Saturday, January 29, 2011

Moses' Song

Moses' song, recorded in Exodus 15, is the first major song recorded in the Bible. Moses leads the people of Israel in singing this song after they are delivered from Egypt and the Egyptian army is drowned in the Red Sea.

It is a long song (18 verses in our Bibles) and is basically a song rejoicing in God's utter destruction of the evil Egyptians. It can be roughly outlined like this:

I. I will sing to YAWHEH for He has delivered me (1-3)
II. Vivid description of judgment on the Egyptians (4-12)
III. The Nations fear the LORD (13-18)

This song focuses most on points 2 and 4 from my earlier post ("mighty acts of salvation recorded," and "His acts of judgment are rejoiced in") which I believe are the weakest areas in our worship music today. What if people today wrote songs recounting how God has blessed the Church and punished/judged the forces of evil? It is obviously a little easier for Israel in this case since the were the people of God, as a nation, they were all in one location, and God worked very directly in history to save them from the Egyptians. In fact, this event is mentioned in many more songs thoughout the Bible, including Psalms 78, 81, 105, 106, 114, and 135. I have a hard time thinking of how we could write songs for worship today that reference specific salvation events in "modern" history (partly because the Church is so divided...), but I'm sure it is possible.

How many songs do we sing that have lines like these?
"The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. The floods covered them: they went down into the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O LORD, glories in power, your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble."

This song is about salvation for the people of God, but the other side of that is God's terrible judgment on His enemies. We just don't sing this kind of stuff unless we sing the songs of the Bible! The only way we will be able to write songs like the ones God has given us is if we raise up a generation saturated in these songs from the Bible. Maybe we can only sing slightly odd versions of these songs (I'm for the chant version), but I think that it is most important that we learn these words, these songs that God has given us, and use them as a pattern as we write worship songs for today.

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