After numerous warnings from God for Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free from 400 years of slavery – coupled by Ten Plagues which devastated the Egyptian landscape – the Israelites are finally free and sent on their way. (Actually – the Egyptians PAID them to leave in the end… huge implications there!).

Reading on we find the Israelites seemingly trapped on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula – between the approaching Egyptian army and the Red Sea. But, once again, God proves He is the Defender of His people (noticing a theme?) – and they escape across dry land as the entire Egyptian army drowns.

(Side Note: The picture used is a picture of a beautifully preserved chariot wheel found at the bottom of the Red Sea!)

In Chapter 15, after this dramatic showing of God’s mighty power, Moses breaks out in song (backed up by the children of Israel singers). Then his sister, Miriam, grabs her tambourine and begins to dance across the desert floor. That is the natural human reaction to God’s intervention – to dance!

But it is what happens at the end of this chapter that I want to focus a bit on. The Israelites journey from the Red Sea into the Desert of Shur. They travel for three days (33 miles) and find no water. Things begin to get fearful for this group of ex-slaves… still fresh from Egypt and learning to trust in God’s protection/provision.

They begin to grumble.

They begin to complain.

At Marah they find only bitterness (strangely reminiscent of Egypt) (vs 22-24).

Then God has Moses perform the strange act of tossing a stick in the bitter waters of Marah (vs25)– which causes them to be made sweet and drinkable. That stick becomes a huge foreshadow of another stick – in fact – a cross which will one day hold the body of God Himself. Jesus comes to enter the bitterness of our lives and make them sweet, drinkable, life-saving.

Right after that lesson – God reminds His newly forming nation that He is NOT a destroyer – He is a Healer. (vs 26) Those who get destroyed are the ones who fail to live their lives according to His instruction. But those who heed to what He tells them to do will find Life! He is the God who heals. He isn’t sending sickness to them – He isn’t making life bitter – He is doing the very opposite!

Funny how much of our doctrines speak a different language then that.

Sickness, bitterness, difficulty comes when I attempt to steer my life along my own road map. When I make choices which fall outside of how the Creator created life to be lived. When I do that – a find myself again and again returning to the bitter waters of Marah. BUT – when I place my trust in the cross and the powerful work that was done there – the bitter waters of my situation turn sweet once again!

Then – as I journey with Him as my Guide – I arrive at Elim (vs 27)… 12 Springs… fresh water… 70 palm trees… and a guy in the corner hut playing a ukelele. Plenty to go around for everyone!

That’s our God!

Be Fruitful & Multiply,