I Will Sing
Easter Festival Service
I Will Sing
1. Because the Lord is my strength
2. Because the Lord is my salvation
Text: Exodus 15:1-13, 17-18
We live in the United States of America—the land of the free and the home of the brave. We cannot fathom what it is like to be a slave. We read about the Civil War and we watch movies on the Civil War. But this many generations removed from the 1860’s, we don’t really know what it was like. Slavery is something that we haven’t experienced.
Not for a few decades or for a hundred years in America, but for 400 years the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt. It was merciless slavery, too. They were beaten and whipped and driven beyond their limits to hand-make bricks, build homes and buildings, and do much more menial labor. And when the Israelite nation grew too large for the Egyptians, they worked them even harder and tried killing every Israelite baby boy that was born.
Four hundred years of oppression. Four hundred years of bondage. Four hundred years of slavery. God’s people cried out to the Lord for help and deliverance. God listened.
He sent Moses to lead the two million Israelites out of Egypt. They marched out of the land of slavery. God divided the Red Sea into two massive walls of water and Israel passed through on dry ground. As they crossed to the other side they turned to watch as God destroyed the horsemen, the riders, the chariots, and the army of their enemies the Egyptians. God had delivered his people. He saved them from slavery and was leading them to the Promised Land.
So Moses and the Israelites sang. They sang because in the midst of trial and trouble, in slavery and oppression, the Lord was their strength. Look at some of the great words about the Lord’s strength that Moses and the Israelites sang. Verse 1: “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.” Then verse 3: “The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.” Often in Scripture God’s right hand is described as being the force of his strength.
Verse 7: “In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble. By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood firm like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea.” Moses pictures God’s wrath like a volcanic blast consuming his enemies. He describes God as being so mighty and strong that with the blast of his nostrils he could divide the Red Sea in two.
Verse 9: “The enemy boasted, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.’ But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters.” Pharaoh and his army thought they were so great and so strong, but one blow of God’s breath controlled the sea and sank them like lead.
Verse 11: “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? You stretched out your right hand and the earth and swallowed them.” No one is like the Lord, so majestic, holy, and awesome. No one could work wonders like God did. So they sang for joy because the Lord was their strength.
But they didn’t only sing in joy and praise because the Lord was their strength. They also sang because the Lord was their salvation. Verse 2: “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.
Verse 13: “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” God’s love did not fail his people. He led them out of slavery to their promised dwelling—not just the Promised Land of Canaan but also the promised land of heaven.
Verse 17: “You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance—the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established. The Lord will reign for ever and ever.” The Lord was going to take his people and plant them on his sacred mountain and sanctuary—not just Jerusalem, but also the heavenly Jerusalem.
God’s great power delivered Moses and the Israelites from their slavery, their troubles, and all their enemies. It was also God’s great love that saved his people and brought them to the Promised Land. So Moses and the Israelites sang for joy to the Lord.
Some one thousand three hundred years later, God’s people were in slavery once again. This time not for a few decades, not for 400 years—for thousands of years they had been in slavery. Thousands of years of oppression. Thousands of years of bondage. Thousands of years of slavery to sin. And for thousands of years God’s people cried out to the Lord for help and deliverance from their sins. God listened once again.
God sent someone else to deliver his people—someone like Moses but far greater. His name was Jesus. Jesus was a great prophet like Moses. Jesus was a great leader like Moses. But Jesus is also something that Moses was not—God. So as we join in the song of Moses and the Israelites this morning to praise God for his deliverance from slavery in Egypt, so we also join in that same song to praise God for his deliverance from slavery to sin.
First we will sing today because the Lord is our strength. That same power God used to hurl Pharaoh’s chariots and army into the sea, that same might God used to simply blow air from his nostrils or from his mouth to part the Red Sea, that same majesty God used to work awesome wonders—God also used that to overthrow our spiritual enemies.
Jesus faced every powerful temptation that we battle against every day. But he never once failed or fell. Jesus was surrounded by the same sins that we are every day, but mightily resisted them all. He had the incredible strength to live a perfect life.
