Sunday, August 4, 2013

Miracles In The Wilderness Series - Lesson 13 - Bitter Water, Bitter Trials, and A Time of Refreshing

Seriously, are we still talking about the undrinkable water at Marah? Yes, and I’ll tell you why. This miracle marks the beginning of Israel’s new life, as the cross marks the beginning of our new life.

After their symbolic death and burial, three days later Israel emerged from this grave and the bondage of Egypt, to face toxic water. Drinking poisonous water would send them back to the grave forever, so they complained against Moses and he cried out to the Lord. This grace-filled God heard their cry and ended their pain with Tree-healed, sweet water.

Even though the bitter waters of Marah may have represented Israel’s attitude, scholars believe they also signify life’s “bitter” trials.


Three days without water is a bitter physical trial. But today, most of our trials are emotional and spiritual. Nevertheless, when Christ enters the picture, any trial becomes sweet.

With Jesus, we can rejoice in trials, because enduring them makes us more determined. In Christ, our determination to emerge victorious enhances our moral fiber and integrity, leading to expectation, optimism, and hope. Hope, because when we look to Jesus in every trial, God’s glorious Holy Spirit fills our heart with His love and then we can see the glimmer of light to end our darkness. (Romans 5:3-5)

So, how do we obtain and retain that mindset when we are in the middle of a physical, spiritual, or emotional crisis?

First, do exactly what Moses did at Marah – cry to the Lord for help. Then, truly believe God’s word and drink His sweet water. If He says, do not fear and He will be with you, upholding you with His righteous right hand, walking with you through the physical and emotional fire and flood, believe Him. Trust He will guide your steps and direct your path. Remember, He has already overcome the world for you. (Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 43:1-3; Proverbs 3:5-6; John 16:33)

In Israel’s case, God lead them to Marah because He wanted them to learn to look to Him in the midst of any trial. However, He also wanted them to comprehend strict obedience is necessary in a dangerous and unfamiliar wilderness, and impossible without Him.

Human nature being what it is, when we are desperate we'll consent to obey any command or statute as long as God takes away the pain.

Unfortunately, when we are out of danger, our tendency is to renege.

It was no different for Israel 4,000 years ago.

Still, that day, drinking Tree-healed waters, Israel caught a glimpse of God’s amazing character. He is a God who desires holiness in His children and provides healing. And although Israel could not fully understand, this longsuffering God who is not willing for any to perish, but wants all to come to repentance, led them to Elim.

At Elim, Jehovah-rapha provided twelve wells of water – one for each tribe and seventy palm trees full of dates.

What a time of refreshing and rejoicing in the greatness of God. He gave exceedingly abundantly above all Israel could ask or even think, just as He does for us. (Ephesians 3:20)

Are you going through a trial and desperately need a time of refreshing? Then please, look to Jesus. (Acts 3:19)

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