Continuing in song, the Children of Israel give us glimpse of God’s capability in dealing with our enemies. Not only were Pharaoh’s chariots and his army cast into the sea, but the text also says, “the choicest of his officers” were drowned. Our enemies can put forth their very best – in personnel or efforts or technology – God can still defeat them all and always. (This theme resurfaces many years later in the account of David and Goliath – the very best the Philistines had to offer in their challenge to Israel.) The Bible goes on to say here in Exodus that the choicest of warriors went “down like a stone” that would never again come to the surface. When God is the One who truly destroys our enemies, they never resurface.
And then the song turns to pointing out some attributes of God Himself as the warrior. He has a ‘right’ hand that is majestically powerful. Perhaps the adjective was selected to impress upon us the fact that no one or no thing has more power, as “majesty” implies the highest in the land. And with this power, God not only destroys the enemy, but He ‘shatters’ him. In our English language, we have the range of marring something, or ruining it (from its original state), or destroying it (making it very difficult to repair as when after an accident, a vehicle is rendered to be ‘totaled’ or ‘a complete write off’), and then there’s “shattering” something or making it totally impossible to ever put back together again. That is what God does with our enemies.
Now knowing how God deals with the enemies of His children is enough to make any sane person not want to go against them. Something perhaps those who today have no use for the Jewish nation of Israel or for Christians, and who want to eliminate all of us, should well keep in mind. But even worse than that is how God deals with those who actually are arrogant enough to rise up directly against Him, and to scorn Him personally. Towards them, the text says, God applies the full force of the “greatness of His excellence” – the ultimate knockout-punch if you like. The song tells us God emits His “burning anger” towards them and they are “consumed like chaff”. I looked ‘chaff’ up in the dictionary to get a better idea of its meaning as a noun. Chaff can mean the husks of corn or other seed separated by winnowing or threshing; or chopped hay and straw used as fodder; or worthless things; or trash. What came to mind is that they all burn well. The tie-in of this image of how God deals with His own enemies may well be a prelude of what the rest of Scripture depicts as the fate of all who ultimately reject Him as Lord and Savior.
Finally, God uses His power to suspend at His will the very laws of nature He ordained and controla in order to defeat our enemies. In the case of the children of Israel, God breathes a blast and causes the waters that are normally subject to gravity, to pile up like a heap on either side of the passageway He opened for His children to cross the Red Sea on. The “deeps” that otherwise were there due to the depth of the water were no longer visible, for they were “congealed” or solidified (transformed if you like) into a solid upon which Moses led his congregation over.
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