Exodus 15

These small group studies of Exodus contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

Exodus 15 Inductive Bible Study

Outline:

I. Israel sings praises to God for His victory and salvation (1-21)

II. The people complain and God cleanses the waters (22-25)

III. God exhorts them to obey (26-27)

I. Israel sings praises to God for His victory and salvation (1-21)

Discussion Questions

Why did the Israelites sing this song? What does this show about their attitude at the time?

Fill in the blank. This was was a “song of ____.”

What do verses 1-2 show about their relationship to God?

Who did they give the credit for victory to?

What decision did they make at the end of verse 2?

Teaching Points

1. The Israelites said, “I WILL” sing to the Lord. They made a decision, a decision to praise God for what He had done. This was in response to God hurling the horse and the rider into the sea. The Israelites didn’t need to do anything except watch what God would do to save them. But they should be thankful to God and praise Him for it, and they did.

2. They said “He is highly exalted.” They recognized that God is the highest. It wasn’t their praise that made Him exalted. He already was exalted. Praising God is not lifting up higher because God is already the highest, the Supreme Power, and supremely holy. Praising Him is merely a recognition of who He is, and a confession of His rightful position. This is basically the difference between flattery and true praise. Flattery falsely lifts somebody up to where they don’t belong. True praise recognizes somebody’s genuine achievement.

3. The Israelites use the personal pronoun “my” four times in verse two. What does this show? It shows us that the LORD is their God. It denotes a close personal relationship and mutual attachment. It conveys a closeness that just saying “He is THE God” doesn’t. Do you view God as your God?

4. They also that their father is God. They knew they had the Father/Child relationship with God, a relationship that is expounded upon more in the NT in verses such as John 1:12. God is not everybody’s father. He is the father of believers. Why use this word “father” to depict the relationship they had with God?

Verses 3-5

Why did they spend so much of the song singing about the death of Pharaoh’s army?

1. They recognized the just side of God’s character and called Him a “warrior”. We don’t generally think of God as a warrior so what does this phrase mean to you? It means that God is not only loving and merciful. He can and will punish the sinners who reject Him. Also warriors protect their families so God will protect us too.

2.  They rejoiced about the victory God had over the Egyptians. They gave all the credit to God. It is very clear that all the credit belongs to God. Yet many times even when it is clear that God deserves the credit people take it for themselves. We should remember to always give God the credit for the successes in our lives. It is natural to rejoice in this type of victory. Imagine for example that Russia pointed all its nukes at Japan. Japanese citizens feared death and the destruction of the entire country. At the last minute God miraculously turns the missiles back and slams them into Russia. Will people cheer? Of course they will. This is human nature.

Verses 6-10

Discussion Questions

What methods did they use to praise God in these verses?

What lessons can we learn about what will happen to God’s enemies?

What is chaff?

What does verse 8 show us about God and nature?

What does verse 9 show about the hearts of the Egyptians?

Teaching Points

1. We see in these verses a lot words of praise for God. What words of praise can you find in verses 6-7? Discuss each one: “majestic in power” “your right hand shatters the enemy” “greatness of your excellence”.

2. God’s burning anger – God does get angry. There are many instances in Scripture where God gets angry. Examples? He gets angry over sin. He gets angry over rebellion. He has a great amount of patience, but when this patience runs out His anger is scorching and can destroy people very quickly. Always maintain a close relationship to God and repent of sin, follow God and He will not be angry with you.

3. They praised God’s control over nature. The Red Sea looked massive, wild, untamable. It was deep and wide. Yet God is depicted as merely blowing some wind from His nostrils and the sea is tamed and a path opens up. It is as easy as breathing for God. It doesn’t use up His strength and the level of difficult for this and all other miracles He does (from 1 to 10) is 1. He never has to exert Himself. Big and small obstacles are the same to God: nothing.

4. The Egyptians’ attitude is shown clearly in these verses. They desperately desired to catch the Israelites, to conquer them and get the spoil. They wanted to destroy them. Their hate was burning at record levels. But try as hard as they could, they could do nothing to the Israelites because God protected them.

Verses 11-13

Discussion Questions

How did they praise God in these verses?

The question in verse 11 is rhetorical. But how would you answer it? How is the LORD different than all other gods?

What were God’s motivations for saving them? (13)?

What are God’s motivations for saving us?

How did God help them after saving them from the Egyptians?

Teaching Points

1. How did they praise God in these verses? Firstly, they praised God for His superiority to all other gods and by implication His superiority to everything else. They asked some rhetorical questions and the answers are clear. There is no one like God. God already demonstrated this by humbling the Egyptian “gods” and magicians/priests. Go through each praise of God in these verses. The number of ways to praise God is unlimited because God is unlimited.

