One of my all time favorite movies is, The Sound of Music. I love the way it starts with Julie Andrews on a beautiful mountain – arms outstretched twirling around as she sings “the hills are alive with the sound of music.” She is playing the part of a woman so full of joy and happiness that she can’t restrain the music that is in her heart. It is difficult to watch that first scene without smiling and feeling good on the inside.
Read: Exodus Chapter 15
In chapter 15 we see a group of people whose hearts at the moment are so full of joy they can’t help but enthusiastically sing
The Ministry of Singing Hearts
The first thing that the heart of a redeemed person wants to do is sing. The reason is given to us in Psalm 40:1-3. “I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.”
- When we are saved, God puts a song in our heart and we can’t help but let it flow out.
Truth: True spiritual singing does not come from the head, but from the heart.
No person can drum up real praise. It is the overflow of a heart that has experienced the greatness of God’s redeeming grace. There cannot be true singing from the heart until the heart knows something of God’s redemption.
Exodus 15:1, “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord.” Notice the word then. It was after deliverance at the Red Sea that the song was sang. Salvation first and then the song.
Truth: The joy of the lips springs from the joy of the heart.
God’s deliverance inspired Israel’s hearts and voices to break out in song of praise and thanksgiving. Israel had church right there on the shore of the Red Sea. One thing is evident, they certainly had a lot of passion and enthusiasm in their worship. Joy and enthusiasm are “Siamese twins”. Joy is what you experience personally. Enthusiasm is how to express that joy to others.
Our English word “enthusiasm” is comprised of two Greek words – “en” meaning in and “theos” meaning God. The more into God you are, then the more enthusiastic you will be.
Believers who don’t put their hearts into worship are like roosters who won’t crow at sunrise. They simply are not doing what God programmed them to do. There’s a chorus we sang in the 70’s charismatic renewal that went like this.
O the Holy Ghost will set your feet a dancing.
O the Holy Ghost will thrill you through and through.
O the Holy Ghost will set your feet a dancing,
And He’ll set your heart a singing too.
In Israel’s experience at the Red Sea they had dancing feet and singing hearts. We not that Moses was very much involved in the singing and dancing. It wasn’t a spectator event, but everyone participated in it.
- Moses not only led the singing (verse 1), but in fact he was the author of the song. (It was the song of Moses).
- Moses also wrote the song of Deut. 32:1-43 and also is credited with Psalm 90.
- Moses was a very gifted man whose gifts began to shine forth as he led Israel in the wilderness.
- Your special gifting will also begin to come forth as you obey the call of God in your life. The gifts that are given to you are to be used for His glory – not yours!
With the fits and abilities Moses did have you can understand why God got upset with him at the burning bush with all the excuses Moses was giving as to why he wasn’t the man for the job. There are three facts about the song of the sea in Exodus 15.
- This is the oldest known song in history and the first song in scripture. The firsts of scripture are very significant. In Genesis 4:21 we have the first musical instrument, but no singing is recorded there. The fact that songs were composed and sung at this time in the Canaanite civilization is implied, but there is no mention of singing to the Lord. There was no singing of songs by Israel in Egypt among the brick kilns during Israel’s slavery. Have you noticed that atheism is song less?
- All the congregation sang the song with Moses. There was neither paid choir nor musician to do it for them. This song at the Red Sea was spontaneous praise. It came from the heart of the people and went to the heart of God. Unless you stand where Israel stood and feel what Israel felt you7 will never fully understand their emotional response. They could not sing in Egypt. Now they cannot keep from singing. Before they had been sighing in Egypt. Now at the Red Sea they were singing. Before they had been groaning under their burdens. Now they were glorying in the greatness of God.
- This song is a song of worship. It was sung unto the Lord, Genesis 15:1. This is what a true song of worship does. It exalts the Lord and not man. The Lord alone is worthy of our praise. Rev. 4:11, “Thou art worthy O Lord to receive glory and honor and power for Thou hast created all things and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” In Revelation chapter 5 we find the worthiness of the Lord extolled three times.
Rev. 5: 9-10, “Thou art worthy…Thou was slain, and has redeemed us to
God by the blood of every kindred and tongue and people and nation.”
Rev. 5:13, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches
and wisdom, and strength, and honor and glory and blessing.”
Rev. 5:13, “Blessing and honor, and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon
the throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”
We do not really worship the Lord unless His praises flow forth spontaneously from our lives. Worship is not something we generate by human effort. Why is that? Because the works of the flesh are unacceptable to God, Galatians 5:19-21. True worship is the outflow of God’s life within us. The spiritual life of any church can be quickly discovered by what they sing and the way they sing.
Ephesians 5:16, “Speaking to (among) yourselves, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
Colossians 3:15, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalm and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Judaism and Christianity are the only singing religions. All other religions have chants.
Truth: Of all the songs that have ever been written concerning the Christian faith, no one song nor all of them combined can adequately express what the redeemed of the Lord feels within.
Truth: The joy of a heart redeemed by God will always be greater than the song that seeks to express it.
It is “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” At the Red Sea that day every individual gave utterance to their feelings of gratitude to God. Never before on earth had praises been sung and never again would they not be sung.
II. Miriam and the Dancing Damsels of Israel
There is something about singing and dancing in worship that is contagious (verses 20-21). This is what Miriam at 87 years of age discovered that day beside the Red Sea. The Spirit of God started priming her worship pump and thanksgiving praise and worship began to flow forth like an artesian well. It soon moved from her mouth to her feet and she couldn’t keep them still and she started dancing before the Lord.
Truth: You just can’t be around some people before you start doing what they are doing and acting just like them.
The women of Israel discovered this to be true for they soon found themselves singing and dancing with Miriam. Miriam got beside herself in her worship that day. She didn’t care what Moses or anyone else thought, she really let her hair down so to speak. Her reaction to worship should be ours when we worship God. If in the church service your heart is overflowing with gratitude and thankfulness to God – let it flow. Don’t cap it off. Don’t be up tight about those around you. They might be ready to explode in worship themselves just like those around Miriam were. Just say, “excuse me, but the Lord has been priming my worship pump and I’ve just got to release it. Don’t blame me. Blame the One who is filling me up. If He fills me up it’s got to come out in worship to Him.”
III. A Word on Dancing
Dancing in the Spirit is not used in the scripture, but dancing before the Lord is a scripture expression. If heathen can worship false God’s in the dance and if the unbeliever can worship their “hero” in the dance – the believer should be able to worship the true God in the dance whether individually or collectively. There may be times when the Spirit of God will quicken and energize the believer in rejoicing to exalt, to leap, spring about, skip and jump before the Lord. There will be other times when an individual or group will do an orchestrated dance as an act of worship before the Lord (as an example, The Glory land Dancers).
When David danced at the return of the Ark he danced, he twirled, he leaped before the Lord. He joined the singers and he was beside himself with joy. In all things and at all times it is good to remember this injunction of Solomon, “to everything there is a season and a time” (Ecc. 3:4).
There is a time to dance.