Exodus 15:1–13 God enables Moses and the people of Israel to escape the last-ditch effort of Pharaoh and his army to harm them. Turning to praise the Lord for his great work, Moses leads the people of Israel in a victory hymn. They recount how the Lord cast Pharaoh’s army into the Red Sea (vv. 4–6) and separated the sea for the Israelites to cross on dry ground (v. 8). He is the one who brought their deliverance! Contrary to popular ideas of God, “The LORD is a man of war” (v. 3). He is a mighty warrior who defeated what most people considered the greatest gods of the time, those of Egypt (12:12). No other god performs miracles, as the Lord does, and only Israel’s God is “majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders” (v. 11). Moses acknowledges that the Lord has a defining characteristic—holiness—and that he does great works so that his people might see, know, and praise him. While God’s people know firsthand the praiseworthy salvation the Lord has won, they also see his judgment. Immediately before verse 11, Moses and the people sing praise to the Lord for crushing Pharaoh’s army: “You blew with your wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters” (v. 10).
Thus God rules over the world’s most powerful army and nature’s most powerful force, the sea. In fact, this hymn to God’s majesty in both salvation and judgment is so important that John describes it as a song to be sung in heaven (Rev. 15:3). God desires his people to remember his mighty acts of deliverance. As the psalmist Asaph sings for later generations, “You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples” (Ps. 77:14). God makes himself known as a deliverer, showing his holiness in works of salvation for those who trust in him and works of judgment for those who do not.
Theology for Life—God’s greatest act of deliverance was raising his crucified Son from the grave, bringing eternal life to all who trust him. Now, and forevermore, we too should sing of his glorious work!