Exodus 15:23 – When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (NIV)
Israel's incident at "Marah", which means "bitter", can be compared to many of life's experiences as we journey through the wilderness of this world.
If you are like most people, there probably have been hardships in your life when you have asked the question, "Why has God allowed this to happen?" As Christians, many of us have had Marah experiences. Recently, those bitter waters touched my own life when I lost my dear mother and sister. These were painful times, but God's grace proved to be sufficient. God promises us:
Isaiah 43:2 – When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (NIV)
John 16:33b – In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (NIV)
The Israelites experienced the bitterness of Marah until Moses, directed by God, cast the tree into the waters, making them sweet. Likewise, Jesus "bore our sins in his body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24 NIV), so the cross of Jesus sweetens the bitterness of our life's trials. One day, God will wipe away all tears from our eyes! Until then, my hope will always remain in Him.
From Marah, Israel travelled to Elim where there were twelve wells and seventy trees — a place of beauty and rest. We are taught that God always rewards those who put their faith in Him.
Psalm 42:1 – As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (NIV)
Prayer: Gracious God, give us the faith of the author of Psalm 71: "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again." Thank You that trust in Jesus is never misplaced, and that for those who trust through the darkness of the night watches, there will come joy in the morning. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.