Table of Contents
Contemplations on the First Canticle (Hos), the Song of Moses (Ex. 15).
Then Moses and the Israelites…
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously.
“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation” (Ps. 111:1). The children of Israel crossed the Red Sea by the mighty hand of God. The Lord Almighty has saved His people from the bondage of the Egyptians and has granted them freedom. For this reason, Moses and the children of Israel sang this Song while upon crossing.
Likewise, we too begin all things by praising our Creator, and thanking Him for His wonderful works and great mercy. For as the Israelites were saved from the Egyptians, as are we from the bondage of Satan and Sin, through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has triumphed gloriously over death and granted us freedom once again. Therefore, I shall praise with the congregation of the Church, as Moses praised with the children of Israel.
Horse and rider…
Horse and rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my might, and he has become my salvation.
“The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps. 27:1). The Lord God does not leave His children, for He hears our cry and delivers us. If the Lord is with me, whom shall I fear? Who or what is stronger or mightier than the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth? Therefore, I shall rely on Him to protect me from those who persecute me, and I shall seek Him in my afflictions. I shall cry to Him in my distress. I shall confess my weakness, and He shall lift me up and save me.
This is my God…
This is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
Who is like you O Lord? You are the Creator of all things, seen and unseen, the Maker of heaven and earth and all that is in them, the Author of Life, the Eternal God who loves us to death, the Savior of our souls, our hope and salvation, the Bread of Life, the Living Water, the Resurrection, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end! You are indeed worthy of glory and praise, and exaltation above all things. Therefore, we on earth join the angels and saints in heaven proclaiming and saying, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:11).
The Lord is a warrior…
The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea.
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine’” (Is. 43:1). The Lord surely fights on my behalf. I am weak without the Lord, but He is faithful and hears my cry. He fights the war of temptation inflicted upon me by the devil. He protects me from the adversary. He loves the sinner, and desires that He return to Him. Thus, I pray to You, O my God, help me in my distress, and loosen me from all the bonds of sin. As you have overthrown Pharaoh and his army, you have also conquered death and overthrown Satan, for my sake, the sinner. You are truly a loving God.
His picked officers…
His picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea. The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power – your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.
“You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand has supported me; your help has made me great” (Ps. 18:35). Indeed, you are a Mighty God, O Good One. You have overthrown Pharaoh’s army, his captains, and his chariots. In glory, Your right hand has destroyed them. We also pray to you, O Almighty One, to protect us from Satan, his devils, and his followers. We pray to you, O Most Powerful, disperse away from us all of the devils, disperse the enemies of the Church, and deliver us.
In the greatness of your majesty…
In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries; you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.
Who dares, O Lord, to rise up against You? Pharaoh foolishly rose up against You. He witnessed Your powers and Your glory in Egypt, but his heart did not head. Indeed, “One’s own folly leads to ruin, yet the heart rages against the Lord” (Prov. 19:3). Not only have You overcome the enemy, but You have done so with the greatness of Your excellence and glory, that all should witness the strength of Lord of powers.
At the blast…
At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up, the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
Surely, the Lord loves His people and protects them. The children of Israel saw two obstacles, the Red Sea before them and Pharaoh’s army behind. But the Lord plans our ways accordingly, for “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” (Prov. 16:9). He does not break His promises and is able to deliver, because His words are Truth. The Red Sea, which the Israelites saw as an obstacle, was in fact the way to their salvation. For through the Red Sea they passed on dry grounds. The Lord God protected His people as they walked between the walls of the Sea. He placed a cloud before Pharaoh’s army to deliver His loved ones.
The power of Pharaoh’s sword was as a leaf to a raging beast. His army, whom the Israelites also saw as an obstacle, was abolished completely. The same walls that protected His people came down upon the army and destroyed them. Indeed, He protects and saves!
Who can comprehend this great miracle? Truly He is the Creator of all things. All have witnessed the power and mercy of God. Who other than He can command the waters to rise and fall and to “be still”? Because of this, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds” (Ps. 9:1).
Who is like you…
Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders? You stretched out your right hand, the earth swallowed them. In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed; you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
O Merciful and Loving God, only You are able to deliver us from our pains, our sufferings, our persecutions, and our sins. The Power of Your hand is like no other. For who Lord is like You? Who among the gods can command nature? Who among the gods can wipe out an army by a single word? Who among the gods has strength, glory and honor? Only those who are fools choose to worship idols and vain gods. Ignorance and pride have blinded them from the true Lord and Savior. But we, Lord, seek You and call upon You for refuge, for You are our hope. Stretch out Your right hand and lift us up from our troubles. Take my right hand, O Lord, and guide me in Your way forever.
The peoples heard…
The peoples heard, they trembled; pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; trembling seized the leaders of Moab; all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away. Terror and dread fell upon them.
