Old Testament Exodus Loftiest Description

Loftiest Description

Imagine a bustling city street filled with people from all walks of life, each engrossed in their own world as they navigate through the urban jungle. Among the throngs of pedestrians, you notice a peculiar sight—a young man clutching a smartphone in his hand, seemingly absorbed in its glowing screen. As you draw closer, you realize that he isn’t just scrolling through social media or checking emails. Instead, he’s fervently tapping away, interacting with a virtual man made deity that resides within the digital confines of his device. This “pocket god,” as he calls it, offers instant answers to life’s questions, quick fixes to problems, and a comforting presence whenever needed. But as you observe this scene unfold, you can’t help but ponder the absurdity of it all. How could anyone reduce the divine to a mere app, a customizable entity that fits neatly into the palm of one’s hand? This “pocket god” may offer convenience and control, but it pales in comparison to the boundless majesty and power of the true God as we read about in Scripture.

In a world where people seek instant gratification and easy solutions, it’s tempting to create gods in our own image—gods that cater to our desires and conform to our expectations. Yet, the God of the universe defies such categories. He cannot be confined to a screen or constrained by human limitations, or shaped from wood, gold or silver. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Creator of all things, whose glory transcends the confines of time and space. We are about to seek not to turn to an app to help us understand God but his word. As Stephen Charnock, a Puritan from the 17th century, said this about Exodus 15:11, “This verse is one of the loftiest descriptions of the majesty and excellency of God in the whole Scripture.” We are like children with a magnifying glass seeking to understand the entirety of the universe. However, we are not alone we have been given his word to teach and instruct us to learn about who God is and what we, as his creatures are to do to serve him. The People of God are singing praised to God after he has defeated the enemy on the east side of the Red Sea, saved from slavery, what can we learn about God in this one verse, and do we have this grasp of the God who saved them, or do we often have the pocket god that can fit in out pocket.

God is Incomparable

Twice in this passage, we encounter a rhetorical question, “Who is like you?” This simple question holds profound insights into our understanding of God. Genesis 1 begins by stating, “In the beginning, God.” God, the creator of all things, has existed for all eternity. This foundational truth, known as the creature-creator distinction, separates God from all other created things, visible and invisible. This is also referred to as the solidarity of God. While uniqueness is often associated with individuals, every person having their own DNA and fingerprints, similarities are readily observed, such as between a father and son or mother and daughter. Yet, this does not apply to God. While similarities exist within the category of creation, there is nothing comparable to God. “Who is like you?” Moses writes, as the people sing, affirming that there is no one like God. This theme recurs throughout Exodus, particularly in the signs and wonders of chapters 8 and 9, demonstrating that there is none like God. More specifically, it is not merely that there is a God, but that this God has a name: the proper name Lord, commonly referred to as Yahweh, the God who introduced himself to Moses at the burning bush, the God who made a covenant with Abraham. There is none like God, Yahweh.

Although humanity is made in the image of God, they are not specifically like God in all aspects. We share communicable attributes, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism explains, as man is made after God’s own image in knowledge, holiness, and righteousness. We see aspects in which mankind reflects God’s image. However, he is not God; he is made a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8). But there is none like God. God is incomparable. God is creator. No one else holds that title. God is infinite, eternal, unchangeable. No one else can claim these attributes. Even our descriptions of God often speak in terms of what He is not like because we lack the concepts or terminology to fully explain God.

We must understand then that our great downside and downfall since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden is this great exchange, as the Apostle Paul writes in Romans chapter one. In this exchange, we have traded the truth of God for a lie. His creation has worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator. As Paul describes, “who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25). The great exchange is the great downfall of His creation, specifically mankind. All creation was created to worship the one who created them. Creation was to bow down and adore the creator. Yet, as creations, we bow down to that which is created, not giving glory to the one who created all things for His glory. This is the great temptation that Christ Jesus faced in Matthew chapter 4. After fasting for a time and being tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Satan tempted him to bow down, but Jesus responded, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve” (Matthew 4:10). Even as we see here in verse 11, this incomparability of God is in comparison to the gods. Throughout Exodus, God demonstrates victory not only over Pharaoh and his army but over all the gods that the Egyptians had created. The Egyptians worshipped various gods for different aspects of life and creation, but they did not worship the one true living God, the creator of all things. Similarly, in our lives, we must be cautious and heed the warning that there is none like God, that God deserves all glory, honor, and praise. We are quick to exchange the truth about God for a lie, to worship the creation rather than the creator. We worship blessings which God has given us and elevate them, placing them amongst the gods. We must remember that there is none like God.

God is Holy

If we cannot grasp the concept of the solidarity of God, that God is incomparable, we will struggle to comprehend this simple phrase: God is holy. This attribute stands out, emphasized three times in succession in Isaiah 6:3, the only time an attribute is emphasized three times. In Isaiah 6:3, the seraphim cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” This emphasis on God’s holiness is significant and calls for our reflection.

In his book “The Holiness of God,” R.C. Sproul helps us understand the nature of our response to God’s holiness. He writes,

“But we still must tremble before our God. He is still holy. Our trembling is the tremor of awe and veneration, not the trembling of the coward or the pagan frightened by the rustling of a leaf. Luther explained it this way: We are to fear God not with a servile fear like that of a prisoner before his tormentor but as children who do not wish to displease their beloved Father.”

