Our reading for today is Exodus chapter 15.
“Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD…” This song is the first recorded in Scripture, an honor matching the events it celebrates. It completes a triangle that closes out the first dramatic Act of Exodus. There was a promise of salvation; then the event – events: plagues and Passover and Red Sea; now comes the memorial, cementing the promise and its fulfillment for all time.
The phrase “and the people of Israel” gets my attention here. It’s easy to imagine this composition as a community activity, with a refrain such as “Sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously!” bridging to the next line. And there is more than praise and thanksgiving here; there is anticipation: Philistia, Edom, and Canaan should be worried. “The LORD will reign forever and ever.”
And then the narrative returns, just as quickly as it had been broken. A parched wilderness greeted Israel. Tens of thousands of people with all their animals could not camp where there was no water; nor could they journey for long without it. Every step, it appears, would require the LORD’s hand.
That’s why I want to read Exodus 15 again!