Recounting the miracle at the Red Sea when God destroyed the Egyptian army has led Moses to exalt the Lord for His great power (Ex. 15:1–10). The Creator and covenant Lord of Israel decisively did away with His enemies and the enemies of Israel when He crushed Pharaoh’s army under the waters of the sea (ch. 14). Yet as noted in Exodus 12:12, God’s liberation of His people from Egypt constituted not merely a defeat of human enemies but also a judgment on the gods of Egypt. Today’s passage considers that aspect of God’s victory.
Moses asks, “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?” (Ex. 15:11). It would be tempting to pass over this line quickly, viewing it only as poetic language that does not ascribe any kind of real existence to other “gods.” But Scripture will not let us do that. Many biblical texts refer to gods as if they are real beings (e.g., Ps. 96:4; 1 Cor. 8:5; Gal. 4:9), but of course other passages indicate that these gods are but “worthless idols” and speak of the Lord as the only God (e.g., 1 Chron. 16:26; 1 Tim. 1:17). Do we have a contradiction here? We can see that the answer is no once we understand biblical monotheism. This doctrine states that there is only one eternal, self-existent God who created all things (see Ps. 96:5; Isa. 45:21), but it does not deny the existence of other supernatural beings such as angels and demons. Other “gods” mentioned in Scripture have a real existence, though not as deities but rather as demons whom human beings have, knowingly or not, regarded as gods (see Deut. 32:17; 1 Cor. 10:20). So Moses’ question in Exodus 15:11 is not simply metaphorical; rather, the prophet compares God to other beings that are worshiped as gods. The expected answer to the question, of course, is “no one.” There is no one like the Lord among the gods (2 Sam. 7:22), and in fact God stands among the gods—various demons—not as their equal but above them as their Creator. He made the beings known as “gods” originally very good, but they fell and became His enemies (Gen. 1:31; Jude 6).
Today as we look at the various gods worshiped by the nations, including Islam’s Allah, Hindu deities such as Vishnu, and other so-called divine beings, we can recognize just as Moses did long ago that there is none like the Lord our God. The perfect holiness and mercy that characterize the God of the Bible do not belong to any other being. He alone is truly God.