Sermon 1867. Untitled Sermon
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, OCTOBER 25, 1885,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spoke, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for Hehas triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and He isbecome my salvation: He is my God, and I willprepare Him an habitation, my father's God, and I will exaltHim." Exodus 15:1,2.
THIS is the first song unto the Lord which is recorded in Holy Scripture. In Jacob's blessing of his children there are verseswhich may be regarded as songs, but they are mere fragments and can scarcely be said to be sung unto the Lord. There are othercouplets in the Book of Genesis, but this is the first connected song upon record. I should think that Abraham often sangunto the Lord, but we have no record of it. We can hardly doubt but that Isaac had his quiet Psalm, as Enoch had-and Noahand others who called upon the name of the Lord. But none of these hymns are left to us. This is the very first of those sacredsongs preserved in Scripture and, in some respects, it is first in merit as well as in time. At any rate, its august occasionlifts it into the highest place among patriotic hymns.
The Song of Moses appears to have been chanted by an exceedingly great multitude. Miriam, the Prophetess, took her timbreland led the strain-all the daughters of Israel going forth with her with their timbrels and dances-and the whole multitudeof the people taking up the strain. Never had the shores of the Red Sea, or any other sea, heard such a song! There were atleast 600,000 men, beside women and children. What an assembly! Millions made up that choir! Though their voices were littletuned to music, yet as they lifted them up, each one throwing his whole strength into the strain, it must have sounded likethe noise of many waters, especially when they repeated the refrain, "Sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously:the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea."
We saw just now, in our reading in the 15th Chapter of Revelation, that the Song of Moses, the servant of God and of the Lamb,will be sung toward the close of this dispensation when those who have gotten the victory over the beast and his image shallstand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. Before the seven last plagues shall be poured out upon the earth and Godshall overthrow the hosts of Antichrist once and for all, then shall this song be heard, sung, not by the Israelite nation,but by that higher Israel who have escaped by the Grace of God from the power of the spiritual Pharaoh and have washed theirrobes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb! How sweetly will they together take up the song, "Sing unto the Lord,for He has triumphed gloriously! Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty."
It is obvious, then, from the plentiful allusions to this song in Holy Scripture, that it is full of deep spiritual significance.It teaches us not only to praise God concerning the literal overthrow of Egypt, but to praise Him concerning the overthrowof all the powers of evil and the final deliverance of all the chosen. It is God's intent that from the day of Moses, downward,even to the hour when flames of fire shall lick up the works of men and the heavens, themselves, shall be dissolved with ferventheat, that this shall be the song of the chosen people everywhere, "Sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously."
The first verse of this song was quoted by David. I think you will find it in almost the same words three times in the Psalms,but especially in the 118th Psalm you have the exact words, "The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation."As if the Holy Spirit, when He furnished Isaiah with his noblest minstrelsy, could not excel the earlier strains of Moses.Isaiah himself, in Chapter 12, has the same words-"Jehovah is my strength and my song; He also is become my salvation." Itis evident that this patriotic song was interwoven with the life of Israel and that when good and gra-
cious men would express themselves in praise at their very best, they fell back upon this Song of Moses and they sang untothe Lord who had triumphed gloriously! So full of significance, then, as this song is, there is something for us to learnfrom it this morning. May God the Holy Spirit, who dictated this song to Moses, now write it afresh upon His people's hearts!Breathe on us, Holy Spirit, that we, also, may be filled with the praises of Jehovah!
First, I shall want you to notice the time for singing this song. The text begins, "Then sang Moses and the children of Israelthis song." Secondly, I shall want you to observe the tone of this song-it is worthy to be sung in Heaven itself-it is, indeed,high and lofty! And thirdly, we will consider the first clauses of the song itself-"The Lord is my strength and song, andHe is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt Him."
I. It will be instructive to notice THE TIME OF THE SINGING OF THIS SONG. To everything there is a season and a time for everypurpose under Heaven-there is a time of the singing of birds and there is a time for the singing of saints. "Then sang Moses."
