When the children of Israel were delivered from bondage in Egypt and their enemies were destroyed, they responded with songs of praise. As we review Exodus 15, we'll consider the songs of Moses and Miriam and learn some important characteristics of true worship.
Beginning in the brickyards of Egypt and ending in the tabernacle filled with God's presence, the book of Exodus chronicles the deliverance of God's people from Egypt and records the end of their oppression under Pharaoh. It also provides an account of the beginning of a prophecy fulfilled: God promised Abraham descendants beyond number, and on the pages of Exodus we see Israel become a great nation.
In this verse-by-verse study, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth look at Moses, the ten plagues, the ten commandments, the desert wanderings, the construction of the tabernacle, and more. As we study, we'll see the grace of God, witness the glory of the Lord, and a catch a glimpse of Israel's coming Savior.
Visit expoundabq.org for more information on this series.
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Hebrew Terms: Yahweh: The LORD; רָפָא rapha: heal
Publications Referenced: "The Heart of Worship," by Matt Redmond
Figures Referenced: C. S. Lewis; Dr. D. James Kennedy; C. H. Spurgeon; Martin Luther; D. L. Moody; Rodney (Gypsy) Smith;
Cross References: Exodus 2:23; Exodus 14:12; Exodus 14:13-14; Numbers 13; Deuteronomy 6:15; Joshua 1:9; Joshua 9:9; 2 Chronicles 7:12; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Job 1:21; Psalm 76:2; Psalm 90:1; Psalm 150:3-5; Matthew 18:10-11; Matthew 22:37-38; John 4:20-24; John 16:33; Acts 7:22; Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:10-11; 1 Timothy 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 John 4:19
Good evening, how are you tonight? Oh you're -- you haven't heard it yet. It might not be very good. But we're in the book of Exodus tonight Chapter 15 if you turn in your Bibles. I trust you brought your Bibles after all this is a Bible Study. Very good, so bring your Bibles? Good thinking.
Good thinking. I want you to follow along verse by verse. So we're going to be studying a little bit tonight about music and a song, the very first song recorded in scripture. It's a song of redemption. And because I think its important chapter we're only going to cover Chapter 15 of Exodus tonight and zero on some very important thoughts.
Now Wednesday nights are a little bit different than our weekend. What I mean by that is whereas typically we ask people to turn their phones off for a Bible study. This one however we ask you turn your phones on, not to receive phone calls or not to have them ring or not text your friends or play Angry Birds or any thing that but to text the question in and if you have a question this is an interactive Bible study where you can text and there it is. There you can text your question to .org or if you have these numbers on your phone 368-674 and in the body of the text or keyword expound ABQ. And then you put a space after expound ABQ and then fire off your question, we'll get it. I can look at it and say "I don't know the answer to that." So then we'll move on to another one.
Let's pray shall we. Father we thank you for such an enthusiastic group of worshipers. And we have come to worship you and we demonstrate that by the songs we sing but also our willingness to sit for the next hour and give you our bodies as living sacrifices. And part of our worship is the willingness to listen to the voice of the spirit of God as he works through the word of God. And so we submit ourselves to the principles that we are going to discover in this chapter of your word, the Pentateuch, the Torah, the second book of Moses. And we pray lord that even as the New Testament quoted so often from this very section and the apostles referred to it, I pray that it would be become familiar territory to us. That we would become people seek in truth not just a few Psalms here and there and a few New Testament principles but the whole council of God. In Jesus name, Amen.
Okay so imagine a station wagon or a sedan with mom and dad and luggage on top of the roof or in the trunk, packed in the back sit with kids let's say under the age of 10 aimed down the road on a five hundred mile road trip then times that by about a thousand or ten thousand and you has a little indication of what it was like for Moses traveling for 40 years in the wilderness with two and a half to three million people. Many of whom loved to complain and we're going to get a little hint of that tonight.
So the wonder of the deliverance from bondage in Egypt, the wonder of that miracle will become eclipsed by the wearisomeness of the journey and you're going to hear them complain because of it. But, before they complain there is a worship song that occupies a good portion of this chapter. This is a party they're throwing in the desert. It's a celebration for the deliverance that God has wrought upon his people. It's an incredible, incredible story.
Now just up for recall. If you remember God was leading them and God was leading them through a pillar of fire by night and a cloud during the day. And God have them not go the direct route which is the way north along the sea coast, the way of the Philistines but he takes them south and away from the Promised Land, he'll turn them back to the right place. But he leads them into effectively a trap, a cul-de-sac where in front of them is water, on either side is wilderness and mountainous terrain, impassable. Behind them are the Egyptians who boxed them in close them in so they're in a trap. They're in a tight place. But God was leading them.
And so we learn that when we're in tight places, that we learn certain lessons, let me just give you a few of them by way of remainder. Number one, tight places will reveal your character and your relationship to God or lock there off. Tight places are very revealing about yourself. If you remember last time in Chapter 14, when they're brought into this very tight spot, the children of Israel start their complaining. And they said something along the lines of "Why didn't he just leave us in Egypt. Remember we told you leave us alone. For it would have been better if we were under the servitude of the Egyptians than to die out here on the desert."
So the tight spot revealed their lack of faith. Immediately Moses started speaking and he said, "Stand still and see this salvation of God. The Lord will fight for you but you just stand still." So the tight spot reveals that the faith of Moses as well as the faithlessness of the children of Israel, so tight places do that. They reveal the character of our hearts and our relationship to God or lack there up.
