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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

August 2, 2017

Exodus  15:22-27

  1. Opening icebreaker. What are some regular songs we sing in church? How are those songs supposed to strengthen our faith? List three songs you know and one way they are supposed to help you.

  2. Verses 22-27. We pick up from last week after the Israelites were led in song by Moses and Miriam. The song which the Israelites sang also serves to remind us that God is both able and willing to help us in our time of need. The Israelites traveled on their way from the shores of the Red Sea, entering into the Desert of Shur for three days. They found no water. This does not mean they had no water to drink, but their supplies would have been limited, and they would have had to ration them carefully. The people were no doubt anxious about their water supply as they came to Marah (bitter). Seeing the waters at Marah must have brought great rejoicing to the Israelites. Their thirst, they thought, would be quenched, their cattle could be watered, and their reserves replenished. What a disappointment it must have been to discover that the waters were bitter, and thus unfit for consumption. They just had a victory, and now they are facing a bitter disappointing situation. How do you respond when you come upon a bitter situation in life? Let's be real. Many of us have let bitter situations turn us bitter. Their joy at discovering water turned quickly to anger at Moses for leading them to such a place. How could Moses have bungled this matter so badly? They did not hesitate to place the responsibility for this blunder squarely on the shoulders of their leader-Moses. They demanded that he come up with a solution. Moses cried out to the Lord, who showed him a piece of wood, which he cast into the water, causing it to become sweet. This phenomenon is not explained, but the wood made the water clean to drink. What is interesting about this is that the solution was right there. The people were crying and complaining, but the solution was right there. Instead of complaining they should have simply requested how God do we fix this problem in faith, rather than complaining in fear? God had placed the fix to their problem near the bitter waters. Just maybe God has already placed your solution near your problem. Has anyone ever experienced this?

  3. The incident at Marah was divinely designed as a test of Israel's faith (v. 25), and as a teaching tool (v. 26). By Israel's protest against Moses, the people had revealed their lack of faith and hardness of heart. They were deserving of the same plagues which God had brought upon the Egyptians. If the Israelites would obey Him (which, I take it, meant to obey the leadership of Moses) God would keep the plagues of Egypt from falling upon them. Just as the Lord “healed” the bitter waters of Marah, making them sweet, so He would be Israel's healer, if they would but obey. Having brought this message home to the people in verse 26, God says he is their RAPHA, which means healer. God is telling them that he is the one that fixes things. Healing is about restoring things. God sent them to a place of bitterness to show them he was a healer. Interesting enough God shows us that even if we find it broken and bitter, it can become sweet and whole. God then led them on to Elim, where there was an ample supply of water. Here they camped, and gained needed refreshment from the water of the springs and the shade of the trees (v. 27). God tested the people before he sent them to a place of plenty.

  4. While this chapter appears to have two very distinct accounts, there is good reason for the fact that Moses has placed them side by side. The “Song of the Sea”/Praise and the “Bitter waters of Marah”/complaint are contrasting accounts, but accounts which have a direct relationship to each other. Two observations are crucial to our understanding the relationship between the praises of Israel in the “Song of the Sea” (vss. 1-21) and the complaints of Israel at Marah (vss. 22-26).

    1. (1) The Israelites failed to see the relationship between the affirmation of their faith in their worship (vss. 1-21) and the application of their faith in their daily walk (vss. 22-26). Israel had just proclaimed her faith in God as her warrior (15:3), but she was unable to trust in God as her provider (15:22-26). The Israelites should have been able to apply the faith they affirmed in the earlier song to their dilemma at the waters of Marah, but they did not. The problem which Israel illustrates is also one of the greatest problems of Christians in every age, including our own. We sing, “Great ls Thy Faithfulness,” and then go our ways fretting and worrying about the petty details of our lives, as though God was not faithful at all. The point is simply this. Let's not sing about it and not stand on it.

    2. (2) Not only did Israel fail to apply their faith to their situation at Marah, they failed to even see the problem as being spiritual. In the text we read that the Israelites protested against Moses, not against God (v. 24). The Israelites forgot that the pillar of cloud was still guiding them (cf. 13:21-22), and that God Himself was present with them in the cloud. If they were wrongly led, God led them wrongly by the cloud. The Israelites failed to understand that if God promised to bring them safely out of Egypt and into the land of Canaan, any obstacle which would hinder, He could overcome. At the Red Sea, Israel should have learned that God was able to overcome any obstacle (such as the Red Sea, which He parted) or any opponent (such as the Egyptians, which He drowned in the Red Sea--the obstacle). Thus, while the Israelites sang that God was going to overcome their opponents (the Canaanites) they did not grasp the fact that He would also overcome all the obstacles to their entrance into Canaan (such as the bitter waters of Marah).

    3. How often we fall into the very same trap? We forget how able God is. One reason why we fail to view our problems as an occasion for faith is that we have become accustomed to living by scientific principles rather than spiritual principles. The scientific method is a good method--for matters of science. But it is incompatible when it comes to matters of faith. Here, the scientific method must be set aside (not scrapped, but set aside). Scientific principles are essential for scientific purposes. One does not, for example, design an airplane, load it full of people, and hope that it flies. It must pass a rigorous series of tests and be proven functional and reliable. The scientific method requires that every scientific fact be proven, being performed under controlled conditions, having hard empirical evidence, and being repeatable, time after time. The spiritual method is different The spiritual method observes what God has done, accepting the event on face value, governed and qualified by the divine revelation which accompanies the phenomenon. The spiritual method then views the event as a manifestation of the character of God. On the basis of God's character, (as consistent with biblical descriptions of His character elsewhere) the Christian then looks at any future circumstance as an opportunity for God to act in such a way as to achieve His purposes. Variations in conditions do not change the character of God, nor do they pose a problem to the God who IS all-powerful.

    4. What are the bitter areas of your life that require a solution from God? Ask God to show you how he will heal those areas.

      Area:                                                                                                                          :pray for solution

      1. Family

      2. Health

      3. Career

      4. Money

      5. Relationships

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