It was, first of all, at the moment of realized salvation. "The Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians;and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore; and Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians:and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and His servant Moses. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel thissong unto the Lord." There was no singing in Egypt. Sighing, crying, groaning lamentation abounded there, till the Lord said,"I have surely heard the cry of My people." There was no singing that I know of even at the celebration of the paschal supperon that dreadful night when they ate the lamb in haste with their loins girded and their staves in their hands. Its firstobservance was upon a night almost too solemn for song. I do not read that they sang when they came to Succoth, or reachedtheir first encampment.
I doubt not that they sang snatches of songs when they found themselves free from their daily tasks and from the Egyptianrod. No doubt there were individual songs, but the masses did not unite in concerted music-they were too hurried and too muchin fear of pursuit. No poet, as yet, had arisen to write a lyric in which all would join. The hour of their complete deliverancehad not yet fully come. They marched on steadily, but they had hardly reached the time for timbrels. When they had crossedthe sea and the waters thereof rolled between them and the house of their bondage, "Then sang Moses and the children of Israelthis song unto the Lord." Their previous lives had been one long-drawn sigh, or one discord of anguish and fear and woe. Butwhen their slavery was altogether a thing of the past, then sang Moses. The depths have covered the Egyptian host-there isnot one of them left-"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord."
You will have noticed, perhaps, in reading the previous chapter, that Moses had said to the people (14:14), "The Lord shallfight for you and you shall hold your peace." But now that God had fought for them, they are not commanded to hold their peaceany longer! The battle is fought, the victory is won and, "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord."How could they help it? Surely, "if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."
What does that teach us, Brothers and Sisters, but that we cannot sing in the land of bondage while under the dominion ofsin and Satan? How shall we sing the Lord's song in that strange land? We do not even sing in the first moments of our spirituallife, when our question is how to escape destruction through the sprinkling of the blood! Nor do we, perhaps, sing in thosefirst hurried steps when we fly from the power of sin and Satan, endeavoring to escape out of bondage. But, oh, when we seethat Christ has saved us! When we understand that he that believes in Him has everlasting life-then we sing! When we learnthat, "He that believes is justified from all things from which he could not be justified by the Law of Moses," and hear theWord of the Lord declaring, "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them thatbelieve on His name," then we sing unto the Lord! Who could stop us? It would be unnatural for us to be silent after sin isput away! When we are reconciled to God by the death of His Son, the dumb devil is cast out of us. "Then sang Moses and thechildren of Israel this song unto the Lord."
Our early days, when we first saw how complete was the redemption of Christ, were days of constant praise, and I think, today,if we see afresh how perfect is the righteousness of Christ, how fully accepted is the great Atonement, how secure is ourstanding by virtue of our union with the Son of God, we shall return to our music and make this house resound with gratefulPsalms! When we doubt our salvation, we suspend our singing, but when we realize it-when we get
a grip of it, when we see clearly the great work that God has done for us-then we sing unto the Lord who has for us, also,triumphed gloriously! I say again, how can we help but sing? How can our joy of heart any longer be pent up? It must pouritself forth in floods of harmony, in tunes of realized salvation!
So is it, also, in times of distinct consecration. You may not see this at first, but I would remind you that the Apostleassures us that all Israel were "baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea." When Pharaoh and his hosts had been destroyed,Israel stood, for the first time, as a nation separated from Egypt. The Red Sea was a most effectual division. Israel becamea distinct people, a race redeemed from among men-they would never again feel the yoke of Mizraim- they would not return toEgypt, nor would Pharaoh, again, pursue them. They were now a distinct people consecrated unto Jehovah. To them God wouldreveal Himself and among them He would dwell. That passage through the Red Sea was the type of their death, their burial andtheir resurrection to a new life. It was their national baptism unto God and, therefore, they sang, as it were, a new song.
Do you wonder that they did so? It is the happiest thing that can ever happen to a mortal man, to be dedicated to God! Itis the grandest posture in which a creature can stand, to be fully consecrated to his Creator! It is the sweetest and happiestcondition in which a heart can be, when it feels that it is redeemed of the Lord and, therefore, is not its own, but boughtwith a price. No song among sweet pastorals can exceed in sweetness that heavenly Canticle, "I am my beloved's, and my belovedis mine." There is no greater joy than to know that the Lord has chosen us unto Himself to be His peculiar heritage! Consciousof redemption by blood and separation unto Jehovah, their God, "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song untothe Lord."
