What does it take to write a hit tune?
Exodus 15 and Moses’ “Song of the Sea” is probably the earliest writing in the book of Exodus. In fact, this song and the story it recounts was written early in the Exodus story. It was included by Moses in the book of Exodus years later.
I wish I knew the tune, because it was the number one song of that time. It was so popular that Miriam taught it to the women of Israel.
The song has two parts: First (verses 1 – 13), a recounting of the defeat of Pharaoh, which was, in and of itself, such an astounding victory that the story is told three times: once in Exodus 14, again in this song, and then again as the contents of the song are repeated in prose in the latter part of the chapter. The second part (verses 14 – 18) is a hymn of assurance regarding Israel’s future. Because of what God has done in the past, he can be trusted to fulfill His promises in the future.
The theme of the hymn is the sovereign power of God. He hurls horses, riders, and their chariots into the sea. He covers Pharaoh’s army and they sink to the bottom of the sea like stone.
Three other points are also made: God has, in the exodus, created a people. Not, created people in general, but created a special people who will be known as Israel – God’s people. Second, God has prepared a home for them in his presence. This isn’t just Canaan, but also another place, where the sanctuary of the Lord is already completed. Finally, God rules over all forever.
It’s a hymn whose lessons we could voice today, and if we don’t know the tune, just wait. The book of Revelation tells us that it’s on the hit list in heaven (Revelation 15:3).