Sports teams have them. Soldiers sometimes sing them. And it turns out that Christians, too, have a victory chant—one that’s worth learning.
The Bible introduces the chant, fittingly, right after the victory at the Red Sea. Exodus tells us that God’s people saw his power over the Egyptians, were awed by it and strengthened in their faith, and then sang a song of praise. One line goes like this: “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Exodus 15:2).
Like a fight song that’s repeated game after game, that line from Exodus achieves victory chant status because it reappears later in the Bible. It’s part of Psalm 118, which praises God for his deliverance and for the One “who comes in the name of the Lord.” It’s also in Isaiah 12, which gives thanks for victory over Assyria and for the coming rule of a righteous King.
Note that both of those passages, like the salvation at the Red Sea, look forward to Christ. This is a chant for people whose eyes are on Jesus.
To avoid confusion, I need to point out that there’s another song called “Victory Chant” that’s popular in some churches these days. It’s a fine song that I’ve sung with kids. But I have a particular fondness for the victory chant from Exodus. Not only does it come straight from some of the Bible’s most clearly Christ-centered passages, it neatly sums up the fullness of our salvation when it says the Lord is our strength and our song.
The Lord our strength. Being in Christ means power over death and sin and evil. Part of this is the ultimate power that flows from our justification—the way we will triumph eternally in our glorified life with God. But strength in Christ is also ours now. We have new life in the Spirit and, with it, his help to resist sin and advance Christ’s kingdom. Salvation is all of this.
The Lord our song. Being in Christ also brings joy and a new identity. It makes us God’s dearly loved children; accepted, restored, listened to, cared for, appointed to be his ambassadors. We are brought into a circle of worship as family members eager to please our Father, not hired hands looking for a paycheck. Salvation is all of this too.
A Lord who is both our strength and our song means we live with both confidence and gratitude. We serve with both ability and eagerness. We are both empowered by Jesus and drawn to him in love. It’s important for us to see this strength and song of salvation—and to teach all of it in our work with kids—so that our view of Jesus and his work in us grows large.
As I began to write this article, I looked back over my lesson notes from times I’ve taught the Red Sea story. I know a tune that goes with the victory chant, but I couldn’t remember if I’d actually taught it to any kids recently. The answer: nope. My notes have no mention of it. I think the next time I teach about the Red Sea, I want to include it.
Thoughts? Please share or comment below. I love feedback and discussion—it’s how we learn from each other! (Pick any name you like, and no one but me will see your email address—and I won’t use it, I promise)