Oh you that hope that you are Christians but have never yet taken the distinct step to declare yourselves to be wholly theLord's! Oh you that have never come clean away from Egypt and made the waters to roll between you and a guilty world-you havedelayed a joy which, I trust, you may not longer miss, lest that dreadful text is fulfilled in you, "Whoever shall be ashamedof Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him, also, shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He comesin the Glory of His Father with the holy angels." "Then"-in the day of realized salvation. "Then"-in the day of distinct consecrationthey sang this song unto the Lord!
Brethren, it was also a day of the manifest display of God's power. Our hearts are heavy. At least mine is so, when God seemsto put His right hand into His bosom and not to vindicate His own cause. I am most sad because I see error prevalent everywhere!Falsehood reigns and Jannes and Jambres withstand Moses-and the Prince of this world disdainfully demands, "Who is Jehovah?"Many plagues are upon us-the earth swarms with errors as if the dust were turned into lice throughout all the land. Heresies,like frogs, are croaking everywhere! They have come up into the King's chambers. The Lord has sent a thick darkness over allthe land, even darkness that may be felt. The people loathe to drink of the waters of our sanctuaries, for a curse is uponthem in many a place. Our heart feels bowed down and we go mourning and say, "Why have You made us to drink the wine of astonishment?"
But when we hear of conversions! When we see God blessing the work of the Sunday school! When we hear of sinners turning toChrist and seeking mercy! When we notice the children of God diligent in service! When we see the work of the Lord workedwith vigor-then is our heart exceedingly glad, and then, like Moses and the children of Israel-we sing unto the Lord! Howcan we be silent when God's arm is made bare? A revival is our joyous holiday! If we had our choice of all the benedictionsthat God can give us on earth, it would be to see the Church revive, His truth prevail and His Kingdom come! It is not, withsome of us, a matter of indifference whether the Truth of God is preached or error is proclaimed! No, it is our life to seethe Gospel conquer! We live if you stand fast in the faith, but our spirit distinctly sickens in proportion as the Churchof God decays. When the Church is strong and God is with her, then is our heart revived and our song bursts forth, "The Lordis my strength and my song, and He is become my salvation."
But this song may be sung at all times throughout the life of faith.
I want to put it to the people of God here whether it is good to save up our songs for special occasions of great joy, orfor times when we have something visible to sing about. Should not the Believer sing by faith as well as live by faith? Doyou not think that the Song of Moses and the children of Israel at the Red Sea was, after all, a poor affair as far as faithis concerned? The bulk of the Israelites had very little faith, indeed, and loud as was the song, there was more noise thanfaith in it-for within a day or two they began to murmur against God! Sing in fine weather! Any bird can do that. PraisingGod when all goes well is commonplace work. Everybody marks the nightingale above all other birds because
she sings when the other minstrels of the woods are silent and asleep-and thus does faith praise God under the cloud. Songsin the day are from man, but God Himself gives songs in the night!
O come, let us sing unto the Lord under the clouds! Let us pour forth His praises in the fires! Let us praise Him under depressions-letus magnify Him when our heart is heavy. Faith believes in God when there is nothing to support her but the bare promise. Thatman was highly commended who did not despair of the Roman Republic-let us never despair of the Redeemer's Kingdom! That isthe true Christian who can say when everything grieves him, "Nevertheless, with joy will I draw water out of the wells ofsalvation; for I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live." "Therefore will we not fear, though the earth is removed, andthough the mountains are carried into the midst of the sea." I ask, today, from every heavy heart and every downcast spirit,from every man that contends earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, and trembles for the Ark of the Lord, thatin the midst of his trembling and grief, he should burst into song! Rob not God of His Glory, but let it be said, this day,"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spoke, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for Hehas triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea."
Thus we have spoken upon the time for singing. I think that time is NOW. Let your hearts begin to ring all their bells andlet not their sweet chimes cease forevermore!
II. Notice, secondly, THE TONE OF THIS SONG. "Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the
Note, first, that the tone is enthusiastic. There is not a dull line, there is not a dreary sentence all through! It is fullof force, life, power-it is Luther's Old Hundredth Psalm and more! It rises to a height of intense enthusiasm which cannotbe excelled. The words are, "I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously," and the singers endeavor to singgloriously, too!
