The Song of Moses, The Song of Women

I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
The LORD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father's God, and I will exalt him.
The LORD is a man of war;
the LORD is his name.
 -- Exodus 15:1b-3, English Standard Version


Exodus: Unity of Law and Grace
The Song of Moses
Professor: Dr. R.J. Rushdoony

You can also hear the MP3 – but you lose the transcript – here.

The parts that struck me, I put in bold.

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Let us worship God. Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name. Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Let us pray.

Oh Lord, our God, we give thanks unto thee that thou art the truth. That as we face a world that lies at every turn, that builds its hope on deception, we have the joy and the confidence of knowing that, because our Lord is the way, the truth, and the life, it is His will that shall prevail. That all the things that men erect shall crumble and thy kingdom stand forever. Great and marvelous art thou, oh Lord, and we praise thee. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Our scripture is from Exodus 15:1-22. The Song of Moses. Exodus 15:1-22. The Song of Moses. “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. 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. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellancy thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. 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. 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. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina [or Philistia]. 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. 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. 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. The LORD shall reign for ever and ever. 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. 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. 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. 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 song of Moses is comparable to the Psalms. It is an exuberant praise of God as well as a sermon. It is also a very personal statement by Moses. He thanks God for sustaining him. God is Moses’ personal strength and song, and also his salvation in a very awe-inspiring way. Moses is His servant and prophet.

Moses, as a man of the tribe of Levi and a believer says, in verse 1, that “He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation [that is a sanctuary],” but this is not all. Moses says, “He is my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” We know very little about Moses’ father, Amram, other than he and his wife were very strong believers. Moses parents, at this time, were apparently long dead but they had moved on faith in casting the infant Moses into the Nile in a basket. They never saw Israel’s deliverance, but they apparently never swerved from their faith that God would deliver His people.

Now on the shores of the Red Sea, Moses does not speak of the Lord as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as is usually done in the Bible, but as “my father’s God.” Amram’s faith and prayers were apparently being vindicated. We, at times, remember in crises, things which have marked our lives, and Moses now sees God as the deliverer whom his father trusted; “my father’s God.” This is Moses’ first and basic reaction, a very personal one.

Then, as Cate has pointed out, the song has three major ideas, although we can say there are four if we include Moses’ personal statement about his father. But for Cate, the first is Moses’ declaration that Israel’s salvation is totally God’s act. He does not remind Israel of its fearfulness in complaining. Moses simply says it is God, who alone or without any help or effort, or any merit on Israel’s part, delivered Israel, and his opening statement is, “The Lord is a man of war.” Both pacifists and anti-pacifists have long made heavy use of the Bible to argue their case. The Bible does speak for peace, but it also sees war as, at times, necessary and just. God moves against evil, and so too, we must at times. 

But in this instance, without any effort on man’s part, the Egyptian army with its best officers is drowned in the sea. There was a miraculous parting of the waters. The enemy pursued Israel into the sea determined to exact vengeance and repossess or destroy them. The word that is rendered in the King James “destroy” can also mean repossess. Instead, Egypt was destroyed, because the natural world is God’s creation and totally serves His will and purpose. Now, modern man’s faith is evolutionary. It is in the natural order, and pagan man also believed in the natural order as determinative, and as a result, he sought to control natural forces. Over the centuries, a variety of means were sought to control the natural order; occultist, magical, later alchemical and scientific, and also non-scientific. But all these methods have sought to understand and control the natural order as supposedly the ultimate order, and when man has power over the natural order, it is held, then he will have ultimate power. But, it was this natural order which Egypt deified, which now became its death.

When, near the end of World War 2, the United States detonated nuclear weapons over Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the initial reaction was one of horror. Then we were told the key to nature has been unlocked, and a world of utopian possibilities were opening up. The Livermore Laboratories were set up to subsidize this utopian scientific effort. Every area of life was going to be revolutionized because now we had the ultimate control over nature. But, little has resulted from decades of research at Livermore. 

