Exodus Chapter 15

The Israelites were led by God from Egypt where they had been in bondage for over 400 years. In the previous chapter, Moses had used his priesthood power to part the Red Sea. The children of Israel had crossed the dry land and when the Egyptians had tried to pursue them, they were destroyed by the Lord. The story of the Israelite journey to the promised land continues as follows:

1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.
4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
6 Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
8 And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
10 Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
11 Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
12 Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
13 Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
14 The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.
15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
17 Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.
18 The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.
19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.

The Israelites praised the Lord for their deliverance and protection from the Egyptians. The heading for this chapter refers to their praises as the song of Moses. Their song spoke of the enemy that had sought to take them and the Lord who was their deliverer. At this time, the Israelites recognized God as their strength and salvation. The footnote for the word strength references the priesthood, which is the power of God. The Lord allows men to use the priesthood and truly is the source of great power and strength for man. He is also the Savior of the world. He redeems all of us and makes our salvation possible. The children of Israel also recognized that God is powerful, great in excellence, holy, and merciful. They said the people of the world would hear and fear God. Others would learn what God had done for His people, and they would fear their coming. They sang also, of how they would retake the promised land, with the hand of God on their side.

I am drawn to the word exalt in these song of Moses. I have always felt the word exalted was dependent on the one being exalted, and I did not see the relationship it had to others. Now as I read these words, I realize that the Savior’s exaltation comes from his followers lifting Him up to a place that is higher then they. We exalt the Savior, by following Him and doing as He asks of us. We exalt him with our praises to Him. A king without any subjects cannot be exalted, because there is no one for him to rule over. We are the subjects of the King of Kings, and as such, we add to His perfect exaltation. Our own exaltation will depend on the power which He holds to lift us up to a higher state then we can reach on our own. We work together with the Savior, our spiritual elder brother, to both reach our deserved exaltation in the kingdom of God.

I also have pondered over the phrase “Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power”. We often talk about being on the right hand of God and the power of His right hand. I think I have not put much thought into the significance of the right hand before. I usually relate it to the phrase “Choose the Right” with the understanding that we want to do what is right versus what is wrong. Today, this has taken on a different meaning for myself. The ordinances of the priesthood, use the right hand. If we think about the ordinances of baptism, partaking of the sacrament, and all other ordinances of even greater significance, they are correctly done with the use of the right hand. In other words, we use the right hand to properly use the priesthood. The right hand is truly the power of God with exactness. The right hand of the Lord, is the priesthood power of God and it does become glorious when used properly to bring blessings. Moreover, we want to be on the right hand of God, because that is where the promises of eternal life and exaltation are made sure through His eternal and holy priesthood.

I love music and especially love to sing good songs. There is something spiritual about the sounds of music that seems to reach into the hearts of people with greater power than much of what is said. I love that there is so much that refers to singing in the scriptures. The Israelites sang praise to the Lord I think, because it can bring such joy and happy feelings. I wonder what my song of praise would be to the Lord. In 2 Nephi chapter 22 we read the following:

1 And in that day thou shalt say: O Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry with me thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedest me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation.
3 Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
4 And in that day shall ye say: Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.
5 Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.
6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. (see also Isaiah 12)

This is the song of praise that will be heard at the time of the millennium, when the Lord will come to rule and reign on this earth. I want to be among the saints who sing in that day, to praise my Lord and Savior, so that I may show my love and devotion to Him in song.

20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.

The women are mentioned here, as they rejoiced with dancing. Men are not the only ones to lead in righteousness in the scriptures. Miriam is called a prophetess, which seems to mean that she was also inspired of God and I imagine that she acted as maybe a Relief Society president (a leader of our modern-day women’s organization in the LDS church) would today. The Israelites began their journey on the other side of the Red Sea, in Shur. They traveled for three days without any water to drink.

23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

They came to a place called Marah, where the waters were bitter and they could not drink them. (Side note: I wonder if this word has the same origin as the name Mary, my name, which also means bitter.) The Israelites asked Moses, their leader, what they should drink. He prayed and received the answer to his prayer. He was to cut down a specific tree and throw it into the waters of Marah. When he did this, the water was made sweet and they could drink. The Lord made a promise to the children of Israel, that he would not allow the diseases to come upon them, which the Egyptians had had, if they would hearken to His voice and follow His commandments. Their next stop was in a place called Elim, which had twelve wells of water that could provide for the people of Israel.

Their are many examples of murmuring in the scriptures. It seems that this is a natural response to difficulty, even for those who have recently be greatly blessed by the hand of God. This is one of Satan’s most used tactics. He would have us be ungrateful and forgetful of our God. I wonder how often I murmur in my own life, instead of recognizing the blessings I have received, or having faith that greater blessings will come through my trials.

I wonder what the difference was in the hearts of the Israelites from this time and later when they had to deal with the many serpents. Here they were told to cast a tree in the water to make it drinkable and then they were told to look at a brass serpent to be saved from death. Here they followed the instruction and were blessed for it, but later they would not hearken to Moses and many would die for it. I believe it has to do with their hearts being more willing and open, in spite of their murmuring, which provided them with an enormous amount of faith. I think that later, we see that they lacked the faith because their hearts had become hardened to the miracles of God.

I know that we must keep the things of God close to our hearts. We need to always remember the Lord and his blessings for us. I am so grateful for the weekly reminder that I have each week as I partake of the Sacrament. If I have let life keep me distracted and busy during the week, the Sacrament calls me back to a remembrance of Him and I can realign myself to the person He wants me to be. I am glad that I can repent of my errors and sins. I know that if I am faced with challenges and find myself murmuring over the hard path that the Lord expects me to follow, I need to repent and return in faith and hope for things to come. I know that if we keep a song of gratitude in our hearts and are mindful of the tender mercies of the Lord, then we will find life more rewarding and will feel the love of God in greater abundance.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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