In last week’s sermon text, something amazing happened.
God saved the Israelites slaves from their Egyptian overlords. When they were trapped between the Red Sea and the pursuing Egyptian army, God delivered them. He caused the water to form two walls for the one million plus Israelites to safely escape to the other side. When they had made it through, he collapsed the sea onto the Egyptians so that they would never be a threat to his people again.
The Israelites were safe.
But what next?
They were in the desert.
They were in a land they had never been to before.
They were free for the first time in their lives.
Maybe, set up some tents?
Build a fire?
Elect someone to watch out for cougars?
Maybe look for the local Food Lion to buy some trail mix?
Before the Israelites could do anything to make this desert destination into a residence, they do something else…
I. Reason for Celebration!
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. They said: I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea. (15:1)
I love how impromptu this is. The word “then” indicates that this singing occurred right after the Red Sea covered the Israelite’s tracks. “Then,” they immediately broke into an impromptu musical number about God.
It’s like the musical Oklahoma! (Have you seen it?) At the end, Jed, the bad guy, is defeated by Curly, the good guy. He is slain in a gunfight. How does the crowd respond?
Aw, Jed is dead.
But at least we are living in O-ooo-oooo-kla-homa!
Pharaoh and his chariots are slain. But the Israelites don’t see it as a time to hold a memorial.
They don’t go in search of food.
They don’t set up camp.
They don’t spend the first minutes trying to figure out how to make life work as a nomadic desert community.
There’s always reason to CELEBRATE God.
Because maybe you don’t feel like celebrating.
I’m not gonna lie.
I wasn’t sure I was.
You see – I did something foolish.
When I scheduled this sermon series with this date as the final Sunday in our series.
I thought to myself – I’m sure COVID will be basically done by then.
COVID numbers are rising again.
The variant is on the loose.
The economy is still floundering.
People are without jobs.
Companies are without employees.
Maybe you’re battling depression.
Struggling in your marriage.
Still single and can’t get a date.
Weighed down by a guilty conscience.
It might not seem like there’s reason to celebrate.
But there is always is reason to celebrate.
There are always reasons to celebrate. Moses’ song shares a few…
(1) Celebrate because of who God IS
In popular love songs, it is common to hear the artist describe who their love is as a reasons for their joyful singing:
Frank Sinatra sang that his love was, “all I long for, all I worship and adore.”
Van Morrison sang, “Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-tee-dah”, because of his “brown eyed girl.”
The Temptations sang and danced and snapped their fingers to their beat… “And I guess you say what could make them feel this way? Their girl.”
Moses had reason to sing because of whom God was.
And we have reason to sing because of who God still is.
The Lord is my strength and song. He has become my salvation.
This 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. (v.2-3)
Friends, God is a lot of things. But check out a specific few in Moses’ lyrics.
He calls God his Strength. That means he is the reason that Moses was able to keep going despite all of Pharaoh’s harsh stubbornness.
God is your strength.
He is the reason you are standing.
He is the reason you are breathing.
He is the reason you made it this far in the pandemic.
He is the reason you can keep searching for jobs.
He is the reason you are here worshiping right now.
Which seems like a reason to worship.
He calls God a Warrior. This ties into something Moses had said to the Israelites when they were trapped between the Red Sea and the approaching Egyptian army. Moses had said, “God will fight for you.”
And God did fight. He defeated the Egyptian army.
But the lyrics are present tense. They describe God as still fighting.
He is a warrior.
One who is fighting.
Fighting at the time Moses sang the song.
Fighting by the time Moses finished the song.
Fighting thousands of years later when we read the song.
God is fighting for you.
Finally, Moses calls God, My God.
Moses had grown up in the Egyptian polytheistic environment. It was common in that environment for these pagan cultures to buy or create statues in the market.
One might look like a frog.
One might look like the sun.
One might look like a cat.
You could buy these gods and bring them home. They were your household god - meant to protect you.
The closer you were in vicinity to the gods, the better their protection would be.
Everybody had their own god.
At the age of eighty Moses did too.
It’s just that his household God cannot be contained to one measly house.
You have that same God.
It’s the God over your household.
It’s the God over all households.
Moses does more in his song than simply praise God for who he is. Look at what he does next:
He has cast Pharaoh’s chariots and his army into the sea.
…Lord, your right hand has shattered the enemy.
In your great majesty you overthrew those who opposed you.
You sent out your burning anger. It consumed them like stubble.
At the blast from your nostrils the waters piled up...
You blew with your breath, and the sea covered the Egyptians.
…You stretched out your right hand, and the earth swallowed them. (v.4-12)
Did you catch that?
Eight times over the span of eight verses, God is described as doing an action.
I suppose that makes sense…
In a song about God, the content should be God and what God has done.
(2) Celebrate because of what God HAS DONE
We don’t always get this.
I recently said someone, “Isn’t God great?”
They responded, “Yes. That’s why I’ve been worshiping for so many years. I gave my life to him. I received him into my heart. I sing to him. I give money to him. I have all kinds of devotion for him.”
