Question: "What does it mean that "the Lord is my strength and my song" (Exodus 15:2)?"
Answer: After God led the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, and after He delivered the people through the miracle at the Red Sea, Moses and the people of Israel praised God, their deliverer, in song (Exodus 15:1). That song included the assertion that “the Lord is my strength and my song” (Exodus 15:2). For more than four hundred years, the people of Israel had longed for freedom but did not have the strength to deliver themselves. At the proper time God brought about their deliverance, and in this moment of thanksgiving, the people acknowledged that He was their strength.
Later, after God led the people of Israel through the wilderness for forty years (as a judgment for their unbelief and stubbornness), Moses reminded the people that God had provided for them with manna (a bread-like substance from heaven) so that they would recognize that God was their strength and sustenance, and that their subsistence and wealth were not of their own making (Deuteronomy 8:17). God was doing good for Israel, helping them to have humility and recognize that God was their strength—they shouldn’t look to themselves and their own strength.
The psalmist in Psalm 18:1 recognizes God as “my strength” and expands that concept, lauding Him as the psalmist’s rock, fortress, and deliverer (Psalm 18:2). David calls God his strength and his shield (Psalm 28:7). He proclaims in song that he will sing of God’s strength and praises God who is his strength (Psalm 59:16–17). In these passages we see the close relationship between God being our strength and His being worthy of praise in song. In Moses and Israel’s Exodus 15 song, they sing that “the Lord is my strength and my song.” If not for God’s strength exerted on behalf of Israel, Israel would have no song. In fact, they wouldn’t have even been alive to sing a song.
God had delivered Israel miraculously, and, for the moment at least, the nation was grateful and praised Him, acknowledging Him as their strength and song. Sometimes in our own lives we fail to see how great and beneficial are God’s works in our lives, and we either credit ourselves for our successes or we simply don’t acknowledge Him. How sad that we might think for even a moment that our strength is our own, when everything we have is from Him.