Bible Study

Exodus 15 Jesus’ victory over our enemy

I read yesterday about Moses leading the Israelites across the Red Sea and today I read in Exodus 15 the victory song that the Israelites sang after the crossing.  Some things stood out to me in the song.  First of all, it is important to realize that the Exodus from Egypt is a picture of God’s salvation of his people.  It was a real historical event, and it was a real salvation, but in God’s eternal plan, it was only a foreshadowing of the eternal salvation that he provides for those whom he has chosen.  So when we read about the Exodus, we should see in it a picture of what God has done for us.

One of the things that stood out to me is that this was a salvation from an enemy.  Pharaoh was against God and out to keep the Israelites in slavery.  In the same way, we have an enemy, Satan, who wants to keep us enslaved to himself, and one of the aspects of our salvation is that we are delivered from him and he is destroyed.  This is mentioned in the song when they sing in Ex. 15:4-10

“Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.    The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone.  Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.  In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.  At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.

The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
10  You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

This encouraged me because I very definitely see Satan scheming against me daily, and to know that he is defeated is very encouraging.  When Jesus died on the cross, it was Satan’s ultimate defeat, and just as Pharaoh and his officers sunk in the Red Sea and were “shattered” (v. 6) our enemy is also shattered.  By the “greatness of his majesty” Jesus has overthrown our adversary.  Of course, the ultimate manifestation of this is still future when Satan is cast into the Lake of Fire, but it is a certain thing that has already been accomplished.  So I can have confidence that I, in Christ’s strength am able to overcome our enemy.

Also encouraging were verses 16-18 where the song describes the effect of the Red Sea deliverance on the pagan peoples around who would certainly hear about this great act of salvation…

16  Terror and dread fall upon them;

because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,

till your people, O Lord, pass by,

till the people pass by whom you have purchased.

17  You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,

the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,

the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.

18  The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

Notice that verse 16 says that God has “purchased” his people.  Jesus has purchased us by his blood–his death on the cross.  The idea of being purchased is a very special way of thinking of our salvation.  We belong to God and he will certainly care for us because we are his.  1 Cor. 6:20 says, “you were bought with a price…”  and 1 Peter 1:18-19 say, “…you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

We can rejoice today in the fact that we belong to God and that he has defeated our enemy!  Hallelujah!


Matthew 8-9 The significance of Jesus’ healing ministry

I just moved with my family a week ago to a very cold, eastern European city.  My head has been stopped up ever since I got here.  You know that sensation of feeling like your head is floating about a foot above your shoulders?  Needless to say, suffering with this head cold while going through jet-lag and culture shock all at once gave me an appreciation for the good news in Matthew 8-9 that Jesus heals.

It really is startling how important Jesus’ healing ministry figures in to the gospel accounts.  These two chapters alone recount four specific healings, two specific deliverances from demons, one raising from the dead, and the general statement that Jesus “cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.”

What good news for those who are struggling with sickness.  I know that seeing this truth gave me confidence and faith to lay my need before the Lord Jesus and ask him to give me the health and strength that I need to adjust to my new living situation, take care of my family, begin my language studies and serve those around me in whatever way he has prepared.

But receiving physical healing alone fails to plumb the depths of all that is being revealed here about Jesus.  The reason the gospels emphasize the healing ministry of Jesus is not just that he is a source of health and well-being for this life, although he definitely is that, and it is not wrong to come to him with our physical needs as I did this morning.

Sickness and death and bondage to demonic powers are all the glaring evidence that mankind in his sin and rebellion against God is under God’s curse.  When Jesus comes on the scene in the gospels, healing all and delivering from demons and even raising the dead, God is displaying the truth that Jesus is the one who is going to remove that curse from the new humanity that God will bring into being.  This is why the gospels emphasize repeatedly that “all who came to him were healed.”  The redemption that Jesus brings is total and complete.

Matthew explains the healings in these chapters with a quotation from Isaiah 53.  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”  If sickness and death are the curse of God upon sin, and they are (see Genesis 2:17), then by bearing our sicknesses and diseases, Jesus bears our curse.  His healing ministry then is a pointer to the fact that he is the Redeemer who lifts the curse and brings life in place of death.

Every time we receive a physical healing in this life from the Lord Jesus, it is a specific pointer, or as John would say a “sign” of the deeper and more significant foundational truth that Jesus has redeemed us from sin’s curse.

I am so glad that I can come to Jesus and ask for physical healing, knowing that he is my Redeemer and regardless of how he chooses to answer my prayer, whether I receive the “pointer” or “sign” of physical healing or not, I can know that by his death and resurrection he has lifted the curse from me and given me eternal life.