Number two, tight places remind us that God doesn't punch our time clock. God is on his own schedule, he doesn't work for us. We're his servants, he is not our servant. So whenever we're brought into a tight spot and we think "God, why don't you do something. This would be a perfect time for you to do this, this, this or that." And God says "Whatever." And does what he wants to do.
Now he does open up the Red Sea. He does close up the Red Sea and fix the enemy problem, the Egyptian problem but he does it on his own timetable, according to his own perfect timing element and we have to remember that.
Number three, tight places will foster dependence upon God. When you're in a difficult situation sometimes there's no way to look but up. So they can't look ahead of them because there is water. They can't look behind them because there is Egyptians. They can't look to the right or left because of the wilderness situation. So they have to look up and effectively that's what Moses does in Chapter 14. Hardships will get your attention like nothing else. And I know that you could tell me stories in your own life, yeah I remember I was just sort of cruising along, going to church every week. And then I went to this heavy trial and boy did God use that in my life to revolutionize me. That's typically the testimony. C.S. Lewis put it this way, God whispers to us in our pleasures. He shouts to us in our pain, pain said C.S. Lewis is God's megaphone to rouse the death world.
So all of those things happen in times of trail or hardship. Well after they're delivered, Chapter 14 toward the end of the chapter and they see their enemy lying dead on the seashore, and they are safely across the Res Sea then they write the hit song. They go to the recording studio in the desert so to speak and at least it's recorded for us to read it. It's the first song mentioned in the Bible and it's a song of redemption. Now typically when people are experiencing deep emotion or even deep distress or excitement they often find it best to express it if they have the gift like Dominic. Artistically, poetry or writing a song.
On this week I went to our expound ABQ Facebook, our website on Facebook and I noticed that one of the challenges that we put out to you who subscribed to that is to write your own song of worship or a few verses. And as I was cruising through that to read some of the things you wrote. They were beautiful expressions of how God had worked in your life. And one person said "Look I'm not good at this but I want to thank God for this, that and the other thing." But some of you actually dare to write a little song poetry or worship.
So here is the song that Moses sings, apparently he writes it and the rest of the people of Israel learned it and they sing it together. Then his sister Miriam is going to do a little dance with some of the other women in Israel toward the end of this chapter.
Now there is a text of scripture that I referred to several weeks back, actually found in Acts Chapter 7, when Steven gives his testimony before the Jewish elders, the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. And this is what he said about Moses he said "Moses" -- this Acts Chapter 7. "Moses was learned in all of the wisdom of the Egyptians and he was mighty in words and in deeds."
I've always wondered at that text because as I read the story, Moses was afraid of using his words, remember he said "God what are you choosing me. I'm a man of uncircumcised lips, I don't like to talk get Aaron to talk. I don't want to do this job." So when I read of Moses' experience before Pharaoh and him not wanting to speak and yet Steven says he was mighty in word and in deed, I go "So where do those happen?" And I can concluded it happens right here. He probably may not have been good at extemporaneously speaking in front of a crowd or in front of a king but he could sure write poetry. And if you want further evidence of that, look at Psalm 90 it was penned by Moses it says Psalm 90, the words of Moses, the man of God he writes that. And its beautiful poetry and so here too, Moses writes a beautiful song that he features to the children of Israel.
Now can I just give you a little word about poetry, Hebrew poetry? Hebrew poetry didn't rhyme words but it rhymed thoughts. It's called parallelism. You know we go, "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water" you know we have that kind of cadence in that kind of silly little rhyming at the end of our poetry. In Hebrew they would rhyme thoughts or contrast thoughts. And so this Hebrew parallelism comes in a few different forms. Follow me here, there's something called synthetic of synonymous parallelism that's where you stated thought. And then you state another thought that sounds almost like the first one but just a little different. It's rhyming the thought. For example, if I were to say Lenya is an amazing woman, which is true by the way. And then I were to say the greatest among women is Lenya, we sort of already said that in the first part, I did but I stated it just a little bit differently and I amplified it. That's how Hebrew poetry is written.
So when you read Psalms or you read poetic sections and you read even this, you find some of that parallelism. Verse 1, then Moses and the children of Israel saying this song to the Lord and by the way as we're going through this tonight we're going to see some characteristics of true worships. This is first worship song written on redemption, we'll notice some of those principles. Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord and spoke saying I will sing to the Lord for he has triumph gloriously. The horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea. Springs up the very first principle I want you to see about worship, number one, worship is a response, worship is a response. Notice what the first word is. It's the word, are you reading it first word of the sentence is. Note it says then, verse one says then we're reading the same verse right? The first word of the sentence in Chapter 15, verse 1 is? Good. Way the go class. Then, that's the first word, then they sang. When is then, after God delivered them, after God opened up the Red Sea and after the Red Sea swallowed up the enemies of Israel then they sang this song.
Now remember whole they were in Egypt they had no song. They only had sighing, they had groaning, they had crying, they cried out to the Lord. They weren't singing any song of worship. Back in Chapter 2 we read, they side by reason of the bondage and they cried and God heard their groaning. Sighing, crying, and groaning. Now God delivers them then they sang, it was their response after God delivered them.
So God turns signing into singing. And why? Well specifically if I can add because of the blood of the lamb and the power of God. Because of the blood of the lamb that was put on the doorpost and lintels and by the power of God in those plagues of Egypt, now they're singing, not signing, they're singing.
Now worship is a response. I've given this to you before but it bears repeating at this time. I want to define for you worship from a Biblical perspective.
