Our Wonder-working God
(13) God, your way (is) holy. What god (is) great like our God? (14) You (are) the God who works wonders. You have made known your strength among the peoples. (15) You, with your arm, redeemed your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. (Selah) (16) When the waters saw you, God, when the waters saw you, they writhed. The depths (of the sea) convulsed. (17) The clouds poured out water. The skies resounded with thunder. Your arrows (of lightning) flashed back and forth. (18) The voice of your thunder (was) in the whirlwind. Your lightning lit up the world. The earth trembled and shook. (19) Your way (was) through the sea, your path through the great waters. Yet, your footprints were not known. (20) You led your people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
This final segment of the psalm makes explicit what the last two verses of the previous segment anticipated with the expressions “remembering” and “pondering” on God’s “wonders of long ago” (vss. 11 & 12). It provides a vivid recounting of God’s delivering his chosen people from Egypt in the Exodus under Moses. Note the four uses of “God” to establish who it was that delivered Israel (vss. 13, 14, & 16).
In verse 14, we find the “wonders” of verse 11 repeated to emphasize what God in the Exodus accomplished for his chosen people. The next verse gives us a summary statement, “you redeemed your people” (vs. 15). In the last five verses of the psalm, Asaph provides specific details regarding that deliverance (vss. 16-20). Note also how additional repetitions emphasize the wonder of God's mighty working: “when the waters saw you” (vs. 16) and “thunder”(vss. 17 & 18).
I. Ascription of praise to God (13-15)
- You are holy and incomparable. (13)
- You redeemed your people. (14 & 15)
II. Description of God's wonders (16-20)
- You parted the sea. (16-19)
- You led your people. (20)
Israel’s redemption in the Exodus stands as an everlasting testimony to God’s power and love for his chosen people.
More than once we have encountered this same rhetorical question: “Who is like you, O God?” The obvious answer has always encouraged those who have asked it amidst the difficulties and problems of their lives. When we, like Asaph, call to mind that there is no god like our God and how he has powerfully worked in days of old, we cannot help but take heart in our present difficulties.
There are reasons why at various times we experience what seems like God’s absence, his silence. It could be the result of unconfessed sin (Ps. 66:18), or it could be that we need his hand of discipline to correct us and bring us back from going astray (Hebrews 12). Perhaps, like Job, God has determined that our spiritual growth requires a time of unexplained testing, reversal, illness, loss of a loved one, so that we might learn more about his faithfulness. No matter the reason for the fog of confusion surrounding us at any given moment, we can be sure it will eventually dissipate in the light of his glorious purposes for our lives.
Let the words of this song by Matt Redman penetrate your heart with their encouragements: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, your perfect love is casting out fear; / And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life, I won’t turn back I know you are near; / And I will fear no evil, for my God is with me; and if my God is with me, whom then shall I fear? Whom then shall I fear? // O no, you never let go through the calm and through the storm; O no, you never let go in every high and every low; O no, you never let go; Lord, you never let go of me.”