It was unique, had never taken place previously, and in the history of Israel would never happen again. With the Egyptian enemy in pursuit, 600,000 males, plus women and children, had been delivered from the cruel servitude which they had suffered at the hands of the mightiest nation on earth. The Red Sea had opened up before them but had engulfed the awesome military forces of the enemy who sought to pursue Israel and return them to their bondage. From this deliverance they came with mighty objectives; the land of Canaan had been promised to them as their dwelling place and the promise that the habitation they had to build for the Lord would be His dwelling place amongst them.
Truly, that morning, with all its joy, can be declared to have been "The Song of Faith's Morning" as the words which are found in Exodus 15 were to be heard from the joyful lips of a triumphant people. They did not need instruction in how they should sing, nor was it necessary to teach then the words to sing. Their hearts exulted in the liberty they now enjoyed, released from the pain and anguish of Egypt, and for the elation and prospects now theirs as they looked forward to the loving guidance of their God who had delivered them from slavery.
The prophet Jeremiah looked back on that glorious morning of deliverance as the word of the Lord came unto him: "I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown (Jer 2.2). The Lord remembered the warmth of devotion that marked Israel, but it is sad to note that this devotion did not long garrison the hearts and minds of the people. It was short lived, joy soon had gone, and this is a lesson that we must take to heart.
But how can we who have come to know the joy of salvation keep it vibrant? Consideration of Paul's letter to the Philippians is helpful. The epistle leaves us in no doubt that the behaviour of the Philippian believers caused him great joy: "Always", he writes, "in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy" (1.4). This is the only occasion when he stated that he prayed with joy. Note the emphasis on "always" and "all". Every request he made for them was with joy.
Paul, however, saw that this was also in the hearts of the Philippians. Paul was imprisoned but confident that he would be released, which he states would be for the "furtherance and joy of faith" (1.25) of the Philippians. The word "furtherance" is also used (1.12) regarding the spread of the gospel. It could be used of cutting up of the wood and other cumbrances of an impenetrable forest. Paul, therefore, uses the word to indicate the furtherance and spread of the gospel, but also the spiritual progress of the Philippians and the joy that was with them. As they made spiritual gain, their faith and the joy that went with it were marks of their progress.
A further request was made known by Paul - "Fulfil ye my joy" (2.2) - that is, they were to fill Paul's cup to the full. What, one may ask, would Paul ask them to do to fulfil his joy. The verses that follow give the answer. His joy will come to the brim the more he observes Christlikeness in the Philippians. The request is well presented: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (2.5), and the verses that follow (vv.6-16) are one of the great teaching lessons of Scripture. Greater Christlikeness gave Paul greater joy.
Thus no matter that lay ahead for Paul he states, "I joy, and rejoice with you all" (2.17), and the Philippians will joy and rejoice with him. The great deliverance from Egypt was powerfully carried out, but the joy of it was soon lost. Today we know of Calvary and the great work that was accomplished there. Let us not so live that the joy of salvation has dimmed, but rather continue to make the Scriptures the prime book, knowing that His joy and His promises will not fail.