Worship In The Psalms Exodus 15 And The Praise of God Part Two -- By: Ronald Barclay Allen
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Worship In The Psalms
Exodus 15 And The Praise of God
In the first part of my two part installment, I wrote around the edges, as it were, of Exodus 15. This is, as I argued, the first psalm in the Bible. I also referred to the psalms and the Philistines. In my naïve enthusiasm, I once expected all Bible readers to share my love for all the psalms of the Scriptures. I report, with sadness, that I have learned this is not actually the case. My hope in these two articles is to assist a few “Philistines” that they might come to experience some of the wonder of the biblical psalms. So, if you have a friend who suffers from “Psalmic-Philistinism,” perhaps you might pass this article along. God clearly desires singing, even from Philistines.
The magnificent poem of Exodus 15 was written by Moses as a celebration of the greatest dramatic event in the entire story line of Hebrew Scripture—namely, Yahweh’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt in the crossing of the Red Sea. The prose account of the story is presented in Exodus 14. The poetic response follows in Exodus 15. This is much like the story of Deborah’s victory over the armies of King Jabin of Hazor. The account is given in prose, in Judges 4, and then in a celebrative psalm of praise, in Judges 5.
The Thematic Verse
One great, even unexpected, issue in this psalm relates to its theme. The theme is quoted in two other passages in the Hebrew Bible. It is remarkable to observe that the three
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passages in which the verse is found correspond to the three most significant events in the whole biblical story: (1) Israel’s redemption from Egypt, (2) Christ’s atoning work on the cross, and (3) the coming of God’s blessed Kingdom on earth.
Exodus 15 is, as we have noted, the celebration of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. In verse 2 we have monumental words: “The LORD is my strength and song, / And He has become my salvation.”1 These words are quoted in two central passages: (1) Psalm 118:14, and (2) Isaiah 12:2. The significance of these two citations would be difficult to exaggerate.
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