Reading through Exodus with the full intent of capturing what lies hidden within the “white space” of the text, I was struck by Moses apparent and rapid transition from thanksgiving to vision just beyond the parting of the seas!
In the Song of Moses, there is no little exhalation going on, as he moves the hordes of fickle Israelites away from their awesome Red Sea moment. He seems to be discipling this privileged people in the art of gratitude given what has just happened: “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea.” (Ex. 15:4a NIV).
Yet, in the middle of this “song of praise” his thoughts turn toward what this vast multitude will be facing just days ahead. Barely on the heels of this great victory, he is already processing their future; long before the average Joe or Jill in the crowd.
“In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling.
The nations will hear and tremble;
anguish will grip the people of Philistia.
The chiefs of Edom will be terrified,
the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling,
the people of Canaan will melt away;
terror and dread will fall on them.
By the power of your arm
they will be as still as a stone—
until your people pass by, Lord,
until the people you bought pass by.” (15:13-16)
Leadership is grateful, humble but visionary. Vision is an in the moment thing, as timing is most critical for those less visionary.
Moses knows all too well that the reality of conquest and the pain of change will again raise its often ugly head. So he transitions their song of praise to include a word of prophetic protection, even naming the enemies that most have not even thought of! The people of Philistia, the chiefs of Edom, the leaders of Moab, the people of Canaan are his focus, no longer the Pharaohs!
As a leader, he captures their moment of victorious and exhilarating praise to further season their hearts for what would lie ahead. Though grateful to witness what always happens when one dares to trust an unseen God, he has not become lost in their moment of victory. As a leader he is already processing the challenges that lie ahead. He has not underestimated the mighty foes that stood between them and the promise, the ideal!
That’s what leaders do!
“You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling,
the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established.
“The Lord reigns
for ever and ever.” (15:17-18 NIV)