Here is the biblical definition of worship and I'm going to give it to you in four parts. Number one, worship is a response to God. 1 John Chapter 4 Verse 9, "We love him because he first loved us." Worship is God works or acts then we respond. So that's number one, it's a response. Number two, worship is the proper response to God. Romans Chapter 12, "I deceit you brothers by the mercies of God that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable" which is your reasonable service. It just makes sense based upon who God is and what he is done that you respond by worship. So worship is a response to God, worship is the right or proper response to God. Here is the third component of it, worship is the proper response to God that comes from the heart, has to be heartfelt. Jesus said the father is looking for those who will worship him in Spirit and in truth. It has to be real, who have to mean it. You can't just go, -- sing a little few words on the screen, you got to mean it from the heart.
So worship is a response it's the proper response, it's the proper response from the heart and here is the fourth component of this first part. Worship, true worship is the proper response to God from the heart whereby we place God above everything and everyone else. And that is the full definition biblically of worship. Worship is the proper response to God from the heart whereby we place God above everyone and everything else. Jesus himself said "The first and greatest commandment is this, that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all of your mind, all of your soul, all of your strength. That's true worship.
That means God comes first before hobbies, before recreation, before television, before sports, before your children, God is number one. Jesus even said this "If you love father or mother more than me, you're not worthy of me. If you love son or daughter more than me, you're not worthy of me." So number one, worship is a response to God.
Now we have a text that came in with a question I'll show it to you and see if you can try this out. Can you actually sing Moses in Miriam's songs? Are you asking if I can personally do it? Well not knowing they didn't given us like well this is a three four B and it's in the key of C or G or A minor. They didn't do that. So I guess you could if you would like. Yes you could. You would have to sort of come up with your own melody and sort of transpose from the parallelism of the Hebrew but yeah it could be done, technically. But will I do it? No, if you're asking will I stand here and sing you this song? Of course not. Verse 2, the Lord is my strength and song. He has become my salvation. He is my God and I will praise him. My fathers God and I will exalt him.
Now this brings up the second characteristic of worship in this first worship song. Worship is focused. Worship is about him. In these eighteen or nineteen verses that comprise this song of Moses in the fifteenth chapter, twelve times the word Lord is used because it's all about the Lord. It's all about him. It's interesting that in the deliverance across the Red Sea, the instrument that God used was Moses. Moses was the representative of the Lord. God said "Moses stretch out your hands, stretch out your rod over the sea." So Moses participated in this but Moses is not mentioned once in this song. Now that makes sense because worship, true worship is focused, it's theocentric, it's God-centered not anthropocentric, not man centered. Moses is the instrument but you don't praise the instrument. You praise the lord for the instrument. He could have used the instrument but the source is the Lord. This is what it would be like. If a doctor preformed an operation you and it was successful he may have used the scalpel. He might have used forceps, retractor, a number of different instruments and people around him. After the operation when the doctor came in to check on you, you wouldn't say "Hey doctor, would you show me the scalpel?"
"Yeah, why?" "Well show me the scalpel you used for the operation and the retractor and all those instruments, bring them in." Now imagine how foolish you would look if you were to look at the scalpel and the other instruments and go "You are so wonderful. I praise and exalt you scalpel." It's like the doctor go "Hello. I did the operation. They were instruments in my hands merely." You get the point? To praise Moses would be superfluous. He was just the tool, yes he was used by God but he was only the instrument. So he is not mentioned, it's all focused upon God. And notice it says here "He the Lord has become my salvation."
I told you before in Exodus. You'll see it throughout the Bible. This miracle becomes the mega miracle, the mega sign for the Jewish people throughout their history. Even Moses' father-in-law when we get to it in a few chapters, is going to see Moses and give glory to the lord. Saying the Lord, Yahweh, your God has delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and form the hand of Pharaoh. Later on in the book of Joshua, the Gibeonites who pretend to travel from a far distance will come up and say "We have heard of the fame of him and how he has delivered you."
So this song is well written. It's focused on the Lord and then we should be reminded of that. When the time of what we call public worship and song before our bible study, before church, we don't do it so that latecomers could find a parking space and mosey their way in just for the bible study. It's a time that we set aside that for God; it's for the Lord our focus is on him. We're telling him he is awesome. We're telling him we love him and why? That's why I loved that song we used to sing, I'm coming back to the heart of worship because it's all about you Jesus, it's all about you. The late Dr. D. James Kennedy said these words about worship. Most people think of the church as a drama with the minister as the chief actor and God is the prompter and the laity is the critic. What is actually the case is the congregation is the chief actor. The minister is the prompter and God is the critic. So it's all for the Lord and Moses was right in focusing it on God, Verse 3, he says "The Lord is man of war. The Lord is name Yahweh is his name by the name I am that I am which constitutes that tetragrammaton we told you about, our Yahweh. The Lord is his name." Pharaoh's chariots and his army he has cast into the sea his chosen captains are also drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them. They sank to the bottom like a stone.
Now this is poetic language and you'll notice for you that are wordsmiths or have an English background that they employ simile and simile means that something is alike or similar to something else. So example in Verse 5 they sank to the bottom like a stone. Later on verse 8 they will say the water stood up like a heat. And in verse 10, the enemy or the Egyptians, they sunk like lead. So all of that is part of the poetic language that's employed. Verse 6, your right hand oh Lord has become glorious in power, your right hand oh Lord has dashed the enemy in pieces.