2. Verse 13 tells us God’s motivation for saving them. It wasn’t because they were lovable or deserved it. It wasn’t a reward. It was because of His mercy, because of His love. It was His choice to show this mercy to them to save them. Once He saved them He didn’t desert them. He continued to lead them. We can see this theme throughout the whole Old Testament. Even when man is unfaithful, God remains faithful. God never forgets and God never abandons His people.

3. Verse 13 also repeats use of the word “redeem”. God redeemed them from Egypt.

Verses 14-21

Discussion Questions

What effect did God’s miracles have on the peoples throughout the nearby lands, specifically the Promised Land?

Why were the Israelites called “Your people”?

What implications should the fact that they were the purchased have for them?

What place are they referring to in verse 17?

What role do you think Miriam had in all of this? What does the fact she was a prophetess show us about her?

Teaching Points

1. God’s miracles weren’t done in a vacuum. He had purposes for them even beyond Egypt and the Israelites. One of these purposes was to show His power to all the pagan nations in that area, especially the ones in the Promised Land where the Israelites were going. What words are used to describe the emotions of the people who heard of what God has done? “Tremble,” “anguish,” “dismay,” “trembling,” “melted,” “terror,” “dread,” and “motionless.” Get the picture? They were terrified. Their hearts melted away. It was as if they couldn’t move because of their fear. They heard what God had done. They knew He was the true God and their gods were nothing. Remember that God had said He did these miracles for the purpose of letting all nations know that He was the LORD. Now they did. But instead of repenting and turning to God, most of these people hardened their hearts further and refused to give in to what they knew was the truth.

2. Verse 17 says that God purchased them. They belonged to God. He owned them. This should give them even more motivation to serve God. As we learn in Romans 12:1-2, we should be living sacrifices to God. Give our lives to Him in response to all that He has done for us.

3. They believed that God would take them to the Promised Land. They had faith in the promises that God had made to Abraham about 700 years before. They believed this land was special and that God Himself would dwell there. This was true as God did dwell there first in the tabernacle and later in the temple. It was to be a sanctuary. This has two meanings. Firstly, it is a place of refuge. It was a place where they could be safe from the Egyptians and from all the countries around the. God would protect them. Secondly, it is a holy place. It was to be pure of all the pagan and evil practices of the cultures around them. It was to be their land forever throughout all generations.

4. Verses 18-20 are an editorials note in the middle of the song, reminding the readers of the reason for the song. Miriam is depicted as a prophetess. This is a special title given to only a few women in the Bible. It denotes their special role as messengers from God to the people around them. Miriam led the women in the singing. She seems to be the choir director for the women’s part of the chorus. It isn’t organized, but appears to be spontaneous worship.

Applications

Do you often praise God? How can you praise God? How can we improve in our praise to God? What can we learn from this song about how to praise God?

1. Discuss our own lives and if we are actively praising God. Praising God is something done publicly and privately. It is something done with our mouth, but also with our hearts. The music and tone of voice is not so important to God, but making a joyful noise is. What is the difference between praising God and being thankful to God? Praise is the fifth finger on the hand of prayer. Discuss ways we can improve our worship of God.

II. The people complain and God cleanses the waters (22-25)

How long did it take them to forget the amazing praises of this wonderful song? Why did they forget? What does this show us about them? Do you think their praises were real? Who named herself Marah in the Bible? Why?

Was grumbling the correct response in this situation? What should they have done instead of grumbling?

Are we sometimes like the Israelites, praising God in church on Sundays and then days later grumbling or forgetting what he has done for us? What is the solution? How can we praise God continually throughout the week? How can we maintain a heart of gratitude?

1. The Israelites were so emotional and excited and enthralled and joyful just three days before. Now they quickly forgot again all that God had done for them. This is just like when they were next to the Red Sea and the Egyptians were coming. Human’s fleshly nature is just like this. We quickly forget the good things that God has done for us and focus on the difficult things right in front of us. Grumbling and complaining is easier than being thankful.

2. God once again saved them in spite of their lack of faith and grumbling. We see God’s great and abundant mercy. Instead of wiping them out for the their lack of faith and short memories He graciously and quickly cleansed the water so that they could drink it. This was yet another miracle since no known tree can cleans polluted waters.

3. Applications: Discuss our own tendencies to complain and grumble. Let everyone list 1-2 things they are thankful for. Try to make time to spend time in prayer praising and thanking God one by one.

Study Exodus 16

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