Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: When we understand the Israelites song of celebration we can discover the sources of our security.

“Homeland Security”

Exodus 15:1-18

In the aftermath of 9-11 a Federal position was created to help insure the safety and security of Americans and others living in the United States. So we now have a Director of Homeland Security. It is an attempt to help alleviate ongoing fears of attack and terrorist tactics. This action certainly points out that we have a deep-seated need for security. Without security we can never be free from our slavery to fear. When the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco was being built, there was a great fear of workers falling. Bridge builders have a superstition that one man will die for every million dollars spent on the project. This bridge was budgeted for $35 million, so the fear was pervasive. The chief engineer, Joseph Strauss, also believed that three-dozen men could fall to their deaths. The impact of falling from the bridge to the water below is equivalent to hitting a brick wall at eighty miles per hour. Strauss made an unprecedented move and ordered a large trapeze net to be placed under the workers. Bridge builders had never enjoyed such a luxury, so the added security made them feel, as one worker said, like they could, "dance on the steel."

God’s people also can be immobilized from effective living because of fear. As Israel stood immobilized by the Red Sea before them, with Pharaoh’s army rapidly pressing from behind, they, too, knew fear. They, too, needed security. And then the miracle – the waters parted, formed a protective wall, and God’s people walked through the sea but on dry land. And then came the victory – Pharaoh’s army charged across the dry sea land only to be drowned and swept away as the protective waters surged upon them. Chapter 15, which we have just read, is the dancing, the song of celebration, the reflection of a secure people. From this we see how we can dance in our security in the midst of this, our homeland. Its bookends are verse 2 & 18: “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him…The Lord will reign for ever and ever."

We can dance, first of all, because GOD IS OUR STRENGTH (3-10). Israel knew she had not crossed the Sea in her own power or by her own accord. God had fought the battle; God had won the day; God had defeated the enemy. That’s why the celebration song calls God the mighty warrior: “The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh's officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone.” GOD IS THE MIGHTY WARRIOR WHO GUARANTEES THE VICTORY. Literally it says He is a ‘man of war.’ It’s unfortunate that many today do not like to think of God in terms of war. To them God is only a God of love, a God who would never lift a finger to harm or destroy anyone. No singing of God’s judgment, no “Onward Christian Soldiers,” no talk of punishment. But I say, “Praise God, the Mighty Warrior!” For as long as sin and evil exist, someone needs to go to war! And I’d rather it be God than me! I do not have the strength; but God does. And that gives me my security. Consider Pharaoh – he had ordered a massive drowning of all the Israelite baby boys. Well, he got his drowning – and as a bonus his fighting boys were drowned. That’s God – that’s God’s justice. It’s called the “Lex Talionis” – God punishing through the law of retaliation. What people sow, they reap. Pharaoh sowed destruction through drowning, so his army was defeated through drowning. To preserve His people, God had to step in and fight. In fact, 285 times in the Old Testament God is called “JEHOVAH SABAOTH” which means “the Lord of hosts,” or “the Lord of armies.” The prophet Isaiah spelled it out clearly (42:13): “The Lord will march forth like a mighty man; he will come out like a warrior, full of fury. He will shout his thundering battle cry, and he will crush all his enemies.”

God still fights for us; still today He is our strength. God still has to step in and fight because, as Paul wrote, our battle is (Eph 6:11 ff.) “…against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.” This means we cannot fight the battle by ourselves: since THE ENEMY IS NOT A CONVENTIONAL ENEMY OUR WAR CANNOT BE FOUGHT WITH CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS. The celebration song refers to God’s right hand (9) and the breath of His nostrils (8 & 10). Through divine intervention – the power of His hand – and control of nature – the wind, His breath – God alone can guarantee the victory over the battles of our lives. As one of our familiar celebration songs puts it, “What A Mighty God We Serve!”

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