Now why does the Bible speak of God's right hand? It's pretty simple, the right hand typically, typically is the arm of strength only because most people are right handed. No sleight to you if you're left handed and so your left hand is at the strength generally speaking in the world, most people are right handed. So to speak of the right hand of the Lord is to speak of the dominant hand or the strong hand. That's the idea of the power or the might of the Lord. Your right hand has become glorious in power, your right hand oh Lord has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of your excellence you have overthrown those you rose against you. You sent forth your wrath, it consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of your nostrils, the waters were gathered together, the flood stood upright like a heat, the depths congealed in the heart of the sea.
There is more poetic language I draw your attention to. Right hand is one. Blast off your nostrils is another, does that mean God is a nose and goes -- because that's what employed here. No, these -- we told you what these are before they are called anthropomorphisms or the description of God in the form of a manlike attribute. It's simply so we can understand what God is like. God is transcendent, God is other than humanity. So the only way humans can get a good idea of what God is like is to use human terms. The eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the entire earth. The hand of the Lord or the right hand, the bible speaks about underneath the Lords wings are protection it doesn't mean God is the chicken and flaps his wings this are simply human terms to describe attributes of God.
So, probably what Moses is referring to is that strong east wind it mentioned in Chapter 14 that came and made the Red Sea stand up like walls of water in either side. But here is described as the blast of God's nostrils. Verse 9, and the enemy said I will peruse, I will overtake, and I will divide the spoil. My desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. You blew with your wind the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like you oh Lord among the Gods? Who is like you glorious and holiness, fearful and praises doing wonders. This brings up a third characteristic of worship in this first worship song of redemption and this is it, worship is exclusive. True worship is the worship of the true God. Notice the wording, who is like you oh Lord among the gods.
Do you remember some of the God's of Egypt that we talked about? Those are the ones that were targeted in those plagues in Egypt. It was Amun-Ra, the sun god. There was Heca or Hecit, the frog goddess. There was Wadjet that's god that was depicted as a serpent that was judge. There was Hapi the god of the Nile. There was Apis the bull, the god of strength of depicted as a bull, bull-like strength keep that in mind because the children of Israel will make a golden calf. In other words they're shaping something they were familiar in seeing while they were in Egypt, Apis the god -- the bull god or the calf.
Those are all the God's in the Pantheon of Egypt. What Moses was saying is all of those gods and goddesses put together can't even hold a candle to the true and living God. That's true worship, it's very exclusive. Who is like you oh God?
Here is the truth, here is the principle. God does not want any competition and you know why? Because there is no competition, all the other gods and goddess are false, they're fake, they're not real, they're concocted by men and women. So God is very exclusive and he makes no apologies when he says, listen to what he says, "The Lord your God is a jealous God." Some people read and go "I can't believe he says he is jealous." Really you can't? Have you ever loved somebody? If you love somebody there is going to be as godly, holy righteous jealousy. If a husband loves his wife he better be jealous "Oh my husband is such a jealous husband." Good. That means he is a good husband. He didn't want to share his wife with anybody. He's jealous over her and God says "I'm a jealous God." He wants no competition because there is no competition. And in the Bible we're called the Bride of Christ. So our singular devotion, our singular worship should be to the Lord. He wants no substitutes. He doesn't want you to worship anything or anyone else but him. You're not to worship angels.
In the book of Revelation, John fell down and started worshipping an angel. And the angel stops and said "Whoa, time out dude" I'm paraphrasing it. "Don't worship me. Worship the Lord." Don't worship angels, don't worship Mary, don't worship John Kelvin, don't worship a pastor, worship God, worship is exclusive. Verse 12, you stretch out your right hand the earth swallowed them, that's in a worship song.
You and your mercy have lead forth the people whom you have redeemed. You guided them in your strength to your holy habitation. Now notice this little phrase in verse 13, the people whom you have redeemed this brings up our fourth characteristics of worship. Here it is, worship is relational. If God is the redeemer then the people that he buys back, that's what the word redemption means, are the redeemed. If he is the Lord then those people are his servants. So in true worship there is a relationship. Lord, servant, redeemer, redeemed. And by this ownership is implied ruler ship is implied. Here is the deal. When you came to Christ when we call you gave your life to Jesus, picture giving the pink slip, the ownership slip of your life to him. You didn't say "I'm going to put a bumper sticker on my car that says God is my co-pilot." No he won't be anybody's co-pilot. He's taken over the wheel. You're giving him the car in fact, you're saying "Drive wherever you want to go, I'll watch. I'll be a part of it but you drive. You own me, you're in charge."
You probably heard of that famous childhood story of the little boy is baking with his mother one day. They were baking gingerbread men. And the little boy fashioned a cute little gingerbread man with eyes and nose and a little smile and put icing on it. And as soon has he did the little ginger bread man came alive. Looked up at the boy, jumped off of the kitchen table, ran out the door, ran down the street and the ginger bread man was lost. So the boy went looking around town and from window to window to window finally he looked in the window of a baker and he saw his gingerbread man that he had made. So he walked in and goes "Excuse me sir, the gingerbread man that's front in center in the window, that's mine. I made it, I made it just hours ago. It ran away from me but it's mine." Well the owner said "I'm sorry little boy, I don't know who you are. But if you want that gingerbread man it will cost you twenty-five cents." The little boy goes "No, no you don't understand. It's mine to being with. Just give it over." And so the little boy punched -- no he didn't do that. So the little boy -- reached in his pocket, cuffed up a quarter, took the gingerbread man and went home. And the little boy looked at that ginger bread man and said "You were mine because I made you. But now you're mine, really mine because I bought you." That's redemption. God says to Israel "You're mine because I made you but I have redeemed you with all of those plagues, all of those judgments and this Red Sea episode, now you're mine because I bought you.
