I merely mentioned in our last Lesson that both the Crossing of the Red Sea (under Moses’ leadership) and the subsequent crossing of the Jordan River (under Joshua’s leadership) were accompanied by beautiful Psalms, songs of praise in honor of God’s manifested Power!
No one doubts (or forgets) the great Psalm composed as Israel came up out of the Red Sea bed! Here’s the first “stanza” … “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.” Exodus 15:1-6, what Poetry!
But few even recognize the Psalm written to celebrate the additional (matching) miracle, the crossing of the Jordan River! No, it is not located in Joshua chapter 4, where one might have expected it! (The Holy Spirit is full of surprises, what an Author He is!) He rather places the “Jordan” song in the Psalter, the hymnbook of Israel.
I’m speaking of Psalm 114.
“1When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; 2 Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. 3 The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. 5 What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? 6 Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob; 8 Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.” I have left the verse numbers in place purposely.
A short Psalm, indeed, but sublimely beautiful!
Look at the last line of verse 3 … “JORDAN WAS DRIVEN BACK!” That’s exactly what happened too, the Jordan flowing southward, God “made the upriver waters stand in a heap!” Driving them backward, literally! (Read it: “The waters which came down from above stood and ROSE UP UPON AN HEAP very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.” Joshua 3:16)
Now look again at our Psalm, verse 5: “WHAT AILETH THEE … THOU JORDAN, THAT THOU WAST DRIVEN BACK?” Nature (as they say) in total obedience to God!
This Hymn (Psalm 114) is clearly obeying a principle of Grace … praising God for His wonderful works! “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for HIS WONDERFUL WORKS to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8
The Red Sea dried up … and the triumphant Exodus 15 Song was born!
The Jordan parted … and (at least part of) Psalm 114 was conceived!
God’s people have a song … always!
Even in the “night!” (See Job 35:10 … “God my maker, who giveth songs in the night.” That’s Him!)
But songs galore in times of victory … “The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” Psalm 126:3
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
Sing to HIM Today!