The praise song The Horse and Rider- What it teaches us about the Joy of the Lord

Recently the praise song The Horse and Rider has been on my mind.  The song when sung is often done in a round. It is catchy tune but rarely have taken time to reflect more on the meaning of the little song.  Here are the lyrics (sadly could not find a video.)

THE HORSE AND RIDER:

I will sing unto the Lord
for He has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and rider thrown into the sea…

The Lord my God,
My strength and song
Is now become my victory.

The Lord is God
And I will praise Him,
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.

The song is based on Exodus 15:1-2 when God delivered Israel from Egypt in the Red Sea. It is known as the Victory song. It celebrates God supernaturally intervening and giving Victory. God served as the defender of His people who he brought out of the slavery of Egypt. It is no different for those of us who have become His children and entered into His Kingdom through Jesus.  God is our strength and our defense.  The enemies are powerless even if it looks like all  is lost and darkness will overwhelm and win.  God assure victory. In fact the ultimate victory has already been declared through the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

So reflecting on this there are simple facts clearly stated.  God is our strength and song.   God as our strength  easier to grasp. God is our defense, or shield our covering, our attack force, and so on.  All measure and concept of strength is found in God and He shows it on an ongoing basis. 

The harder to grasp concept is God is our song.  In thinking about this song really is about a response.  Now often the words have been used as shield and reference defense but the concept of praise and source of joy is also appropriate. In essence, a response to the difficult and trying times including times of wilderness call for response beyond self.   In a sense this song and passage really reflects the concept of the Joy of the Lord. 

It is also interesting that if you think about strength and song they reflect male and female characteristics.  Strength is masculine and denotes the ability to take initiative.  Responding to others  a feminine characteristic and the use of song reflects that.  So the song really points to God being our initiative and response. In Him alone is totality and the source of all strength. 

In this is His Joy,  God’s initiative and response, including Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Godhead fully engaged, fully relating to us.  There is nothing that can stand, ever.  This is the source of Joy in the Lord.  Nothing can stand before Him. Not mountain, not sea, not armies, not disease, not sin, not suffering,  not anger, not hate, not a thing. If we grasp even a wisp of the totality of God and His initiative and His response we have no other response but to rejoice.  In God alone is victory and it has been declared and demonstrated with All that God is, His entirety. 

Now, these thoughts come at an interesting time here.  Prayer and thought has been going into writing an article on coping with acute stress relation in part to minister to the Livesay’s and others.  The writing has not come easy, the words have not yet really flowed.  The thought is that may be in part because the starting point is the Victory Song.  That whatever we have endured, gone through God has been there.  He has been our strength and song.  In the midst He is there.  So whatever words I say that point to skills and means of coping, they would be empty without first this recognition.  For the Joy of the Lord is our strength. The Joy of the Lord is in His Victory and His Victory involves His totality in both initiation and response.  It is His Love which is so Amazing. So take time and Rejoice and Rejoice again.  For YHWH is our Strength and Song.  He is our victory.

Musings on Beginnings

Today is a beginning. It is a day marked off as the start of a New Year. The year 2010 in the Roman calendar has begun. Since it is a beginning, it is a good time to reflect on beginnings. Beginnings are actually constant. We move from one day to next, one minute to next, constantly encountering new beginnings.

In terms of the ultimate beginning, there are only really two options of belief. Either you believe that the ultimate beginning was initiated by a Creator, or your believe that the ultimate beginning just happened by random chance. What you believe about the ultimate beginning shapes your beliefs about the world and the nature of beginnings. Personally, the world of beginning having an initiated beginning makes more sense to this writer. A start point with intent and purpose is entirely different from a starting point based from meaninglessness. Now the view of their being an initiated beginning leads to thoughts about other beginnings.

The first beginning is that of the first sin. The beginning of man moving away from depending on God for instruction and direction is the story of Eve eating from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The eating of such fruit allowed for a turning from God to self-determination. Adam took and ate, both then hid from God and when confronted shifted blame. God spoke and started the consequences of the move away from God. We all know at the beginning of life, start separated from God and depending on self. This led to God implementing several other beginnings in order to implement His plan of reconciliation.

Another beginning that is important and played a role is God’s plan is God beginning the nation of Israel through Abraham. This nation, these people God chose to reflect directly His ways to the world and be the starting point of God’s reconciliation with humanity. God made a promise based on His relationship with Abraham. It was through that beginning that God brought another beginning, the Torah: a revelation of His ways and His self for not only all of Israel but for all of humanity. The Torah is the beginning even of God’s written revelation. The revelation serves to give a measurement of how we fail to live up to God’s holy standards and point ahead and illustrate God’s plan for reconciliation.

Now God’s plan of reconciliation is the beginning point of all of humanity being able to be at peace with God. The reconciliation came by Jesus who is God in the flesh, in order to fulfill the requirements needed to reconcile man and God died in an extreme form of capital punishment as an atoning sacrifice. The innocent standing in place of the guilty as a scapegoat giving each person a point at which reconciliation with God begins. It begins with an intentional act of self, to accept the gift of reconciliation and turn from self. Such a decision is but a beginning of an ongoing relationship with the Creator, the one who initiated all beginnings. So, please take time and begin reconciliation with God by turning in surrender of self and accepting the gift of having the consequences of your own self-dependence redeemed. He initiated it but it takes intentional receiving of the gift in order to establish.

Now one thing about beginnings is that beginnings lead to an end. There is a conclusion and purpose. There is order. God has provided revelation of what the ultimate ending is. We have the final chapter of the story of humanity on earth. The essence of day to day live is getting from the beginning to the end. Each beginning is part of the ongoing process of growing and resolving the story. Ultimately, the beginning and end all reside in Jesus who is both. Take time to begin that relationship. If you already have, find out what is the next step and next beginning in the unfolding story of your life as you push forward toward that which God began. Know that always “He that BEGAN a good work in YOU will be faithful to complete it.” In other words, that which God has initiated and put in motion in His workings in your life will continue until it reaches God’s conclusion. God will always ensure that what He seeks to be complete will occur for those that follow Him. God will always bring His initiated beginnings to His conclusion. So take time and reflect on God’s initiation in your life and your responses. Examine your own beginnings and the ongoing process of moving forward in growth. One last thought, remember that always in comparison with eternity we really are still just beginning.