And that's the relationship we have in worship with God. Paul reminds us for you are not your own, you are bought with a price. And that's the redemption price of the blood of Christ.
Go back to verse 13 really quickly and notice, you have guided them in your strength to your holy habitation. Now that's Moses signing this song you have guided them in your strength to your holy habitation. Perhaps, just perhaps because there is -- there is a reference to this twice in this first song of redemption. Perhaps what Moses is referring to prophetically is the fact that God is going to set up in Shiloh and later on in Jerusalem a place where he is going to dwell, his holy habitation.
Now I'm throwing that out to you because that's exactly what happens. In Psalm 76, the Psalmist writes that Zion was God's choice for this habitation. And I was reading in fact in second chronicle seven early this morning for my devotional time, when Solomon dedicated the temple the Lord spoke to him and said "Indeed I have chosen this place and this house, the temple for the place of my habitation which would be Mount Zion." I tell you one of the coolest things is to stand in Jerusalem. And I'm going to be there in May again for a conference. And to stand on Mount Zion and to realize all along God selected this is the place where he was going to dwell among his people. Verse 14, the Lord will hear -- the people will hear and be afraid. Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia remember they are right up the coast. They're the ones that will become the enemies of Israel later on the Davidic Kingdom. They're going to hear about it and be afraid.
We have a text question I want you just to see it and then I'm not going to answer it. No, I'm going to answer it but not right away. I'm going to answer it as we go. Here's the question, to give praise to God should a person lift up their hands. Should they? Some are saying yes, some are saying "Oh I'm not going to answer that."
Well we'll get to that in just a few minutes this is actually one of my points in a little bit but just keep that in mind. Verse 14 again, the people will hear and be afraid, sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia upon a northern coast. Then the chiefs of Edam that's now east of the Dead Sea, east of Canaan the land they're going to will be dismayed. The mighty man of Moab also east of Canaan trembling will take hold of them all the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away, stop right there. In this song Moses recognized that in the future, God is not only preparing the children of Israel for the place called Canaan but he's also preparing their enemies by making their enemies afraid because of what God has done in redemption.
Now do you remember it's in number 13 so unless you read the bible you wouldn't remember because we haven't gotten there yet but I assume you have or you know the story, in Verse 13 Moses sends out 12 spies? We've made reference to this last week or the week before. 10 of those spies come up with a bad report right in two spies Joshua and Caleb come up with a good report you know the story.
So Joshua and Caleb said "Let's just go in and take the land, God gave us the land let's go in by faith we're able to take it". But 10 of the spies said "We can't take the land, we're grasshoppers in our site and in their site, they looked at us as midgets those guys are giants". So that word that bad report causes a wave of disbelief and discouragement that swept to the entire camp of Israel. So they don't go take the land they wait another 38 years, 40 years altogether they're wondering in the wilderness because they didn't take the land. And they didn't take the land because the people said "We're grasshoppers in their site, we have to wait 40 years before we really get the truth."
And listen to the truth, 40 years later the children of Israel come in by the way of Jericho, you know the story they cross the river Jericho is the first city. They talked to a harlot who lives in Jericho by the name of Rahab the harlot and she says "Oh, didn't you know the fear of you has fallen upon us and all of the inhabitants of the land are faint-hearted because of you. The terror of you has fallen upon us and we're all afraid because we heard what God has done with you".
So, those 10 spies were not right were they? They said "We're grasshoppers in their sight". Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the land including the giants were going "The children of Israel were afraid of those guys, we're terrified of them" that was the real report. Years wasted in wandering because they didn't live by faith. Verse 16, the song continues, fear and dread will fall on them and it did they seem to forget the song as the story went on. By the greatness of your arm they will be as still as a stone until your people pass over oh Lord, until the people pass over whom you have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance and I believed that's a prophecy of Mount Zion.
In the place oh Lord which you have made for your own dwelling, the sanctuary oh Lord which your hands have established. The Lord shall reign forever and ever, for the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. So that's the song, that's the worship song. There's more principles of worship but the song is technically done. Now it says Miriam, the prophetess and by the way this is the first time the word is given to somebody and it's given to Miriam she's called the prophetess.
Is she the only one called the prophetess in the bible? No there's many more Deborah in Judges Chapter 5 will be called the prophetess. Another woman in the Old Testament named Hulda is called the prophetess. In the New Testament a woman by the name of Anna is in the temple, she's called the prophetess.
And then there's the four virgin daughters of Philip in the book Acts who also prophesies so they're prophetesses as well but this is the first time this designation is use and is use of Miriam noticed the sister of Aaron who's also the brother of Moses. So she's the sister of Moses took the timbrel in her hand and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them "Sing to the Lord for he is triumphed gloriously, the horse and its rider he has thrown into the sea. There's a fifth characteristic of worship in the song, worship is vocal, worship is vocal.
Verse 1 it says Moses says "I will sing to the Lord for he is triumphed gloriously and in Verse 21 Miriam says sing to the Lord. Sing to the Lord. You know the bible never tells God's people to sing perfectly to the Lord, aren't you glad for that? Nor does the bible say sing harmoniously to the Lord. It does says sing joyfully. In fact he didn't even say that it just says make a joyful noise. Anybody can do that because I can't sing good, get loud. Because there's a psychology if you're sitting next to somebody in the worship service and they start to singing at loud and sort of like a duck that's been shot.