The tone is also congregational, being intended for every Israelite to join in. Though Moses began by saying, "I will singunto the Lord," yet Miriam concluded with, "Sing you to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously." This is a hymn for everychild of God-for all that have come out of Egypt. Should not there be praise from every one of you? You in the back settlements,you that bear the mark of Egypt's lash and smart from wounds still unhealed. You that remember well the taskmaster and theiron furnace, yet sing you unto the Lord! From Egypt lately come, sing you unto the Lord! There should be sent up unto Godby His Church a perfectly unanimous harmony of praise! "Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness!" Let all the redeemedof the Lord say so! "O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation." Let thesong be enthusiastic and unanimous!
Yet please notice how very distinctly personal it is. It is strikingly so. "I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphedgloriously. The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation; He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation;my father's God, and I will exalt Him." Do not lose yourself in the throng. It is not egotism to resolve that if nobody elsewill sing, you will say with David, "I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live." The fact is that unanimity cannot becomefact if each mind is not active in praise. We cannot have a perfect accord unless each child of God feels that he must makehis own distinct music melodious in the ears of the Most High. I tell you, Brothers and Sisters, if you will not praise theLord this day, I will! Do you not say the same? Does not each Brother and Sister here say, "If no others feel bound to gratitude,yet I have such reason for thanksgiving that I will praise the Lord while I have any being"? In my case the Lord has "triumphedgloriously" and if others will not take Him to be their God, yet this God is my God forever and ever! He shall be my Guideeven unto death! I like the personality of this song and would urge you to follow it.
Some of you cannot sing unto God because you have no personal enjoyment of Grace from Him and do not know God for yourselves.Oh, if this is your case, do not let the sun go down until you know this God and so can offer your own peculiar song to Him!
Note, again, the tone of this song is exceedingly confident. There is not a shadow of doubt in it-it is all the way throughmost positive in its ascriptions of praise. The lips do not quiver, the mind does not waver. It begins, "I will sing untothe Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously." It declares a fact about which there can be no doubt-"The horse and his riderhas He thrown into the sea"-and it goes on to make statements which are not qualified with hopes, desires and "ifs," or, "buts,"but are bold assertions which cannot be challenged! "The Lord is my strength and my song, and He is
become my salvation." That is the kind of singing! I do not mind, occasionally, singing with Cowper when he is down in thedumps, for some of his dreary hymns admirably express the experience of the weaker members of the family. But I would notalways keep to the minor key. Oh no! Let us sing songs of joy and victory! Doubts and fears ill become the children of God.The full assurance of understanding is our privilege and our duty-why should we not have it? When we come before God, whyshould we bring Him such broken-legged worship? No, let us bring Him perfect praises, the firstlings of our bullocks, evenas David says, "Then shall they offer bullocks upon Your altar." God should be worshipped with the best we have! His mercyis so sure, so true, that He ought to have our fullest faith. Where is room for doubt? Let us sing with confidence unto theLord!
And this song is exceedingly comprehensive. It sings of what God has done and then of what God will do in bringing His peopleinto the Promised Land. Nor does it finish till it rises to that loftiest strain of all-"The Lord shall reign forever andever." I think I hear them repeating that verse again and again-"The Lord shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah." Singto the Lord, not only of the past, but of the present and the future! Sing of the Second Coming! Sing of the Glory to be revealed!Sing of high Heaven and the City that needs no candle, neither light of the sun! Sing of the victories of Christ when thearmies of Heaven shall ride forth on their white horses and He shall lead them whose name is written on His vesture and onHis thigh-King of kings, and Lord of lords. There is matter enough for eternal music if our hearts are right with God!
Note, too, all through, that this song is immeasurably joyous. The Israelites were slaves enjoying new liberty- children letout to play! How merrily did they disport themselves! They did not know how to be glad enough! Let us give to God our unlimitedjoy. David said, "God is my exceeding joy." I know of no greater word than that word, "exceeding," because, however far yougo, if your joy is, "exceeding," it is above the highest-and however brave the description, if your joy is, "exceeding," itsurpasses all language! Believers ought to be unutterably happy. Men redeemed with the precious blood of Christ ought alwaysto be almost too happy to live! Men that are children of God and heirs of the Covenant-and are soon to be where Jesus is inthe ineffable splendor of Jehovah's light-ought to feel their soul overflowing with delight! The pulse of the Believer shouldbeat hallelujahs, every heaving of the lungs should raise a Te Deum! Oh, if our minds could but rise into the heavenlies,where we ought to be, we should not only be happy as the days are long, but we should enjoy the days of Heaven upon the earth!
