We all know that feeling of dread as an unfamiliar song title appears on the projector screen, and an unfamiliar melody begins to play. Some of us church-goers have grown accustomed to this, yet some of us may still cringe a little bit. You might find yourself at a loss for what to do during this song: try and sing? hum along? just read the words?
This post is an explanation of why you would have to endure such hardship. We will be looking at a few of our newer songs, and why exactly, we are singing them.
Exodus is a story that is easy to connect with. The people of Israel endure times of lament, fear, anxious waiting, uncertainty over their security and future. God is weaving together the threads of their lives into a glorious picture, but Israel is struggling with God’s decisions.
Consider Israel’s newborn sons being murdered, or enslavement to the nation who previously celebrated you, or the most powerful man in the world determined to make your life a daily punishment.
I imagine if there was a song being whispered by the Israelites as they slaved in hardships, it may have resembled "Be Still My Soul."
Be still my soul the LORD is on your side
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to your God to order and provide
In every change God, faithful, will remain
Be still my soul, your best, your heavenly friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end
Be still my soul
In moments of trial, grief and pain, it is easy for us to disbelieve the truth just like the Israelites (5:20-23). "Be Still My Soul" is a sword to the belly of such lies. It is a combative song, meant to be deployed against the volley of lying arrows that befall us through thorny ways. I pray we would use it as such!
Exodus is absolutely riddled with displays of our Creator’s magnificent power: the burning bush, Moses’ miracles before Pharaoh, the plagues, passover, bread from heaven, the red sea... In the second book of the Bible, God is demonstrating His authority over all creation, including man.
We, like Moses, question God’s sensibility behind His commands (see 4:10-17). God will have none of this. "Behold Our God" is our reality check!
Who has held the oceans in his hand?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice!
Who has given counsel to the LORD?
Who can question any of His words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?
Behold our God!
This song encourages us to sit peacefully and joyfully under our God’s proven, good, Kingship. To let Him be the voice that will always guide us, and the object of our affection!
"Let Your Blood Plead For Me" is a song of testimony.
Lord how secure my conscience was
and felt no inward dread
I was alive, without the law
and thought my sins were dead
my hopes of heaven were firm and bright
but then your standard came
with a convincing power and light
to show how vile I am
In Exodus, God introduces the Law (Ex. 20). Seen rightly, the Law is a set of standards given to help His people understand how life should be lived. It is a diagnostic tool meant to be used to examine our lives and reveal to us the brokenness of our ways. It reveals to us our deficiency and need for aid! We cannot stand before God without guilt. We need redemption!
Redemption, however, does not come cheap. It requires the blood of another, as evidenced in the events of Passover (Ex. 12). A lamb is slaughtered, that the firstborn son may live. A nation is destroyed, that another nation may live.
But in no part of the story is this more important than at the cross. Jesus has freely offered Himself as the slaughtered lamb to all who seek redemption before God! In response to such marvelous news, we shall let the chorus ring:
Let your blood plead for me!
Let your blood wash me clean!
I believe! Lord I believe!
Your blood has covered me!