And I said, “Yes, but…isn’t God great?”
Watch out for this trick. The devil would love for our talk about God and what God has done to be focused on what we have done.
Which is far less impressive.
The results will be that you feel like there isn’t a lot of reason for celebration.
Instead, focus on what God has done!
And what has God done for you?
He thought you up.
He loved you.
He created you.
He gave you life.
He helped you grow.
He kept you alive.
He lived perfectly for you.
He died innocently for you.
He rose triumphantly for you.
He defeated sin for you.
He conquered guilt for you.
He fought death and won for you.
He redeemed you.
He rescued you.
He saved you.
He put you into his family.
He gave you a church family.
He has given you his Word.
God has certainly done a lot for us.
But he isn’t done yet either…
It’s probably why Moses wasn’t done with his song:
In your mercy you will lead the people that you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them to your holy pastureland. (v.13-14)
This is a shift in Moses’ song.
All the verbs prior to this have been past tense They have been actions that God has done in the past to get the people of Israel to the free side of the Red Sea.
But at verse 13 it switches to the future tense…
He will lead them. (v.13)
He will guide them. (v.14)
He will cause the surrounding nations to be terrified (v.14-15)
He will bring Israel onto his mountain. (v.17)
He will reign forever and ever. (v.18)
TRUTH: Celebrate what God WILL DO
I know that earlier I alluded to the fact that I cannot and dare not predict the complete end of COVID.
It may not happen.
But it will end.
God will end it.
If not on earth, in heaven.
There’s no COVID in heaven.
There’s no vaccines in heaven.
There’s no masks.
There’s no sanitizer.
There’s no overdue rent.
There’s no joblessness.
There’s no need for a stimulus check.
There’s no sin.
There’s no temptation.
There’s no falling to the same temptation for the 47th time.
There’s no guilt.
There’s no more thinking about that wrong thing you did in college.
There’s no more waking up and being overwhelmed by what you said last night.
There’s no depression.
There’s no sadness.
There’s no racism.
There’s no pain.
There’s nothing bad at all in The Promised Land.
Which is something that God will do for you.
By faith in Jesus, he will bring you to the Promised Land of heaven.
II. How to Celebrate
We have plenty of reasons to celebrate. How do we celebrate? Two ideas from Moses.
(1) Make God YOUR Song
Back in the “Who God is” section of his song, Moses called “God” his song.
That is, in his song about God he said that his song is God.
This is more than just lyrics.
Do you know what a musical theme is? In musicals and movies, the theme will often be heard in the background at the beginning of the movie. Then, it will reappear throughout the movie.
Take Jaws for example.
At the beginning credits, “Da-nah.”
At the first sighting of the shark, “Da-nah.”
Over and over again for the rest of the movie, “Da-nah.”
Eventually the theme of Jaws has become so iconic that I can sing to you two notes, “Da-nuh,” and you are immediately looking for the nearest life raft.
God was Moses’ theme.
If you took a look at Moses’ life, you would repeatedly hear God.
The raising of his staff for God to do miracles…the Lord.
Speaking the Lord’s name to Pharaoh…the Lord.
Redirecting the Israelites back to God’s promises…the Lord.
Writing down the book of Exodus…the Lord, the Lord, the Lord!
Moses’ song was God.
Is God YOUR song?
When people look at your life is God the theme they hear?
Or do they hear a song of selfishness?
A refrain of racism?
A melody of malice?
A hymn of hatred?
A tune of terror?
Make God your song.
Sing his praises in church.
Sing his praises online.
Sing his praises on social media.
Sing his praises to your kids.
Sing his praises to your spouse.
Sing his praises to your family.
Sing his praises to your friends.
Sing his praises to your coworkers.
Sing his praises to your neighbors.
Sing his praises to the dental hygienist who is asking if you remembered to floss since your last visit.
Sing God’s praises. Make HIM your song.
(2) Raise a Righteous Ruckus
When Moses and the Israelites complete their song, that’s not the end of the celebration.
Scripture says, “Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine, and all the women followed her with drums and dancing.” (v.20)
This was not quiet.
This was loud.
It wasn’t piano.
They raised a ruckus about their Redeemer.
And they did it…
Let’s raise a righteous ruckus together too.
God has put us together to bring the message of who he is, what he has done, and what he will do into our community.
It is so much louder when people do it together.
For example, what happens when I say, “Alleluia!” It’s ok. You can hear it.
But now what if we add in the front row and say, “Alleluia.” It’s a bit louder. More can hear it.
Now what if we add in everybody sitting in the front section. Notice it’s getting pretty loud.
What if the whole church shouts it together – even the people sitting at home. “Alleluia!” It’s loud here and it was heard in the vicinity of the community it is where you, the online worshipers are worshiping.
It is so much louder when we do it together.
It is so much louder when you join us in doing it together.
COVID is still happening.
But God is still happening too.
Let’s keep his celebration happening.