Jun 17, 2015 1789

By Des Ford


In just six verses (Ex. 15:22-27), there is a message from God to us that can sweeten our lives wonderfully. These verses tell the story of Israel coming to Marah and finding the waters bitter, leading to howls of complaints from the refugee multitudes.

Moses, under divine direction, does not curse his charges, but sweetens the waters by the addition of a miraculous tree. After that we read, “Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.” And they stayed there for several weeks.

Every time we grumble, we are in effect cursing God for messing things up. And we are always in error about the real situation. Elim was only six miles from Marah. If, instead of complaining, they had continued on, they would have reached the water-springs and palm trees in just two hours.

How often it is that deliverance is very close to our threatening crises! If we would only trust and push on! The shadow of death is so frequently adjoined by green pastures and still waters.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking Marahs are as common as Elims. That is not the case. Pain is so obnoxious to all of us that we exaggerate it and give its causes much more importance than they deserve. The bad things stand out like sore thumbs, though the rest of the body is in fine shape. The bitter time at Marah was brief, but the stay at Elim was long. That’s the way it usually is in life. There are bad patches, but the good times are more frequent and last longer.

The healing tree is a symbol of that real tree of life: the Cross of Christ. Dip it into every trouble and you will be amazed at the change. When we give due importance to the Cross, everything else dwindles.

Sorrow is not entirely a wilderness. Despite bleakness and desolation, if we look closely we will usually find the fertility and beauty of oases nearby.

Never forget it. Grumbling is atheism. Trust and praise are Christian.

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