Then Jesus flexed his mighty muscles in the strangest of ways—in suffering and death. Jesus had the strength to carry every sin that we have ever committed. Jesus had the power to shoulder all guilt of all mankind. Jesus had the majestic might to die once on a cross and have that one death bring forgiveness for all people.
Just as God blew a mighty blast from his mouth and parted the waters of the Red Sea, so Jesus blew a mighty blast from his mouth as he declared on the cross, “It is finished!” Just as God stretched out his right hand and crushed the Egyptians for the Israelites, Jesus stretched out both his hands and crushed Satan for us.
So we will sing today because the Lord is our strength and because the Lord is our salvation. The Lord used his great strength to deliver the people of Israel from slavery and from their enemies to lead them on to the Promised Land. He saved his people and gave them an inheritance that did not belong to them. In the same way the Lord has delivered us from slavery to sin and from our great enemies to lead us on toward the promised land of heaven. He saved us from our sin to give us an eternal inheritance that did not belong to sinners like us.
This unfailing love of God makes us join in awe and wonder to sing: “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? . . . The Lord will reign forever and ever.”
Some two thousand years later and more than three thousand years after Moses, here we are today. God’s people are still oppressed. The slavery to sin and the bondage of death have been broken. Christ’s victory at the cross and the empty tomb have destroyed Satan. But we are still oppressed.
The world we live in—the country we live in—is getting more and more sinful every day. You can hardly watch TV, listen to the radio, or read a book or magazine, or turn on a computer without being inundated with sinful images or thoughts. A Western Hemisphere where Christianity was dominant and the norm is now not even close to that. Without getting into any kind of politics, we can step back and note that things are not exactly getting easier for Christians. Hostility is growing toward Christians. Some have even suggested that more Christians have been killed for their faith in the last 100 years than the previous one thousand nine hundred years before that.
We are being persecuted. We are struggling. We are suffering. It seems like there is another devastating earthquake or tornado or hurricane in the world nearly every day. We don’t know when the next terrorist attack will be. The next world war could break out at any moment. We have a struggling economy. We have debt from here to Jupiter. More and more people get cancer every day. More and more awful stories hit the news every day. When will it ever end?
Once again, God’s people are oppressed. So once again God’s people cry out to God for help and deliverance. And once again, God listens. As God delivered Moses and the Israelites from Egypt, as God delivered sinners from sin and death, so God will deliver us from this present evil age.
I Will Sing in joy and praise to the Lord because the Lord is my strength. That right hand that worked wonders for Israel, and those outstretched hands that worked wonders on the cross—those same hands hold me in God’s loving embrace. That mighty breath that blew across the sea and divided the waters, that mighty breath uttered the words, “It is finished!” on the cross—that same mighty breath utters the words, “You are my child and I love you” still today. I Will Sing because the Lord is my strength to get through every trouble and trial every day.
Also, I Will Sing in joy and praise to the Lord because the Lord is my salvation. The God that showed his awesome glory at the Red Sea and his awesome glory at the cross and empty tomb will also show his awesome glory to us today. The same God with the same mighty power that took two million Israelites through the Red Sea to the Promised Land of Canaan will use that same mighty power to take us through this troubled life to our promised land of heaven. I Will Sing because the Lord is my salvation.
Can you possibly imagine being one of the Israelites at the time of Moses? What would it have been like to walk through the Red Sea on dry ground to safety and then turn to see your enemies crushed and defeated? Can you possibly imagine being one of the disciples at the time of Jesus? What would it have been like to run to that tomb and see it empty, knowing that sin and Satan had been crushed and defeated? I can hardly imagine what either was like. But I do know the reaction to both is the same—singing for joy because of the Lord’s strength and salvation.
What is behind God’s great strength and salvation? His unfailing love for his people. That unfailing love continues to us today. “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” God’s love and God’s strength will guide us to his holy dwelling, to our eternal home in heaven. Oh, “Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”
This morning as we see the empty cross and the empty tomb, we can only but join Moses and Israel to sing: “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him.”
Posted on March 31, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Easter, Egypt, Egyptians, Exodus, Exodus 15, Jesus, Joy, Moses, Pharaoh, Praise, Resurrection, Risen, Sin, Sing, Slavery, Song of Moses, Terrorists, Thanks, Victory. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.