You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy place. - Exodus 15:13
Do you ever feel worthless? Are you sometimes unsure about the direction of your life? Are you overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy about all you should do? Do you have anxiety about death and eternity? It's ok to admit it. It's just you and me here, and I struggle with those things sometimes, too.
I admit that I handpicked those questions to go with our text for today. But still, these matters are very common and valid concerns that most of us understand. Our text would be a good one to learn and remember to help when we're feeling low about such questions.
The Israelites had been wondrously delivered from Egyptian slavery, and miraculously delivered from Pharaoh and the Egyptian army at the Red Sea. Moses sang the words of our text in the thanksgiving praise that followed their deliverance.
Look at the text again. But this time think about the church, the people saved by the blood of Christ from the slavery of sin and their archenemy Satan. Think with me about four components of our life in Christ today that are here in Moses' ancient praise song.
Moses was singing about people who had been redeemed. They had been purchased out of slavery. God had intervened in their hopeless, helpless plight. He broke their bonds and set them free. The blood of a lamb marked them to be spared from the awful plague of death that last night in Egypt. Don't you hear the parallel in your life if you belong to Christ? You, too, have been freed from slavery. You were purchased with blood, too — the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Paul said that God purchased the church with his blood. That is true because the church is composed of all the individuals who were redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Moses also sang about how God led those redeemed people in his steadfast love. He literally, visibly led the Israelites by the pillar of cloud and fire that showed them the way to go. But he has promised his leadership to all people who are willing to deny self and follow Christ. Our Lord showed us by his example and taught us by our words how his kingdom people should live. His apostles and the inspired writers guided the first and all succeeding generations of Christians with their spoken and written words inspired by God himself.
God not only gives his people guidance in words. He guided these Israelites by his strength. When we grow to understand that our capacity to do good is powered by God himself working in us, we don't have to fall back on excuses about inadequacies and weaknesses. God has promised to work in our lives and on our behalf to accomplish his purpose for us. It's not all up to you by yourself. If you are redeemed by Christ and his Spirit lives in you, you will not be inadequate for the task or journey before you.
God was leading and guiding them to a place Moses described as "your holy abode." Maybe the idea was mostly about getting them to the promised land. Maybe it was about bringing them out of Egypt and his presence dwelling among them wherever they were. But you and I have light from the New Testament for a deeper understanding of Old Testament writers’ and worshipers’ words about God's house and living with him. We think about heaven and eternity. We think about being at home with him forever.
That ideal would never be possible if Christ had not redeemed us by his blood. His steadfast love is still steadfast and will still lead those who surrender their will to him. God has promised his power to guide and enable us as we surrender our will to his. And because we trust his love and leadership, we can be secure along the way, and confident about a home with him after our lives here are over.