Moses stresses another aspect of God’s nature. Having dealt with God’s justice, he now turns to His mercy in verse 13. All that God has done for Israel is to be merciful. There was no reason why Israel was not also destroyed in the sea other than God’s mercy. As a result, second, we are told much about God’s nature and being in this fact. It is emphatically clear that God is neither a vague nor an abstract being. He cannot be reduced to the Greek idea of a first cause who somehow accidentally triggers creation and then disappears.

Eighteenth century deism had Greek roots. Its idea of an absenteeism God who is a first cause was Hellenic. To have a god who is only a source of principles is not biblically tenable, because the God of the Bible and of the song of Moses is a God who creates, who predestinates, who governs, and who incarnates Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. For the humanistic intellectuals, this is a crude view of God, because they reject any God who challenges their supremacy.

This morning, I was reading in a journal the entire issue of which was dedicated to religion within the limits of reason. Only a reason that the, religion that the intellectuals can totally grasp and shape can be a true religion, because after all, the rational is the real, what they conceive of as being rational. They do not want a god out of their control, a god such of whom Moses sings that he is fearful in praises, in verse 11, that is fearful, awe-inspiring, terrifying in his works which are worthy of praise.

Joseph Parker said of the song of Moses that it is simply history set to music. This is history as man sometimes lives it, but if left to the scholars, history could never be set to music because it is dehydrated, dehumanized, and stripped of God, and that’s not history. That is a fiction created by your modern historians. 

Then third, Moses expresses a magnificent hope for the future. The peoples of Canaan would hear of this event at the Red Sea, as well as the plagues, and they would be afraid. The same would be true of Edom and Moab, fear and dread would possess them. Forty years later, Rahab would speak of this fact. Israel’s failures were due to its unbelief. Its enemies at times were more fearful of Israel’s God than was Israel, which is an ironic fact, and I think sometimes this is true in our time as well. The enemy is sometimes more fearful of the power within the Christian community than the Christians are who should know the source of that power. Moses concludes by saying, “The Lord shall reign forever and ever,” in verse 18. Unlike man, he does not grow old nor feeble in power. The power manifested against Egypt will mark God’s justice in all of history. “The Lord shall reign forever and ever.” There can be no true vision of history without first knowing God.

The blindness of contemporary rulers and peoples to God is comparable to the blindness of Pharaoh. And too often the blindness of the church is comparable to that of Israel. A supposedly orthodox periodical that went into my wastebasket a few days ago, dismissed the writings of R.J. Rushdoony as invalid, because I expect victory for Christ’s kingdom in time, and that was ruled out as impossible, the powers of darkness are too strong! Well, is that biblical faith to doubt the power of God? To believe that we are called to defeat by Christ is an amazing example of blindness, and a very, very common one.

Well, after Moses had finished, his sister, Miriam took a tambourine and led the women in a joyful circle dance, singing, “Sing unto the LORD, glorious is He, horse and the rider he has hurled into the sea.” Miriam is here called the sister of Aaron, since Moses was not in the household, but with Pharaoh’s daughter to maturity, and then in the desert with Jethro, Miriam was closer to Aaron and is therefore identified with him. 

But in verse 22, we have a blunt reminder that God’s blessings do not remove trials and testings. They may, in fact, increase them and often do. After a few days journey in the wilderness of Shur, the great encampment of Israel had a serious problem, a very serious one. No water. God, having saved them, began now to teach and discipline them, and it was a test of faith. God has delivered you. Now, when you face troubles are you going to begin by doubting Him? Are you going to ask for flowery beds of ease, as the hymn writer says? Are you going to demand that trouble-filled, of trouble-free world simply because now you’re the Lord’s? Is not it rather the opposite, that when you separate yourself from the world of evil, you’re going to have their hostility in a particular way, but you’re also going to have the power of God as you face it.