Yet I must say, however enthusiastic that song was and however full of joy it was, it was only such a song as was due untothe Lord. If those people on that day had sung to the Lord some dull, heavy tune, I think if I had been there I would havesaid, "Change that note! Awaken yourselves to ardor! Awake, awake, put on strength!" The new tunes of the present age areconstructed upon the principle of, "Let us sing and rattle through the words as hard as we can go." I like weightier musicmoving swiftly, but yet grandly. Such was the Song of Moses, full of solemnity, but full of heart-a tune into which everyonecould throw the full volume of his voice without fear of spoiling the delicacy of tone. But, Brothers and Sisters, the tribesof Israel did not even, then, praise the Lord half as He should be praised. If all the angels in Heaven had left their seatsand descended to the Red Sea shore-and if cherubim and seraphim had joined the lofty song-it had not been more than meet forthe occasion!
So today, if we could awaken all on earth and all in Heaven, as well as all that is within us, to bless and magnify the Lord,the song would not be equal to the majesty of the Divine goodness! It would be but a faint expression of what God deservesfrom each one of us. Therefore, let us sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously!-
"Sound the loud timbrel o'er Egypt's dark sea!
Jeho vah has triumphed, His people are free!
Sing-for the pride of the tyrant is broken,
His chariots, his horsemen, all splendid and brave,
How vain was their boasting. The Lord has but spoken,
And chariots and horsemen are sunk in the wave!" III. We are to dwell for a few minutes upon THE FIRST CLAUSES OF THIS SONG."The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father'sGod, and I will exalt Him."
Notice the song is all of God. There is not a word about Moses. Read this song through and neither Moses, nor Aaron, nor Miriamare in it-God is All in All-"I will sing unto Jehovah." That is blessed praise when self lies with
the Egyptians at the bottom of the sea-when everything that is in us that is commendable is traced to the Grace of God andthe Lord is magnified for it! All for the glorification of Jesus and none but Jesus! Brothers and Sisters, we spoil our musicby diverting our thoughts to man. Let us forget men, forget earth, forget time, forget self, forget this mortal life and onlythink of our God! The song shall be all for You, O Lord, for You are All in All and if we have one note that is determinedto go astray, we will this day bind it with cords, even with cords to the horns of Your Altar, O Jehovah!
Observe, the song dwells upon what God has done-"The horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea." There is nothing concerningthe deeds of Moses and Aaron, or the pride of Pharaoh, or the craft of Jannes and Jambres. No, the whole is consecrated tothe doings of the Lord. Let us trace all the mercies we get to our God, for He has worked all our works in us. He has chosenus, He has redeemed us, He has called us, He has quickened us, He has preserved us, He has sanctified us and He will perfectus in Christ Jesus! The Glory is all the Lord's. Let us sing of what the Lord has done. When you read human history, readit to see the finger of God in it-trace all along through human story the silver line of Covenant working-observe how theLord casts the horse and his rider into the sea when they come out against Him or His people.
The song also declares what the Lord will yet do. It is not about what evil men are doing, or what we are afraid will happenthrough their malice, but of what the Lord, alone, will do. He says, "You will surely bring them in." He pictures the wholeaffair finished and Israel settled in the Promised Land-and this is His song. Come, Brothers and Sisters, let us sing themusic of the future, the music of what God will do! Do you believe that the Lord will be defeated in the long run? Do youfear that at the end, Jehovah's everlasting purpose will fail-that Christ will have died in vain? Do you think the eternalTruths of God promulgated in this Bible will be driven out of the earth by modern thought? Or that our old Christianity, forwhich our fathers bled, will become extinct? By no means! We shall yet conquer in the great name of Jehovah! Therefore letus take heart of hope to ourselves and sing of what the Lord has done so often, for, again and again, "The horse and his riderhas He thrown into the sea."
