Exodus 15:22-27 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. (23) And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. (24) And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? (25) And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he proved them, (26) And said if thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. (27) And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

I came across this scripture a good while back and studied it a little bit and made some notes. I can’t remember things as good as I once did since I have gotten older, so I find myself making a lot more notes than I used to. I think I may have preached a message on this at some point in time, but when I read it again it was just like a brand new blessing to me. It is amazing how that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The children of Israel apparently had barely set up their first camp before they started complaining. They had just arrived at the banks of the Red Sea where they had made camp when they saw Pharoah’s army closing in on them. As they began to complain and blame Moses for getting them out of Egypt, little did they know that the very complaint they made to Moses would come to pass in the next forty years. They would die in the wilderness but not at the hand of the Egyptians but because of their refusal to believe God and go possess the land God had given them. Forty years of miracles was fixing to begin right in front of their eyes.

Before we get too far, lets look at a couple of things. First, Shur means “wall”. They were fixing to get to see a wall of water which no one had ever seen before. In chapter 14 verse 13, you find one of the most profound statements in my opinion that Moses ever made. “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more forever.” Something about that last statement just excites me. Just to know that just as God defeated their enemy without them even having to fight encourages me because I know he can do the same to mine. He is fully able to show me his salvation when I get in those desperate places. Right after that statement by Moses, he stretched out his rod over the sea and the waters parted and the children of Israel walk through on dry ground. After Israel had passed over, the Lord brought the waters back in place and covered the Egyptians so that not one of the pursuers survived.

Chapter 15 begins with all of Israel singing praises to the Lord for his deliverance all the way to verse 22 when they had went three days into the wilderness and found no water. Then came the complaints again. Before we go on, let’s be honest; we knock them a lot because they saw such miracles and such deliverance and within 72 hours they had forgotten the Lord and had already complained twice. How often do we do the exact same thing? God delivers us in seemingly impossible situations and we turn right around and grumble about something else. Israel then came to a place called Marah, which means bitter, and found water but it wasn’t drinkable. They continued complaining until verse 25 when the Lord shewed Moses a tree and when he cast it in the water, the water became sweet. I am not sure about the distance from Marah to Elim but I do know this; Israel stopped short of an abundance of water. They eventually got to Elim where there were 12 wells and 70 palm trees. For sake of time, I will only mention that the number 12 is found 189 times in the bible and the number 70 is found 61 times. Those numbers are also significant because there were 12 tribes of the 12 sons of Jacob and a total of 70 people of Jacob’s family entered into Egypt in time of famine and settled in Goshen which was given to them by the Pharoah at that time.

What I really want to focus on is the tree at Marah. The bible says “and the Lord shewed him a tree.” That is to me a picture of salvation because there at Marah, in a place of desperation and bitterness in a desert place, God used a tree to save his people from death due to lack of water. On over in Luke 23, God showed the world another tree that he used to provide salvation to whosoever will. Again, a scripture worth noting is Revelation 21:6 where God said, “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Jesus told the woman of Samaria at the well “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give shall never thirst…” Both of these scriptures are offering the salvation of Christ by way of his shed blood on the cross of Calvary. God’s perfect Lamb offered as the sacrifice for a world of desperate lost sinners with no hope of the water of life. BUT GOD showed us that tree, the cross of Calvary that made everything sweet and all we had to do was drink of that water of life. Exodus 15:25 says that “…there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them. Our statute and ordinance was that in order to receive forgiveness of our sins, we must repent and accept the work of Christ on Calvary and have his blood applied to our heart or we will never be forgiven. God proves us by whether we accept his sacrifice or not and repent.

I am thankful that just as the children of Israel in their desperation cried unto the Lord and he showed them a tree for the saving of their lives, he also showed us a tree. That cross of Calvary that will ever be our symbol of the salvation that Christ provided when he gave his life on it. Just as in the wilderness, the tree itself has no power, but the one that gave the statutes and ordinance and proves us has all power in heaven and earth. I am thankful that as a child, God showed me a tree and the one that gave his life on it just for me! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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