“May all kings fall down before him, all nations give him service” (Ps. 72:11). The Lord God is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). He is our King and Savior.
Many still labor and seek for themselves treasures on the earth, prospering and ruling over earthly matters. They are kings over the earthly matters. But we are not of this world. For Christ, out of His unconditional love, chose us to be His children. “You did not chose me but I chose you” (Jn. 15:16). He has granted me, the sinner, to join once more in Paradise. What could be more valuable to me than this? What is more precious than the Blood of our Lord and God, shed on the Cross for us? Why do we occupy ourselves with the earthly and temporary matters, forgetting about the heavenly and eternal place above? Strengthen us, our Savior, that we continue to strive in seeking that one true Heavenly Kingdom which You shall reign upon. “The world shall pass away with all its desires” and all the earthly treasures, but “the Lord will reign forever and ever” (Ex. 15:18). The kings of the earth will tremble at Your coming, and those who loved the world shall regret their lives. Strengthen us, O God, to watch and pray, that we who are unworthy may inherit the Kingdom of heaven. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42).
By the might of your arm…
By the might of your arm, they became still as a stone until your people, O Lord, passed by, until the people whom you acquired passed by.
“All were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Cor. 10:2). It is awesome how the Spirit reveals to us through Scripture the mighty works of the Lord. The crossing of the Red Sea and the protection of the cloud was a symbol of baptism and chrismation in the Old Testament. In crossing the Sea, the children of Israel were purchased by the Lord from the bondage of Pharaoh. Likewise, through baptism with water, we are cleansed from our sins, and through the Holy Oil of chrismation, we are “marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13). Through the shedding of His precious Blood, the Lord Christ has purchased us once again from the bondage of Satan. He has paid the price on our behalf. He has granted us to live once again.
I thank you my Lord Jesus, for purchasing my weak self from the bondage of Satan, for delivering me from eternal death. You have granted me once more to inherit life in the Kingdom of Heaven, for “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn. 3:5).
You brought them in…
You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession, the place, O Lord, that you made your abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established. The Lord will reign forever and ever.”
“I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:3). How wonderful is Your love and mercy, O our Lord and Savior? Although we still rebel and sin against You, Lord, and are not worthy of inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven, yet You still love us, and continue to fulfill Your promise. You are indeed the One, truly living, powerful and loving God. You have not forsaken Your creation which You have made with Your own hands. We are the ones who have gone astray and walked in the unrighteous path, but You, Lord, loved us, to the point of death on the Cross, that we once again return to You, and spend eternity in Your glorious presence. We will be granted to see what eyes have not seen, and hear what ears have not heard. No mind or thought can come close to imagining the glory of Your throne, as the multitude of angels and saints bow before You, and praise You continuously without ceasing. We have nothing to offer but this humble sacrifice of praise. We sing this song in remembrance of salvation that came through You. We ask You, O Good One, accept our prayers, and forgive us our many sins.
When the horses of Pharaoh…
When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his chariot drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.
How could the children of Israel walk on dry ground in the midst of the Sea? Was not this land covered with water? But this was to show the nations that the Lord is God! He has power over all things, and His mercy endures forever. Pharaoh and His army foolishly sought to walk on the ground and capture the children of God whom He had purchased. To His children, the depth of the walls of the Sea were protected them. As for Pharaoh’s army, they drowned in the depth of the waters. To His children, the dry ground was their haven, and the way to salvation, but to Pharaoh and His army, the dry ground became their graves. How could Pharaoh be so foolish and cold-hearted, and not heed to the Lord? After all the plagues in Egypt, and all what had happened at the shores of the Sea? Only pride could have led to this. “A person’s pride will bring humiliation, but one who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor” (Prov. 29:23). Let us ask the Lord to teach us the life of humility. Let us humble our hearts before Him at all times, for nothing is done without His command and permission. We are indeed nothing without the Lord; therefore, let us strive in fighting the pride in our lives, and let us offer our prayers and work to the Lord with humility and reverence.
Then the prophet Miriam…
Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.” Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously!
Yes, the Lord has triumphed gloriously! He saved the children of Israel from the bondage of Pharaoh, and from the life of slavery. Likewise, the Lord has died and rose from the dead, conquering death by His death, and has gloriously released our souls from the bondage of Satan and the life of Sin. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (Is. 25:8). I shall not fear my enemies. I shall not fear Satan and his powers, because the Lord has saved me. My Lord and my Savior has died for me, and has paid His blood to purchase me. Therefore, I shall praise Him with thanksgiving. I shall honor Him and glorify Him. I shall exalt Him above all things. He is the Lord of lords and King of kings. He is the Lord Almighty, the Creator of all things. He is my God, and has become my salvation. For this reason, I shall sing with the congregation of the faithful in joy and gladness:
“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously!”