Well what happens when you hear somebody sing and didn't carry a great tune but they're just making a joyful noise in to the Lord why that's good is you and others around you will want to sing louder to drown out the distant in noise. So what will happen is the volume of worship rises up because you're singing in a joyful or you're making a joyful noise unto to the Lord. So the question is not do you have a voice? Here's the real question. Do you have a song in your heart? Because if you're a Christian you should have a song in your heart and worship should be a happy experience. Whether you feel it or not I don't feel like sing it, so what, is the Lord's still worthy whether you feel like it or not? Is the Lord's still good whether you feel like it or not? Then tell him that scribe that to him.
Sing a joyful noise unto the Lord. I'm interested in the fact that bars have what they call happy hour, yet I don't think they're really happy. If you were to go inside they don't go "Hey, great!" I think they're probably pretty miserable at happy hour. But I believe that during our worship time Wednesday night or Saturday night or Sunday morning. pick any of the services that ought to be happy hour. And God's people should be happy because we worship a wonderful, glorious and happy God said Charles Burgen and that should be resident in our worship. So worship is vocal.
There's another characteristic this is number six now sp based on what we just read worship is physical, worship is physical, it includes the body. Somebody asked me a question about raising of hands. Well the bible says "I would that all men pray lifting up holding hands." That's one of the physical responses to god because when you lift up hands though you're not mandated to do. It's more a position of the heart that it is in the body. However, the lifting of the hands is a welcome sign as well as a sign of surrender. Like in the movies they hold the gun up to you and say stick up your hands because when your hands are up you can't be preoccupied with anything else, you can't be texting a friend "Hold on a minute you want to rob me just a minute I want to just, I'm sorry stick your hands up you're surrendering to me" and so what it is with the Lord we surrender to him, we welcome him its part of the -- one of the ways we worship with our hands.
Here they're dancing. Now that brings up a question that I have had asked well dancing can Christians dance? I have people asked me that. Here's my typical response "Well some can and some can't."
Enough said on that. Here's the great point, the reason worship is physical or including our physical bodies is because worship, like true love can't be passive. True love has to be demonstrated, it has to be active. I guarantee you if a husband asked his wife or girlfriend and marry him and become his wife and just said "Honey I love you, I'm never going to say that to you ever again just believe that now by faith" and he never said it again moreover he never demonstrated it in any acts of kindness or servitude, it would be a very miserable marriage and probably not last very long because true love is never passive, it must be active and it involves the body.
Whether its here dancing before the Lord because they're throwing a redemption part, they're so excited, they're just going around the camp or it's the rising of hands or its kneeling, Psalm 95, come let us worship and bow down or its even standing in worship that's one of the responses according to Psalm 135 of those servants of the Lord who stand by night in the house of the Lord. There's a number of physical responses. Here's a seventh characteristic of worship base on what we just read, worship is musical. Go back to our verses and notice that she went out, Miriam after her or they went out these other women after her with timbrels. What's a timbrel? It's a hand-drum, a hand-drum or a tambourine it's just something you beat and with keeping the beat when you dance to it.
Music has always been a part of worship from the Old Testament through the New Testament. I know there's controversy in some churches at musical instruments versus a cappella I'm not going to get in to that, I honestly think it's a lame argument and easily overthrown. I'm just going to say that worship music has always been a part of God's people since God's people existed on the earth from the book of Genesis onwards. And if you read the Old Testament and the moving of the arc or in certain battles or feast days or in the temple of Jerusalem where the choirs of David and the Levites and the musicians who are paid to lead the people on worship, there is Psalm 150 which says "Praise him with the sound of the trumpet, praise him with stringed instruments and flutes, praise him with loud cymbals, praise him with clashing cymbals". All of those are musical instruments.
One of my favorite quotes on music though I don't agree with everything he said was Martin Luther and he said this, "Next to theology I give to music the highest place in honor. Music is the art of the prophets and the only art that can claim the agitations of the soul. It is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents that God has given us". And then he said this "If any man despises music for him I have no liking."
"For music is a gift and grace of God not the invention of man." So music worship is musical that's the seventh characteristic. There's one more as we close the chapter but we have a question about worship that was texted in and we'll throw that up on the screen thank you for the question. How often should we worship? Well, the real answer is you should never stop. Your whole life should be in active worship and that's actually going to lead me to my final point worship shouldn't only be confined to a place or an event.
You remember the New Testament the book of John there was a woman at the well of Samaria, Jesus came and engaged a conversation with her as she started discovering this guy knows about my secret past, she started talking about worships she wanted to deflect off of herself and talk about the disagreements people have about God. And she said "You Jew say Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. We worship here in this temple on Mount Gerizim." Jesus said, "Woman the hour is coming and now is when true worshipers well neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship for the father is seeking those to worship him in spirit and then truth, spirit and in truth."
Worship can be an event, does include music as we gather together but the way I figure how you do publicly is determine by how you do privately. If you're not a private worshiper, if you never worship on your own before God, chances are you're going to come and say "Okay, whatever I don't get it I'll let them sing and I'll just sort of watch". If that's not part of you it's a fabric of your daily life. However, if the pump is already primed and you're doing that during the week it's, a part of your daily devotions, when you get together it's like unloosing the dam, the faucet is just turned on and it's just a continuation of what is always been going on in your heart. I know the bible says pray without seizing and I think part of that is worship. It's an ongoing progressive thing.