The message of the gospel does not diminish the holiness of God; rather, it heightens our awareness of it. It also provides a way, through Christ, for us to approach God’s presence with thanksgiving. God cannot be dissected or divided into parts as we can. We may lose an arm or a leg and still be ourselves, but removing an attribute from God is impossible. This is known as the simplicity of God. When we engage in worship, we behold God in all His splendor and majesty. We should respond with the same awe and reverence that the countless witnesses throughout history have displayed. Our approach to God remains the same—by faith. We should never assume that God is any less holy in the New Testament than He was in the Old. We come before Him with deep reverence and awe because of who He is. He does not change, but we implore Him to transform us, to enable us to grasp His holiness and our own sinfulness, and to make us holy as He is holy.

One aspect that often eludes us is the unchanging nature of God. He remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. The coming of Christ and the gospel message have not altered the essential attributes of God. His holiness remains unaltered. The declaration made by the seraphim in Isaiah 6 still rings true today. It is we who change, not God. This will be a critical point as we begin to understand God’s saving his people that they might be able to serve him specifically to be able to serve and him to become holy like he is holy as a law seeks to be able to separate the people of God from the people of the world. Through the work of Christ, we are seen as saints and are called to be holy, just as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

This attribute is often overlooked and misunderstood. However, Jonathan Edwards explains that the holiness of God is the ABC’s of our love for him,

“A true love to God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this, and no otherwise than as (according to our way of conceiving God) it derives its loveliness from this.”

God is Awesome

If we don’t understand the concept of holiness, we will struggle to comprehend the word “awesome.” This word has been misused in our current culture to describe something good or a step above good. However, “awesome” should evoke a sense of awe and wonder. Sometimes, the King James Version translates a word like this as “terrible,” such as in Psalm 47:2, which describes God, “The Lord most high is terrible; he is the great king over all the earth.” Here, “terrible” is used to convey fear and awe. However, it speaks of a sense of wonder and astonishment. Similarly, when we say that God is awesome, we mean that He is filled with awe and wonder. As we approach Him, fully grasping and understanding Him as the incomparable creator, the God who is holy and perfect, we, as His creatures, feel our finiteness and sinfulness, standing in awe and wonder of Him who has done these great and astonishing deeds. As we reflect on this passage in Exodus 15, we contemplate what God has done to bring His people to this point—not only saving them from slavery but delivering them from Pharaoh and his army by parting the Red Sea. God, the awesome wonder-working God, who delivered and saved them, who cast the horse and rider into the sea, who became the people’s salvation, their God whom they praise and exult. The Lord, the man of war, the Lord is His name.

There should be a great sense of awe and wonder when God’s people gather to worship the living and triune God. One key aspect often forgotten in today’s world is that we often think of God in human terms and understanding. Understanding that there is none like God, but also that this God is not only unique but holy. As we, God’s people, approach Him in worship, we do so with reverence and awe, for God is an all-consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29). When we gather together, we do not merely worship the space in which we dwell; we worship the God who made the heavens and the earth, who placed the stars in the sky and named them, who filled the oceans and skies with life, who placed man and creature on dry land, who causes the sun to rise and set, who created all things by His word and rules over all through His providence. The God who is all-knowing, ever-present, sovereign, almighty, glorious, holy, and true. We worship this God. There should be a great sense of weight upon our shoulders as we, His people, enter His presence, not a weight of guilt and shame, but a weight of whom we seek to worship. We are not worshipping a tree or anything made in creation; we are worshipping the great exalted God of all creation. There should be a sense of awe and wonder as we enter His courts with thanksgiving and praise. We worship an awesome God. By “awesome,” I do not mean that He is bad, for He is filled with goodness. I mean that we worship a God filled with awe and wonder. The Old Testament term to describe God’s glory is a sense of great weight, “kabod,” which speaks of how we should worship Him. The Psalmist writes, “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!” (Psalm 33:8). In the New Testament, we do not worship a different God; we worship the same true God revealed in the Old, but we come through the perfect mediation of Jesus Christ, no longer a type or a shadow. The New Testament author writes that we offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe.

God is Doing Wonders

Interestingly, the people of God proclaim that God is doing wonders. It seems strange that the people of God are singing of God doing wonders presently. Of course, we can look back throughout the story of Exodus and see that God has done many signs and wonders, such as recently crushing Pharaoh and his army by the Red Sea. Yet, here, the people proclaim that God is currently doing wonders and will continue to do wonders. God saves His people and continues to help them along their journey. We find a similar concept in Psalm 77:11, where the psalmist proclaims that he remembers the wonders God had done and then, in verse 14, declares that God is a God who works wonders. God’s wonders are not limited to the past; He is currently performing these extraordinary deeds. While we may not see the extent of miraculous signs as in the book of Exodus, God is still at work. This word speaks of miracles, extraordinary things, often used in the Old Testament only to describe God and what He has done or is about to do. The uniqueness of God is astonishing.

What is remarkable is that this same word is used to describe Christ Jesus in Isaiah 9:6, where Isaiah writes of Christ’s birth and the glorious titles given to Him. Specifically, Isaiah writes that Christ is the “wonderful counselor.” Here, we see the second person of the Trinity filled with wonder, doing wonderful things, primarily through His word. As the author of Hebrews begins, God spoke through the prophets in various ways, but now He has spoken through His Son. We see the wonderful counselor in Christ Jesus. In all these things, there is none like Christ, the God-man, the second person of the Trinity. He, as He put on flesh, is unique; there is no other. He is sinless, conceived of the Holy Spirit, sharing the very nature of God Himself. Christ is holy, as the disciples cry out, “You are the Holy One of Israel.” The disciples, initially fearful in the boat amidst the storm, are now in awe of the man before them. Christ, the God-man, who performs great wonders, the wonderful counselor, Prince of Peace. We worship this amazing God, revealed in this scripture passage.

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