Friday, May 11, 2012

Exodus 15:22-27... some thoughts

 Exodus 15:22-27 "So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.  And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?  And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,  And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.  And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters."

As you read through the book of Exodus it is easy to start to skim over the passages that just seem to tell the  day-to-day happenings of the Children of Israel's journey to the Promised Land. However, we must remind ourselves that the story of their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land was a physical example of our Spiritual journey from total depravity to life eternal with Jesus. There are many parallels that can be seen throughout the Israelites story but I wish to just touch on the ones I gleaned from this particular passage.

To put this is in context let me just refresh your memory of what was going on in Chapter15. The first part of the chapter is devoted to recording the songs of Moses and Miriam after God miraculously delivered them from the army of Pharaoh and lead them across the Red Sea. After this great celebration with singing and dancing it is time for the Children of Israel to move on. This is where these verses (22-27) enter the story. The Israelites have traveled through the wilderness with no water for 3 days and then when they get to Marah where there finally is water the water is undrinkable (bitter). The people immediately start complaining. Moses cries out to God and God shows him to cast a tree into the water and the waters become sweet. God, through Moses, then promises the people that if they will hear Him and keep His commandments then He will not punish them as He did the Egyptians. After that He leads them to Elim- an oasis.

This passage really spoke to me as it showed it a physical sense our spiritual journeys. God reaches down and brings us out of Egypt (our depraved state) and shows us the path to Eternal life. The journey is not easy, this life is a wilderness full of trials. However, God does not let us face the wilderness alone, if he did we would turn back to Egypt and the our life of sin just as the Israelites wanted to time and time again. Instead, God is not only with us, He is there protecting and leading us as a pillar of fire. 

He is there as we face seeming insurmountable opposition and just as He did with the Red Sea he opens a way for us to walk in the midst of it. It can be scary because even as we can feel the dry land beneath us and see the pillar of fire ahead of us we are tempted to look at the walls of water and think of what would happen if those waters came crashing down on us. Yet we know if we trust in the Lord and look to Him we will make it through this trial and come out on the other side unscathed. After coming through trials that bring us closer to God it is easy in that moment to turn to Him and trust Him with our whole heart. However, our faith will not be measured only by these good times but by the tough times as well. 

After this period of celebration, the Israelites are lead through the wilderness. They are still on their way to the Promised Land but God is testing their endurance. In our spiritual Journey, God will lead us through deserts and these are not to drive us away from Him in despair but are to draw us to Him as we pant for the "living water" of Christ. 

Eventually, the Israelites come upon some water in Marah. The lesson taught here is one not to be missed. After the trials of the wilderness, God has lead us to what we think should be a refreshing spot. But God is here showing us more of His wonder. The cup that he as prepared for us now is one we see as bitter and "unhealthy" yet God in His Providence uses it to pull us to Him. 
 The tree that God shows to Moses to redeem the situation reminds us that when Jesus died on the tree at Calvary, he drank the bitter cup reserved for us. And because of that the waters we are offered are sweet and refreshing. This is a great hope for us. We will never have to drink of the waters of death, Jesus has already taken that for us. 

After this amazing demonstration of God's power, He speaks to us and reminds that He will never leave us or forsake us, that He will never plague us with the plagues of sin (the Egyptians). Yet He also reminds us that  we are to follow His commands. After He has made this promise and the Israelites have accepted the condition, He leads them to an Oasis, a true resting place on the road to Eternal life in the Promised Land.

This Passage as a whole is one filled of Hope as it reminds us to look to God in ANY and ALL situations. God knows us, knows our hearts. He loves us. What may seem to us as bitter cup, He will turn to sweetness. He uses many means to accomplish His goals through us and if we are willing to be an empty vessel that He can fill with His Will, we can accomplish so much more than we could ever dream for His Kingdom

In Christ,
Mercy Faith Barrett