Summary: The blush of first love wears off quickly for the children of Israel as God brings them some small tests to see how much they will trust Him. How much do you trust God? We also see the keys to spiritual warfare demonstrated.
New love is always interesting. We used to have a saying "you’re looking through rose-colored glasses." It meant that no matter how the other person was in reality, they always looked "rosy" to you because you were in love.
Having rose colored glasses is a danger sign for a relationship that needs to stand the test of time. It’s a good idea to go through difficult seasons as well as good times with a prospective spouse. You will not change the person you marry - they will not magically become talkative or responsible or caring - so you need to know what you are getting into before you say "I do."
In Exodus 15 - 17 we see the beginnings of the relationship between Yahweh and the Children of Israel. As I’ve said, Exodus is a book of rescues and re-introductions. God has rescued Israel out of the bondage of Egypt - and they are in the first blush of a love relationship. We’ll see in Chapter 15 that it’s all praise and adoration - all "rose colored glasses" as they sing a wonderful song of praise for all of what God has done.
But by the end of the chapter the rose-colored glasses come off and the gloves go on - praise turns to grumbling - thankfulness turns to complaining. Welcome to the true character of the people God has betrothed.
God also gets to introduce His real self to them - and they begin to see how holy and pure He really is - and just what it will take to make this marriage work.
This has been called "The Song of Moses."
Verses 1 - 3
Notice: God has become my salvation. How true that will be later on. It also reminds me of Genesis 22 where Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac - and Isaac said "where is the sacrifice?" and Abraham said "God will provide Himself a sacrifice."
Verses 4 - 10
Basically retelling the journey through the Red Sea in poetic form. It celebrates what God has done.
Now they celebrate the wonder of who God is, and what He is about to do.
Verses 11 - 19
If only this faith carried on into Numbers 13 where at the edge of the Promised Land, they lost all faith in the conquering God and believed the report of the spies who said it couldn’t be done.
How often do our words of faith and boasts of trust come back to haunt us as well? When God works a mighty miracle on our behalf we are full of praise and trust - so what happens when the next time we face a trial we cry out to God and complain that He’s never come through for us.
- We should remember the things God has done - don’t forget!
- Know that God doesn’t always answer in the same way. Next time you might seemingly fail - but it’s not because He has abandoned you. The important thing is trusting God - trusting in the outcome we desire.
So now Miriam - Moses’ older sister - takes up the praise.
Verses 20 - 21
This is the first occasion of Miriam being named that I found - and the first mention of her as a prophetess. Miriam (and Aaron for that matter) get into some trouble in Numbers 12 - so much so that the leprosy miracle that was so absent from the Exodus from Egypt comes back to show that God is still in control and not open to rebellion - even from a prophetess.
So from praise and worship to complaining and grumbling - my how fast this happens!
Verses 22 - 25a
The writer of Hebrews comes back to this event as a way to show that the Children of Israel were rebellious and did not believe God. "Do not harden your hearts as in the days of the rebellion" he writes - telling them not to adopt a similarly rebellious attitude when it comes to faith in Jesus. They were in danger of turning away - turning back to Judaism in the face of persecution. His point is that abandoning God is not the answer.
God was worried that the Children of Israel would be overwhelmed by war - so He didn’t want to take them to Canine right away. He was right - they were overwhelmed here not because of war but because the water was bad.
I don’t think there is any spiritual point to the log - it was just something that God said to do so Moses did it. Interestingly enough - in 2 Kings 2, Elisha threw salt into water and made it good. In chapter 17 Moses will simply hit a rock and water will come out. The point is obedience and trust in God as provider - no matter what the circumstances look like.