Take up the first note-"The Lord is my strength." What a noble utterance! Poor Israel had no strength! She had cried out byreason of her sore bondage, making bricks without straw. Poor Israel was weakness itself! but Jehovah drew near in power.The Lord is my strength when I have no strength of my own! By the strength of the Lord, Israel came forth with a high handand an outstretched arm. Egypt was glad when they departed and the Egyptians gave them jewels of silver and jewels of goldthat they might wish them well in departing-for God had given them honor in the sight of the people. Thus the Lord is ourstrength when we are at the extremity of weakness.
The Lord was also Israel's strength against strength. Pharaoh was exceedingly mighty. The kings of the earth trembled at theneighing of his warhorses! The rattling of his chariots made the very heavens to resound! But God was more than a match forhim. When strength comes out against God's people, God meets it with His Omnipotence! What is Pharaoh's strength when matchedagainst Jehovah's might? A paper pellet thrown against a wall of brass! The enemy said, "I will pursue; I will overtake; Iwill divide the spoil" and so on-but Jehovah had only to blow with His wind and the sea covered them! Thus will the Lord beour strength when the mighty are against us.
It is well to say, "The Lord is my strength" when we are weak and the enemy is strong, but we must mind that we say the samewhen we are strong and our enemies are routed. Suppose Israel had stood on the shore and cried, "The Egyptian power is brokenby the sons of Jacob. Israel has cut Rahab and wounded the dragon." Suppose the nation had boasted itself-it would have beenguilty of a treasonable attempt upon God's Glory! Lo, Israel is strong enough to make the dukes of Edom tremble and the mightymen of Moab to be afraid-but she must not sing unto her own honor! "Give unto the Lord, O you mighty, give unto the Lord,Glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the Glory due unto His name." Let this, then, be our song when we are weak and oursong when we are strong-"The Lord is my strength."
Note, the word is not, "The Lord gives me strength," but, "The Lord is my strength"! How strong is a Believer? I say it withreverence, he is as strong as God-"The Lord is my strength." God, the infinite Jehovah, in the infinity of His Nature, isour strength.
The next is, "The Lord is my song," that is to say, the Lord is the giver of our songs. He breathes the music into the heartsof His people. He is the Creator of their joy! The Lord is also the Subject of their songs-they sing of Him and of all thatHe does on their behalf. The Lord is, moreover, the Object of their song-they sing unto the Lord. Their praise is meant forHim alone. They do not make melody for human ears, but unto the Lord. "The Lord is my song." Then I
ought always to sing! And if I sing my loudest, I can never reach the height of this great argument, nor come to the end ofit. This song never changes. If I live by faith, my song is always the same, for "the Lord is my song." Our song unto Godis God Himself! He alone can express our most intense joy. O God, You are my exceeding joy! Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Youare my hymn of everlasting delight!
"The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation." The Father, in His eternal purpose, is my salvation. TheSon, in His complete redemption, is my salvation. No, not in His redemption, only, but in His life, His death, His Resurrection,His intercession, His Second Coming He has become my salvation. And the Holy Spirit indwelling in me, quickening me, instructingme, illuminating me, perfecting me, keeping me-He is become my salvation! Triune God, it is not alone that You save me, butYou are my salvation. I look for nothing but what is in You and if You give Yourself to me, You have given me a perfect salvation-salvationfrom bondage, salvation from worldliness, salvation from death and Hell, salvation into light, liberty, love and joy-salvationthat shall culminate in eternal Glory! A full salvation is God to His people.
Next "He is my God." Perhaps this is the most joyous note of all. "He is become my salvation"-this is very sweet. "He is myGod"-this is the sweetest of all! "He is my God," I choose Him to be my God, but I choose Him of necessity. I can do no other.Who else can be my God? In the Revised Version it is, "This is my God," and a very proper translation, too-as if Israel sawwhat God did at the Red Sea and then exclaimed, "This is my God." This God of justice, this God of vengeance and power ismy God. Beloved, choose Jehovah to be your God-whom else can you choose? Let your hearts cling to Him!
