It’s no secret, I have a terrible memory. I’m not sure why. Partly I think it’s my lack of observation skills. You could tear a large building down. One I’ve driven by time and time again, and for the life of me, I’ll not be able to tell you what’s missing. “Well, hmmm, are there more wildflowers than usual?”
Devotional Scripture: Exodus 15:1-21
Key Verse: “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.” Exodus 15:2
But it’s not just scenery I struggle to take note of. Lines from movies? Forget it, they don’t stick. Historical facts? Let’s just say I’m the last person you want on a trivia team. Names of people at church? I really don’t want to go here. Incidents from high school? I’m beginning to wonder if I was even there. (Okay, maybe it’s not that bad. But can we avoid the specifics please?)
I’d like to blame it on pregnancy and lack of sleep and the craziness that comes with being a mother of four. Because let’s be honest, there’s a lot to keep track! Like the last time they each bathed. (Was it Monday? Or was it Saturday? Oh dear, was it Saturday?)
But really, I think I just have a bad memory. And apparently, so did the Israelites.
They’d seen God administer ten miraculous plagues, marched safely away from their captors with the wealth of Egypt on their backs, and crossed the Red Sea with a wall of water on their right and their left. Then they watched as God pummeled one of the strongest military forces in the world (at that time) into the depths of the sea.
To say they’d seen a lot, would be an understatement. Clearly the LORD was on their side and now the entire world knew it. (Or at least all the parts of the world that mattered to Israel.) And the Israelites, safe and free on the other side of the Red Sea, knew it too.
Filled with gratitude and awe for the God who’d just delivered them from captivity, they sang a song of praise, declaring all the things they now knew of the LORD. Let’s look…
Verse 1: Man’s best defense is no match for God’s dominion. “For he has triumphed gloriously.” Pharaoh’s army was state of the art. With the best equipment, the latest and greatest chariots, the strongest horses – yet they were nothing compared to the LORD. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Ps. 20:7). (The perfect verse for the Israelite’s, don’t you think?)
Verse 3: “The LORD is a man of war.” He doesn’t sit back and let the enemy win. He is a God of justice who fights for his people and delivers them. “The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (v.2). (Truly, He had.)
Verse 6: His right hand is “glorious in power,” shattering the enemy. (They watched it happen. They knew He could do it.)
Verse 7: “In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries,” consuming them like stubble. (Remember stubble from Exodus 5? When the Israelite’s were sent out to gather their own straw, they scurried about the land of Egypt gathering stubble for straw.) He is a God who pays attention my friend. He is a God of retribution.
Verse 11: There is no one like the LORD. He is “majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deed, doing wonders.” (He is in the business of doing wonders.)
Verse 13: His love is steadfast. He guides with his great strength, not to a place of forlorn isolation, but unto his “holy abode.” He frees His people to draw them near. (Is that not amazing?)
Verses 14-16: The neighboring nations have heard and tremble at the greatness of God. “All the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.” And they did! Remember what Rahab said to the spies, “For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea…and as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted and there was no spirit left in any man because of you” (Josh. 2:10-11). (And that was forty years later.)
Verse 17: God would faithfully bring the people in and plant them on his own mountain. (Israel knew this was God’s plan.)
Verse 18: And there “the LORD will reign forever and ever.” (No one and nothing could change that.)
These are the verses Israel sang loud and proud beside the Red Sea. These are the things they knew to be true of God. They knew there was no God like Him. They knew nothing could stand against Him.
Yet a year later, at the edge of Canaan, faced with a report that the land was good but the people were big and fierce, they forgot the truths they’d sung. They forgot who stood on their side. They forgot the works God had done. They forgot who it was that fought for them.
Oh how quickly we can be a people that forget! And oh how devastating is the result when we don’t take the time to remember! He is God and we are not. Remember when He saved us? Remember when He drew us out of the pit and brought us near? Remember when He filled us with His Spirit? A spirit “not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7).
Have we forgotten who He is? Have we forgotten He’s called us to a life of holiness? Have we forgotten the victory we have in Christ? Have we grown fearful and timid at the report of the enemy?
May we always remember who it is we serve and the great and mighty works He has already done. Not to mention the works still to come! Because He who promised is faithful and He will raise us up on the last day to be with Him in the land of promise forever.
So don’t be afraid of the enemy, even when they do look bigger and stronger. For they melt away at the mere thought of Christ. Remember and stand strong, for it’s the LORD who is on our side.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
What truths are you going to focus on today? When the enemy hits, will you remember?
What tactics can you use to remember the truths of God’s Word, not just during a crisis, but in the quiet of day by day?