Track 1 - Deliverance

Slavery is a distant memory for our culture and one we would like to forget. Yet it is no surprise that the American slaves embraced the images of the Exodus to provide hope and relief during their time of bondage. Sadly, slavery is still with us today but hidden among our neighborhoods and countries throughout the world. Today there are more slaves in the world than at any other time in history. This is not metaphorical slavery but true captivity where people are treated as chattel and property and deprived of any outward freedoms.

Louis Etongwe rescues people from slavery in Virginia and Maryland. This is not slavery from the old south but from modern America. His stories are harrowing, but touching as this modern day Moses delivers people from hidden enslavement.

This modern story of slavery leads us directly into the first Biblical ode. Understanding the slaves of the American past and knowing the stories of deliverance among modern slaves, can help us tap into the emotion of the ancient Hebrews as they stepped onto the shores of the Red Sea. Looking back at their former masters swallowed beneath the waves, the reality of their freedom was complete. For many may never have known a time when they were not in bondage, but now they were free. Moses had promised this day but certainly doubts persisted. The crashing of Pharaoh's chariots in the Red Sea confirmed their hopes. Their salve masters would haunt them no more. The relief and deliverance forced up a cry of rejoicing from their hearts and this song of deliverance is the first in our soundtrack for life.

The Ode of Moses in Exodus (Exodus 15:1-19)

15:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song to God and spoke, saying: Let us sing to the Lord, for he is very greatly glorified: horse and rider he has thrown into the sea. 2 He was to me a helper and protector for salvation: this is my God and I will glorify him; my father’s God and I will exalt him. 3 The Lord bringing wars to nought, the Lord is his name. 4 He has cast the chariots of Pharaoh and his host into the sea, the chosen mounted captains: they were swallowed up in the Red Sea. 5 He covered them with the sea: they sank to the depth like a stone. 6 Your right hand, O God, has been glorified in strength; your right hand, O God, has broken the enemies. 7 And in the abundance of your glory you have broken the adversaries to pieces: you sent forth your wrath, it devoured them as stubble. 8 And by the breath of your anger the water parted asunder; the waters were congealed as a wall, the waves were congealed in the midst of the sea. 9 The enemy said: I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoils; I will satisfy my soul, I will destroy with my sword, my hand shall have dominion. 10 You sent forth your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty water. 11 Who is like to you among the gods, O Lord? Who is like to you? Glorified in holiness, marvelous in glories, doing wonders. 12 You stretch forth your right hand, the earth swallowed them up. 13 You have guided in your righteousness this your people whom you have redeemed, by your strength you have called them into your holy resting-place. 14 The nations heard and were angry, pangs have seized on the dwellers among the Phylistines. 15 Then the princes of Edom and the chiefs of the Moabites hasted; trembling took hold upon them, all the inhabitants of C’anaan melted away. 16 Let trembling and fear fall upon them; by the greatness of your arm, let them become as stone; till your people pass over, O Lord, till this your people pass over, whom you have purchased. 17. bring them in and plant them in the mountain of their inheritance, in your prepared habitation, which you, O Lord, have prepared; the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have made ready. 18 The Lord reigns unto ages of ages and ever. 19 For the horse of Pharaoh went in with the chariots and horsemen into the sea and the Lord brought upon them the water of the sea, but the children of Israel walked through dry land in the midst of the sea.
These songs are primarily sung during Matins and it is to the various canons we can turn for commentary. The overarching theme is God's deliverance from bondage, and His triumph over evil. Thankfully most of us in the West have never experienced literal bondage and slavery, yet bondage is the unfortunate state of mankind after the fall of Man. The power of Exodus points to these spiritual realities that threaten to engulf humanity into a living and eternal darkness were it not for the hand of our Savior.

God's deliverance and triumph is retold in at least four major ways throughout this song.

1. Triumph over the bondage of sin.

2. Triumph over the bondage of affliction.

3. Triumph over death.

4. God is a God of deliverance.

This last point summarizes God's actions in this hymn. He is a God of deliverance. Because we have been delivered by Him, we are called as the Church to join in this ministry of deliverance.

Theron Mathis

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