Verse 22, we want to finish up the chapter. So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea then they went out into the wilderness of Shur, sure they did, and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.
Okay, the wilderness of Shur if you can picture or if you have a map in the back of your bible you have the Sinai Peninsula which looks like an arrowhead or a V, a wedge. It's the northwestern part of the Sinai Peninsula as you leave the land of Egypt, Goshen and you go eastward, that big empty space is called the wilderness of Shur. There's no water there.
Now in Egypt they had water, the Nile River. Once you get out of the Nile River Delta and you get in to the wilderness of Shur the annual rainfall in that desert is maybe one inch per year, one inch per year. So two and a half, three million people out in the wilderness, no water, away from the Nile River, it's a setup for disaster, right? So it says there is no water. Verse 23, now when they came to Marah, what Marah means bitter and you'll see why, they couldn't drink the waters of Marah for they were bitter. Therefore the name was called Marah, bitter. Thank you for that Moses. By the way that place is given the name today present day that area of Marah is called "Ain Hawarah" and the waters are still salty or brackish.
Verse 24 and the people complained against Moses saying "What shall we drink?" Stop, did God lead them here? Yes he did. God led them here and they complained. God sent 10 judgments against Egypt for Israel to deliver them and they complained. God opened up the Red Sea and killed their enemies and they complained. God led them here to a place where there's no water and they complained. Now I have a question for you, do you believe that God can lead you into difficult places that it's by the hand of God that you're in that difficult place? Do you believe that? Okay, think about what you're saying yes to because it is true. Jesus made you a promise so you may not have this one underlined yellow in your bible. Jesus said in this world you will have tribulation.
You know what a shock that is to some new believers? Unfortunately, believers are sort of primed after they come to Christ and "Oh it's going to be really good now" and it's true, it's going to be wonderful but God's going to lead you into some very interesting places. God might lead you to a place of Marah, a place of bitterness. So what happens to new believers and I see it as a shock is typically what happens is, I call it a bubble. We come into this bubble of bliss after we came to Christ life it's good it makes sense, I get it, I'm so happy now, life is wonderful, I'm going to tell everybody about it. And that's that wonderful by God's grace, honeymoon face of your relationship with him, that bubble of bliss.
But again by God's grace he wants to come along and pop the bubble because if he doesn't pop the bubble what's going to happen besides you're being crazy your whole life.
And give people the wrong impression, because you're going to learn to live by side rather by than faith. He wants you to learn by to live by faith so that when you come to a bitter place where there's no water and God leads you there, you can say "Huh, God led me here, I don't know why I'm pretty thirsty but I trust him, I trust him in the bad times as well as in the good times". Remember Job, lost his self, lost his kids, remember Job's wife?
Here's your godly counsel "Curse God and die." Thank you very much. What did he do? He fell down, tore his robe and worshipped and he said "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" because he realized, I don't get it but God led me here. God led me to Marah, to this bitter place and God will lead you in your life maybe you've already been to a Marah or several of them. Your Marah might be a little grave in the local cemetery, your Marah may be a disease that you're in the middle or you just dealt with, a place of bitterness that God led you to.
Now this very occasion is what Paul the Apostle uses as an example in first Corinthians Chapter 10, here's a portion of it, but with most of them God was not well pleased but don't you murmur as some of them also murmured and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all of these things happen to them as examples and they were written about for our admonition on whom the ends of the age had come.
Let's go to verse 25, so he cried out to the Lord, good memo, and the Lord showed them a tree and he cast it into the waters the waters were made sweet, there he made a statute, not a statue, a statute or a decree and an ordinance for them and there he tested them. And he said, "If you diligently hear the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight they give ear to his commandments and keep all of the statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought upon the Egyptians for I am Lord who healed you. I am Yahweh-Rapha" it says in Hebrew, The Lord Who Heals You.
Unfortunately, some have read this verse and read into this verse misinformation, saying if you're one of God's children and you're trusting the Lord like -- and this what they say they were being promised, a disease for life. So that if you obey the Lord, you're a child of God you never have to be sick with any disease and I've heard this verse quoted time and time again. What is the Lord referring to? It's simple, he's referring to the diseases of the 10 plagues that fell upon Egypt in judgment. And some of those diseases or some of those judgments brought physical maladies to their bodies like the boils and many other things that they faced. That's what he's referring to, the plagues.
But I have seen the tragedy of what is called the health and wealth teaching that if you believe in God and you trust in Jesus, other people in the world gets sick but none of these diseases will fall upon you if by faith you claim it and you name it. And I've seen the tragic fallout of that horrible unbiblical teaching. I had a couple who came to our church, broken hearted, broken hearted for two reasons, number one their baby girl died recently and they were so beat up not only because of that but because they belong to one of these churches who said, "Let me tell you something, your child maybe sick but if you really believe, your child will not get any sicker and will comeback you will have her for the rest of your life, no disease will come upon her." When that baby died the church ostracized her saying, "Well she died because you didn't have enough faith".
So now they're broken hearted because they've been ostracized by their church for not having enough faith as well as the death of their daughter, how tragic. I remember a brother years ago who came up after service, he had a broken ankle. He was in a cast. He came up on crutches and I've noticed somebody said. "Hey I'd love to pray for you and I'll pray that --" he goes, "Oh let me just tell you, I'm healed" excuse me? "I've been healed by faith I'm healed" I go "You have a broken ankle?" "No I won't confess that, I'm healed" I said, "Well then do me a favor, don't tell anybody that God healed you because they're going to think he does pretty crummy work if that's the result." If God heals you you're going to be hobbling around in crutches with cast you'll be running, leaping and praising God like the man the book of Acts.
