Exodus 15:1-21

Exodus 15:1-21


Ask God to guide your discussions and to experience his presence as you read his word together.

Recount when you no longer had to carry a heavy burden or you completed what seemed like an impossible task. How did you respond? What feelings did you experience? Was there joy? Relief? Celebration? Was it an event or moment where you could see God clearly in your life? Why or why not?

The book of Exodus continues the story of Genesis. In a nutshell, Genesis tells the story of how God created the heavens and the earth, and everything God created was good.

At the pinnacle of this good world, God created humanity to live in a perfect love relationship with him and to image his glory to the world. The first man and woman were given a mission: to multiply and fill the earth with image-bearers of God so that the glory of God would cover the earth like the waters cover the sea (Gen 1:26-27). But an enemy crept into God’s creation, that ancient serpent, the Devil. And he deceived the man and woman, and the world was plunged into sin and death. God promised that one day a descendant of Eve would come as a deliverer, and he would crush the serpent’s head and lead humanity back into God’s presence forever. But until that day, there would be a battle between the Serpent's descendants and Eve's descendants (Gen 3:15).

The rest of Genesis tells the story of how God began to fulfill this redemptive promise through a specific descendant of Eve named Abraham. God came to Abraham and promised that through his family line, all the peoples of the world would be blessed (Gen 12:1-3). In other words, God was telling Abraham that the promised descendant of Eve, who would crush the serpent’s head and bring humanity back to God, would come through his line. Abraham had a son named Isaac, and Isaac had a son named Jacob, and Jacob had twelve sons, and God began fulfilling this redemptive promise.

But Genesis ends with a threat. A famine comes upon the land, and this family, chosen to be the family through whom the deliverer would come, is threatened with extinction. It appears that God’s promises hang in the balance. So they flee to Egypt and find relief there for the next 400 years. The chosen family is spared. This is where Exodus picks up. 

The Israelites have just crossed the Red Sea and been delivered from the heavy hand of Pharaoh. Chapter 15 is a song of worshipful response to the Lord. The worship Pharaoh desired from the Israelites was given to God, who rightly deserved it.


Read Exodus Chapter 15:1-21 aloud.


  • Begin by examining the text together. What do you notice? What stands out? Who are the main characters? How are they characterized in the passage? What is surprising or hard to understand?1
  • This passage can be divided into three sections: Victory Past, The Lord’s Hand, and Victory Future. Let’s examine them in that order. 
  • Victory Past (V. 1-5) - What does Yahweh do for his people? What does Yahweh do to his foes? What does this reveal to us about God? 
  • The Lord’s Hand (v. 6-13) -The ‘hand of God’ represents personal intervention and action. Based on verses 6-13, what did God do? How is he described? What are the specific things he does for Israel? 
  • Victory Future (v. 14-18) - God’s promises and actions do not end with the Exodus. What does God promise Israel in the future? What is God’s reputation with his people? What about his foes? How does future victory continue to play out in the grand narrative of Scripture?


  • The departure from Egypt and crossing the Red Sea were not orchestrated or accomplished by human means. From beginning to end, it was 100% God. Israel recognized that all that occurred in their lives could have only happened from a loving, powerful God. Do you struggle to give God the glory for what he does in your life? If so, how could you make changes to honor, glorify, and worship God for what he does in your life? 
  • The Israelites were under harsh slavery under Pharaoh. The crossing of the Red Sea brought them significant relief and freedom. They celebrate by worshiping God. Where in your life do you feel less than free? Do you believe God, through the work of Christ and the indwelling Spirit, can bring you relief and freedom? 


Instead of prayer, read the Doxology aloud or sing together as a group (ideally, sing!).
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
 1Example Observations:
  • This is a song of communal worship, not just Moses or a few people, but all of Israel (v.1)
  • The song centers on the triumph or victory of the Lord over Egypt. (v. 1)
  • Pay attention to all the descriptors of who God is throughout the song. 
  • God’s right hand (v. 6) represents personal intervention and action.
  • God, as in the rest of Exodus, has power over the Cosmos and the created order (v. 8 +10)
  • ‘Who is like you, O Lord’ isn’t so much a question as it is a declaration of supreme deity. (v. 11)
  • Take note of all of the 2nd person pronouns in v. 11-18. 
  • Notice the shift to the future in 14-18. 
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