I once knew a woman who never lost an opportunity to say that she was saved. In fact, she was always stopping people to tell them how wonderfully she was saved, and it was a questionable statement. And she also would then say, that since she was saved by the Lord, all her troubles were over. The woman was totally mad, and she was using religion as a Pharisaic cover-up for her real problem. She refused religiously to face up to any problems, and she herself was her most notable problem. We cannot run away. We have an obligation, when we are saved, all the more and in a way we were never capable of before, facing up to the problems, to the battles in this world, and so God, when He saves us, does not give us a trouble-free world, but a trouble-filled one, but He gives us the power to do something about that world to change it and to conquer it. Let us pray.

Our Lord and our God, indeed thou shalt reign forever and ever, and thy kingdom shall prevail over the powers of darkness. We thank thee that thou hast redeemed us and made us members of thy kingdom, commissioned us to serve thee, to rejoice in thee, and to be confident in the day of adversity and in the time of struggle. We thank thee for thy word and for its plain speaking. Give us grace to hear and to obey. In Christ’s name, amen. 

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] Well, the scientists are now discovering that almost all the scientific laws and codes are invalid. In terms of astronomy, they’re discovering phenomena that they cannot explain. It doesn’t fit Newton or Einstein.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] The same thing is true in microbiology. They’ve got viruses now that are so invisible that cannot be discovered by a microscope, but as far down as we go we run into strange phenomenon and as far out we go. So, this is playing havoc with the whole rational theory of science.

[Rushdoony] Yes. A recent study by a scientist named Davis, a Harvard man, and Harvard professor, deals with this fact that there is also militant hostility at the same time to the idea that there can be any truth. But he goes on to say that curiously, if you disagree with them, they are ready to say what you are saying is wrong. So, there can be no truth, but no one has any knowledge of what is possible or right apart from them. So, there is a curious mentality at work there.

[Audience] The paradigm’s collapsing.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Yes. Koon’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions called attention to that, that the hypotheses that govern generations of thinking are no more than that, and the hypotheses that have governed until now are beginning to collapse.

[Audience] Beginning to collapse politically also.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] The idea of representative government, the idea of parliaments.

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Audience] And there are no substitutes on the horizon.

[Rushdoony] Because they are at war with the very idea of truth. So, how can there be a substitute, except “trust us.” Any other questions or comments? Yes?

[Audience] I’m impressed throughout scripture that the natural response to either the announcement of deliverance or the manifestation of deliverance is song, and sometimes accompanied by dance. I’ve also been impressed as I’ve visited many churches in my life you can almost always measure the depth of the spirituality of the church by the quality of the singing. There must be some connection. 

[Rushdoony] Well, I would hesitate to say that because a lot of people don’t have good voices. There’s no question that throughout the Bible, singing is a response, both to great deliverances and to great crises, and there is no question that, over and over again in church history, a great reformation or advance is accompanied by a tremendous outburst of singing. But there are other factors also involved. One of the problems we have in our day is that singing is dead, since World War 2. There is no longer the popular expression in song. It was commonplace previously for people to sing on any occasion, and in groups, or if you were going somewhere in a car, for everybody to start singing. Could be a hymn, or it could be a popular song, or it could be an old folk song but singing was commonplace, and that’s gone now. So, it’s very hard to get a group of people who can sing well, and church music has suffered dramatically since World War 2 because people do not have the background in singing either in their schooling or in their personal lives. Yes?

[Audience] Calvin brought music back to the congregation.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Audience] But how can you sing to rock and roll?

[Rushdoony] That’s a good question [laughs]

[Audience] I’ve noticed, too, that so many of the new songs, “new songs,” are humanist songs. It’s always “me,” “I” this is what has happened to me rather than so much praise for God and His word.

[Rushdoony] And that’s another problem. It began about the time of World War 1 or even back to the 90’s, there are inclinations to that. The emphasis on purely subjective meaning in hymns. What God means to me, and my experience, and a lot of it will be purely without content. Some of it, well, one of the more popular hymns of this century, although it’s fading now, has been “In the Garden.” Now look at that sometime, there’s not a single bit of doctrine in it, and there are so many hymns like that, without any content, and people find them more singable precisely because the emphasis is on a purely subjective and personal fact, and you may have noticed that the hymns we sang today and have been singing several times of late, are hymns that deal with the trinity. Well, hymns dealing with praise to the trinity, used to be central to worship. Now they’re peripheral and there will only be a small section even in the better hymnals. But, if you go back some generations, you’ll find that those hymns were more prominent. 

