by Connie J. Horn
“And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD” (Psalm 40:3).
Over fifty times in the Bible the phrase “sing unto the Lord” or “sing unto Him” is used. The singing in thirteen other Old Testament verses is directed to the Lord in praise “to the name of the LORD most high” (Psalm 7:17), “praises to His name” (Psalm 68:4), “to the God of Jacob” (Psalm 75:9), and in prayer (Jeremiah 31:7). Still more verses (at least nine) sing and praise His power (Psalm 21:13), His righteousness (Psalm 51:14), His mercy (Psalm 59:16), and the honor of His name (Psalm 66:2).
Exodus 15:1–19 records Moses’ song after the crossing of the Red Sea. The song begins with fourteen third-person references to the Lord: He, God, Him, the LORD, and His. The song then shifts from singing about the Lord to singing directly to Him. Second-person references (i.e., “Thy,” “O LORD,” “Thine,” “Thou” and “Thee”) occur no less than thirty-four times in the next twelve verses. God’s actions and attributes comprise the majority of the song’s content: “He hath triumphed gloriously” (15:1); “Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power” (15:6); “Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders” (15:11); etc. God is not only the subject of Moses’ song, but the one to whom it is directed.
Moses sang a song of praise as he began his journey, and ended with a song that taught and admonished God’s children (see Deuteronomy 32; Colossians 3:16). God’s standard for Christian music is His word, and we are admonished to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of (our) mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying (building), that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). CJH