Focusing on God’s ‘Doing’

"Moses Breaking the Tablets" by Rembrandt, 1659.

After Moses and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, and after Pharaoh’s men were swallowed up in its waters, Moses and the Israelites sang a song to God. Exodus 15:1-8 is that song. Right in the middle of this song, and again at its end, there is something that weighs on my heart today…

LORD, who is like You among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, revered with praises, performing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand, and the earth swallowed them. You will lead the people You have redeemed with Your faithful love; You will guide them to Your holy dwelling with Your strength . . . You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of Your possession; LORD, You have prepared the place for Your dwelling; LORD, Your hands have established the sanctuary. The LORD will reign forever and ever!” – Ex. 15:11-13, 17-18 (HCSB, emphasis added).

God had done the un-doable. He had performed the un-performable. Beat the unbeatable. Accomplished the un-accomplishable. At the moment of victory, the whole Israelite nation, only babes in their national independence, broke out in a song of praise to God. As the song ended, then they just couldn’t contain the victory and joy, so it breaks out again! Miriam leads the women in dancing and singing…

“Sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea.” – Ex. 15:21 (HCSB, emphasis added).

What is the theme of their song? The LORD has, and the LORD will.

God has done great things in my life. And sometimes I just can’t contain the victory and the excitement. Sometimes it comes out all jumbled, and sometimes I’m able to articulate fairly well what God has done for me and “my people.” Sometimes it’s a song, and sometimes it’s a little movement (not “dancing,” because I’m Baptist and we “don’t do that.”) Sometimes I fall on my face in prayer before Him, thankful, and sometimes I shout for joy, awkwardly.

The Israelites were doing this. It came out this time as an expression of insatiable joy and jubilance. Other times in their history, they would look on these same events and it would bring them to tears in humility. But it wasn’t just about what God had done. It was also about what He was going to do.

This is an important part of our life-song. It’s tempting, in the middle or toward the end of our lifesong to merely contemplate what God has done… and just to kindof camp out there. But God’s not finished yet. If you’re still breathing, there is more to come. Yes, God has delivered us countless times. Yes, God has done the un-doable and beat the unbeatable. But there are more Red Sea’s out there. There are Pharaohs and armies to come. God not only has. But He also will.

Notice the emphases added in the songs above quoted… God is mentioned either by name (“LORD” is how HCSB translates “Yahweh”) or by personal pronoun 11 times in vs. 11-13, 8 times in vs. 17-18, and 3 times in v. 21. The Israelites were singing this song. But it’s not about what they did. It was about what God did. Nor was their future about what they would come to do. But about what God would continue to do for them and through them.

It’s easy, with all of this horizontal, to focus on what we have done or will do. Especially when we get to the middle and later part of our lives. But we need to keep our focus on what God has done and will continue to do. It’s His story, not mine. His song, not mine. 

Grace and Peace,

Tony