Now, that tells you something. Most people cannot define some of the basic doctrines, although they are going to church and profess to believe the Bible from cover to cover. One of the ways people used to pick it up was, not only through preaching and Bible reading, but also through the hymns. Yes?

[Audience] Mark Sullivan in his Our Times talked about the alteration in American popular music beginning around the period of the turn of the century in which he said double entendres, {?} lyrics, an emphasis on sex and cynicism came in, tin pan alley. He credited with altering the entire American ethos, and now of course, songs are only popular music is almost entirely devoted to relationships and not to any other sentiment.

[Rushdoony] Yes, and another thing that just occurred to me. In the twenties and thirties, it was very commonplace if you went to somebody’s house, you could hear the housewife singing as she was working in the kitchen or around the house. When do you hear that now?

[Audience] People used to sing in Greyhound buses in the evening.

[Rushdoony] Yes, yes. Yes?

[Audience] We had the words of song for biblical times. Were there any methods of music notation, melodies?

[Rushdoony] That’s an interesting question. We don’t know much about the methods of musical notation. In a few instances, going back they have been able to discover and decode the older forms of musical notation, but so little survives that we don’t know, but apparently there were and we have instructions in the psalms which the King James still reproduces, to the choirmaster, indicating to what tune the psalm was to be sung. So, they apparently had a form of musical notation. Well, if there are no further questions, let us bow our heads in prayer. 

Our Father, we give thanks unto thee that thou art on the throne. That song of Moses is our song, a song of victory, and that we are told that thy people shall sing in due time the song of Moses and of the lamb, Jesus Christ, the song of victory. Make us joyful in the pleasure that is ours to be thy people, and to rejoice in thy victory. And now go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. 

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The Israelites were not the only slaves that God has an interest in freeing.

From Co-Heirs, by Sam Powell

—<Quote begins>—

Marriage should allow both men and women to be fully who they are before God, thriving and loving as image–bearers, and thus a fountain of blessing to all who know them.

Why isn’t this our goal?

I posted something similar to that on Facebook yesterday and people are losing their minds. I’m being called a hater of God, an unbeliever, a bad influence on Christian women, a pagan, a feminist, a heathen, non–reformed, a Satanist, and so on.

It got me thinking.

Pharaoh lost his mind when Moses said, “Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go.” Pharaoh didn’t want to lose the work of the slaves. It was, after all, the order that his gods placed on the world. Pharaoh and Egyptian males first, women and Israelites next. Every knows that, right? It is the natural order of things.

But when God said, “Let my people go” it upended everything about Pharaoh’s religion and social order. That is why he couldn’t bend.

Similarly, even though the Lord so clearly loves and values women as his image–bearers, and did not create or redeem them to be the slaves of men, yet His cry, “let my people go!” upends the status quo and turns everything upside down. It arouses the same fury in the ones who hold the power.

By the way, I’m not speaking of divorce right now, I am speaking of letting go of the control and domination of wives and daughters and watching them thrive as image–bearers of God.

If the first thing your wife would do if you let go of your control and dominion is leave your sorry a#@, maybe you should rethink your lifestyle.

You could, maybe, learn to make your own sandwiches.

She is your fitting help, not your property or your servant.

Malachi 2:16 is often translated “God hates divorce”. I have written extensively on how bad that translation is. The Hebrew reads “Because he hates, let her go…”

It is the exact same word used in Moses’ instructions to Pharaoh. “Let my people go” or “let (her) go”. Set her free. If you hate her so much that she is odious to you, send her away.

If not, then please treat her as the scripture commands you to—as a co-heir of eternal life.

One day, you will stand before God and answer to how you treated her, a firstborn son, an heir of all things, and the bride of Christ.

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Something to chew on, thoughtfully.


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