I believe many of us would be more content to “return to Egypt” where we can be comfortable (though secretly miserable), and never have to step out in faith to praise God even when we do not know what the next step is. Yes, there is uncertainty. The Hebrew people had no clue where God was going to take them next. But if we forget what it was like in the land we came from, then we are never going to be able to celebrate the land we are now in. What if we took time every day to praise God in song, or prayer (or both!) for his faithfulness in leading us out of the places we came from, even if we haven’t “arrived” in the place he promised us. May we follow Moses and Miriam, and praise God for his faithfulness and power that brought us through the waters, to the other side of the sea.

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