But then comes the added word, "He is my Father's God," that is to say, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob-a God byCovenant, the God who has given Himself to us by His own purpose and promise and, therefore, is our God-not by any right ormerit on our behalf, but solely by the gift of His free, rich, Covenant Grace! Let us praise the Triune God of Free Grace,for He belongs to each one of us! There is nothing in God that is not mine; there is no high and lofty attribute that is notmine; there is no deep and dark decree that is not mine. You have neither Cross nor crown, O Jesus, which is not mine. Hehas given Himself over to us to be our God forever and ever. Come, let us exult in His name! Have you lost your goods? Youhave not lost your God! Have you nothing on earth? Yet you can say, "Whom have I in Heaven but You? And there is none uponearth that I desire but You." This is a holy portion, a happy portion, a heavenly portion, a sure portion, an endless portion,a portion which makes us feel rich to all the intents of bliss! This God is our God forever and ever. Let us praise and blessHis name!
Note, once more, that as Moses said, "He is my strength, my song, my salvation, my God," now He adds, "He is my praise." Thetext in the Old Version is, "I will prepare Him as an habitation." This jars a little on my ear-it rather sinks the majestyof the majesty for Israel to think so soon of Jehovah as One for whom she could prepare a habitation. Building a habitationwas rather the idea of David in his hour of decline, than of Israel in the day of her astonishment and victory. The RevisedVersion of the Old Testament, which is infinitely superior to the Revised Version of the New Testament, renders it-"This ismy God: I will praise Him." The fact is, there are two words so nearly alike that it is hard to tell which is correct-"habitation,"or "praise." Some of the oldest versions of all have it, "He is my praise." I never like meddling with the Old Version, however,so we will take them both and make sure that we do not miss the meaning.
Does not the Lord inhabit the praises of Israel? We will prepare Him a habitation of praise. As soon as Israel had got clearof the Red Sea, clear of Egypt, clear of Pharaoh by the power of Jehovah, then she said, "I will praise Him." O God, it shallbe the business of Your people from now on to praise You! We have no bricks to make, but we will praise You! we have no whipsto fear, but we will praise You freely! We are not slaves, now, but we are bound to You forever and we will praise You! Thenthe people seem to say, "We will praise the Lord by regular and abiding worship." Inasmuch as in order to worship, a placeis needed, the thought comes up, "We will prepare Him an habitation." We will habitually praise our God for this great deliverance.Let us build our God a house of praises! Let us lay the deep foundations in love, set up the pillars with gratitude and roofin the whole with joyous hallelujahs!
The thought of care comes before me in the Authorized Version-"I will prepare Him an habitation," as if Israel said, "I willtake pains to praise God. I will do it intelligently and with my best powers. He shall have the best I can give Him. My bestis poor compared with His deserts, but the preparation of my heart shall be His. I will lay myself out that everything shallbe done decently and in order for the praise of this most High God. I will prepare Him an habitation of
praise. Does it not look as if Israel said, "The Lord has come here to this Red Sea to fight my enemies and I pray that Hemay abide with me. I will prepare an habitation that He may remain. Lord, be not as a wayfaring man that tarries but for anight-let Your Presence be always with me and I will praise You always." To have abiding fellowship with God is the naturaldesire of every redeemed soul. O Brothers and Sisters, let us import our own desires into Israel's words. Let us
"Come, dearest Lord, descend and dwell By faith and love in every breast! Then shall we know, and taste, and feel The joysthat cannot be expressed." Never leave us, nor even hide Your face from us, O Lord, our God! Dwell in us that we may dwellin You! Reside in these bodies and make them your Temples. Abide with us! Manifest Yourself to us as You do not to the world!
The verse closes with, "He is my father's God, and I will exalt Him.''" How can we exalt Him who is already high above allthought? We cannot really make God any greater, but we can make Him greater in the estimation of our fellow men. Let it bethe business of our lives to magnify Him. Let us tell our friends that which will make the Lord appear more glorious in theirestimation. Let us lay ourselves out, by pen, tongue and life, to make our Lord Jesus Christ more honorable among those whosurround us. Say, "I must and will exalt Him. Perhaps I have groaned too much over my trials. Perhaps I have been too depressedand heavy in spirit. But from this day on I will exalt my Lord and sound forth His praises! If He will permit me, I will makethe Glory of the Lord the one objective of my being."
Come, you young men and maidens, you old men and fathers, let us praise the Lord on the high-sounding cymbals, and spend therest of our days in crying, "Sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously." Amen.