Before we dig into the short but powerful song of praise, let’s remember it is sung concurrently with Psalm 113 just before the traditional Passover meal. It’s a praise of God’s goodness and provision, represented by the Exodus from captivity, but is a timeless piece as it accentuates what God does for us every day of our lives.
If we pay attention to the progression of man’s relationship with God, God only shows up in and with certain individuals between original sin and the Jewish people leaving Egypt. It isn’t until the journey begins that God’s presence remains with His people in the form of a cloud by day and fire by night. Verse two clues us in to this fact: that the people of Israel became His sanctuary and dominion. He lived amongst the people. Emmanuel. As he lived amongst His people, amazing things happened. Psalm 114 accounts for this in just a few verses, but we know that God did much more than is mentioned.
I think it is easy for us to read a piece of scripture like this and see it as past tense, as if God isn’t still doing these things. We think the God of then isn’t the same God of now. Or that He would do these things for other people but not for us, as if somehow we are less worthy for some reason. We (in our minds) limit God’s love and power and resources and mercy in our lives. Jesus told His followers, “It’s simple: you don’t have because you don’t ask. Ask that you would receive.” Later, His brother would write, “Ask believing that you will receive, otherwise you are just a fool,” (paraphrased from James 1:5-7).
It’s easy for the Jewish people to sing this song because they are past the difficulty that is remembered in the song. The song was written (and is repeated every year) so that they don’t forget what God does. In the moment these things were happening, they were terrified, low in faith, tired, hungry, thirsty, and beat up pretty good! God showed up when they didn’t even ask because they didn’t know they could ask. Moses asked for them and he received the answer. Today, YOU can ask and God will provide.
What is your Red Sea that looks like a watery grave before you while a vicious army closes in behind you? What mountains loom over you that seem impossible to climb? What desert are you wandering in with nothing to drink? Have you asked Him for help? Have you asked for wisdom? I bet when the Israelites were in the desert and they worried about food, they never imagined that bread would appear with the morning dew every day. If they hadn’t been hungry, would they have been looking for a miracle? If they weren’t stuck between a sea and an army would they not have needed salvation or a savior?
Sometimes when we are in tough situations it is easy for us to get upset with God because we feel we are suffering needlessly. I believe God uses it to remind us we not only need a Savior, but that we are loved enough and worth saving.