The first time dancing is mentioned in the Bible is in Exodus 15. Do you remember the reason for the mention?
It was a victory dance.
In Exodus 15 the Hebrew women picked up their tambourines and began to sing and dance. Why? Because the house of Egypt lay in chaotic ruins on the other side of the sea. Yesterday the children of these women had been the property of the Egyptian gods, but today they were all free. Their children would not grow up as they had; not in a house of bondage; not as slaves, but as true sons and daughters in the household of Yahweh.
The Hebrew women led the victory dance even as the bloated bodies and busted chariots of the Egyptian soldiers continued to wash ashore. Unbelievably, even Rahab, the uncontrollable deity who patrolled the depths of the sea, was unable to stand against the Hebrew’s god.
Who of all the powers in heaven, on earth, or in the sea, was like Yahweh?
The Hebrews danced because their god had walked into the house of Egypt and done the impossible: Yahweh had tied up the Strong Man that was Egypt, plundered his house, and carried off his people and treasure. Yahweh had emasculated every Egyptian principality and power, rendering them powerless and putting them to shame. The god of the Hebrews had proven himself above all others gods in redeeming his people.
“Who among the gods is like Yahweh?”
And so the people of God can dance today, because Yahweh is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
We can dance because the house of Death lays in ruins on the other side of the cross. Yesterday we were slaves in the household of Death, but today we are called sons and daughters of God. Why? Because Jesus walked into the Strong Man’s house and plundered it, leading out a cloud of men, women, children – even animals – all of whom rightly belong to God. The Son of Yahweh redeemed his Father’s children from the house of Death and led them home.
You guys, there are two households in this world, and only two: The household of Death, and the household of Life. Each person created in God’s image is given the freedom to choose a Father and a family, but choose one we must. Because everyone has a Father. No one can set up his own household absent a Father. If we don’t count ourselves as belonging to God’s house, then we are counted by Father Death as belonging to his.
Understanding all this helps me to navigate some of the landscape around me today. In whose house do I live? Whose word will I obey? Who is able to secure my future? Who will concern himself over my needs? Who will protect me and my children? Who really cares about what’s best for me and is able to do something about it?
Living in God’s household means that there are some house-rules. God as Father has established a way in which he wants his family to operate. Love each other. Respect each other. Forgive each other. Concern yourself with everyone’s best interest. Be gentle, patient, self-controlled, honest. You get the picture. As Father, God wants order, joy, and shalom for his family.
And as father of the house of bondage, what does Death want? The house-rules in Death’s household are simple: Do whatever you want to each other, just make sure I’m always satisfied.
Life in the household of death is uncertain, chaotic, and dangerous, especially for children. It’s every person for himself doing whatever he sees fit to do. It’s weeping and gnashing and clawing and groaning. It’s misery. Why? Because the father of Death’s household doesn’t care about his children’s present or future. He only cares about himself.
And how does one get out of the household of Death? Someone from the household of Life must go in and rescue. It’s not enough to shout an invitation into the house from the front yard. We must follow the example of Jesus who went in to the Strong Man’s house to bring out those God wants to be with him – which is everyone!
But we don’t go alone. Like Moses and Aaron, we go into the house of Egypt with the Spirit of God and with each other. We go in to the house of bondage knowing that God can do the impossible. We go in to the house of Death knowing that our Father’s will is that no one would perish.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.…” (Luke 4)
Shalom to you and yours today as we dance in victory at all our God has done.
Who among the gods is like our God?