So when he says none of these diseases, it's simple what he's speaking about in context and that is what is going on. Then they came to Elim, seven miles south of Marah. If you can find Marah you can find Elim, where there were 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees, an oasis in the desert and so they camped there by the waters. I love that. The trials were there, God led them but here we see, God knew where he was leading them. He led them eventually to a place of refreshment, an oasis and if you're in a trial tonight, there's an Elim after your Marah. There's a place of refreshment, there's an oasis coming, you're not going to be at this Marah, this place of bitterness forever. He knows where he's taking you and he'll bring you to this place of refreshment. Now I want to close with number eight and the final characteristics of true worship and that is this worship is practical. We worship with our lives, that is obedience and trust, not complaining obedience and trust.
It's one thing to rise your hands, it's one thing they get all excited, it's one thing to sing your voice. It's quite another thing to leave that place of excitement and live consistently the word of God. Dwight Lyman Moody used to say every bible should be bound in shoe leather. That is, we need to live the life of God that we're thankful for and worshiping God for. That's part of our worship. You might look might look at this at this way. One of the evidences of true worship is a changed life, not a complaining heart, a changed life, a grateful heart and a life in consistency with the word of God.
So when lives had been radically changed, when thieves stops stealing, with adulterers stop the affair, etcetera, etcetera, that's the evidence that a person has been in contact with a living God. George Smith used to say there are five gospels not four. Mathew, Mark, Luke, John and the Christian most people will never read the first four. They'll just read your life. And if your life reflects the four gospels and the word of God, they'll be compelled because of the God you serve.
So, God has redeemed his people and because he made them and because he bought them, they're his and they're grateful and then complain then they're grateful again, then they complain, does that sound familiar? Yes, it's our lives. As we close to night I want to ask you this very important question, have you been redeemed? Have you personally come to a place in your life or it's not just religion, it's not just church you've actually surrendered your life to Christ, you've asked him to take over your life, you placed him at the center of your life? If not I want to give you that opportunity as we close tonight.
Let's pray. Father as we close the service, we still open our hearts to you. We thank you for the things we've learned many of this practical essence we've already known they've just been reinforced by reading this chapter. Especially on the nature of coming in contact with the true and the living God, it just makes sense that if we make a contact with the true and the living God our worship will be true and living, it will reflect the God that we know and that we serve and that we worship. Lord in closing tonight I think of those who may have come who are still very, very thirsty. They find themselves in a wilderness, there's no water. They've tried the wells of this world but they've come up empty. And we recall the words of Jesus who said "If any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water".
And so we pray for those who may be here tonight who have never personally surrendered to Jesus. They'd come to church, they've looked around, they've looked at other people but they're not personally giving you the keys, the pink slip of their life. I pray that Lord that you would so invade their space tonight as to bring them to that point of release and surrender. I also pray Lord for those who may have made that commitment many years ago maybe was a youth camp, maybe was a church service, maybe it was an evangelistic crusade. They're not walking with you tonight, they backslidden or they've walked away from you but you've brought them here tonight to hear this message and you want to bring them back to your son in forgiveness. As we close this service and we're going to close at this song before we do, I'd like to pray for those who want to make the decision to either come back to the Lord or come to the Lord for the first time but I need to know who I'm praying for.
So with our heads bowed I want you to raise your hand up if tonight you want to surrender your life to Christ. Just raise your hand up so I can see it. You're saying pray for me. God bless you ma'am and you and you right there on my right toward the middle, anyone else? Slip your hand up. If you're in the auditorium or if you're in the balcony or you're in the family room, slip your hand up so I can see it maybe move it around a little bit because it's a big room. God bless you and you. The Lord is speaking to you then move that hand up. Tonight is the night, pray for me.
Anyone else? This is your appointment with God in the family. Young man I see your hand. God bless you right up in the front, the front row right on. Father we thank you for those around this auditorium with those hands raised. Attached to them or lives that you love that Jesus died for that you're doing a work and we pray for them young and old alike or young and older alike, male and female, individuals before you for whom you have a plan and we pray that your plan would begin tonight and you bring them into place Lord where they recognize your grace and they surrender completely to you, in Jesus name Amen. Would you all stand please?
As we sing this final song we started to sing a song then I think we stopped but as we sing our song, final song whatever it is as we sing it if you rise your hand I want you to leave where you're standing and find the nearest aisle whether you're in the family room or balcony or auditorium or front and come right up to the front and allow me to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ as your Lord and saver. Well the Lord has a plan for you and you're stepping into that plan tonight. I know you probably didn't think you'd come to church and do what you're doing now stand up in front of everybody but I bet it feels pretty good to know that you're releasing your life back to God either for the second time or the first time, I don't know what it is. But you're giving God the charge of your life.
And here's how it works I'm going to lead you in a prayer I'd like you to pray out loud after me from your heart to the Lord. You say this to the Lord and you mean it in your heart. This is you giving God the pink slip. Let's pray, Lord I give you my life, I know that I'm a sinner, please forgive me. I believe that Jesus died, that he shed his blood for my sin and then he rose again from the dead, I turn from my sin, I leave my past, I turn to you as my savior, I want to live for you as Lord, throw me with your holy spirit, help me to live for you in Jesus name Amen.
Good thinking tonight, good choice. You made a very important decision and you cooperated with the Lord who chose you and brought you to this place.