Exodus 15:20-27 Miriam’s song & Bitter Waters made sweet.
My son, Christopher, just earned his Eagle Scout Award last night!!!!!!!!!!!!
Moses’s and Aaron’s sister, Miriam the prophetess, also sang a song with the women. Notice, she is a prophetess.
Exodus 15:20 Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dances.
Dancing is in the Bible – as is musical instruments. So both are acceptable forms of worship. If in doubt check it out in another portion of the Bible such as Psalm 150:3-6 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
Miriam will mirror Moses’ song, there was much joy in the tribe of Israel. How could there not be? Pharaoh’s army was defeated grandly by God, and God deserves thanksgiving and praise.
Exodus 15:21 And Miriam answered them: “Sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!”
I love the next part for it is another picture of Jesus and His salvation for us. It also shows how fickle human thanksgiving, praise and trust in God is.
Exodus 15:22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.
SHUR means wall. How many times have we been given our freedom and then feel like we run up against a wall? Or feel that we are wandering in a wilderness, with no water? Sometimes after a spiritual high there is a spiritual depression. The same God that freed us is with us in this spiritual depression, but we don’t recognize Him. It is sometimes in these wilderness experiences that we build our faith even stronger – and the secret is water (water is the symbol of the Word of God). When we do not spend our time in the Word of God (the Bible), we feel we are in a period of drought, in a desert, alone and bereft. Sometimes God leads us into the wilderness to build our faith (like the Holy Spirit led Jesus after His baptism), sometimes we bring ourselves there by failing to keep close contact with God. Notice that they were three days into the wilderness. Jesus was in the tomb three days – and what a dry and barren time that was for his disciples and the world. And yet, once He appeared to the disciples at His resurrection, great joy emerged.
Exodus 15:23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter.Therefore the name of it was called Marah.
MARAH means bitterness.
We, in our walk through life come to our own places of Marah, relationships, job, people, past, memories become bitter, and we become disappointed. There can be a root of bitterness in us that needs to be uprooted. Bitterness is as terrible as dandelions and crabgrass, the roots run deep and we cause them to run deeper mulling over them. If you pull up dandelions and crabgrass and leave just a tiny piece of root in the ground, they grow back. Same way with our bitterness, it can come back unless it is completely rooted out – that is what Jesus does when He prunes our lives and makes us aware of the bitterness that is hidden behind our smiles. Only through God, through Jesus, through forgiveness, and letting go can we remove the bitterness. It is not done in our own power, but through the help of the Holy Spirit, who convicts us of our roots of bitterness.
When there is bitterness it leads to grumbling and complaining, we tend to focus on the festering sore, rather than the whole picture. We see this in the nation Israel too, for God had miraculously delivered them, and now there is a trial, a hardship, and rather than focusing on what God has done and his praises, the people focus on their lack – on their difficulty. That narrows the vision and makes it hard for God to come through in a big way. When we are in difficulty instead of focusing on the difficulty, focus on God. I am saying this as a reminder to myself because in the past few days the difficulties have drawn my attention away from God, and I ended up at the mercy of the difficulties, rather than on the rock solid foundation of God.
Exodus 15:24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
Oh, I know it is easy for me to say, they should have figured God would provide, but they didn’t, they complained. They could easily have turned the complaint into a praise – God, you protected us from Pharaoh, freed us, gave us many riches, we know you are a provider. How are you going to provide water for us? We know that you will keep us safe for this journey because you have promised we will go to the Promised Land. Surely you will not keep us in this wilderness without water.” But instead they complained.
Granted, they did speak to Moses, their spiritual leader. When we are in dry and barren places we do have choices. We can try and fill our needs with whatever is at hand. And leave us in places that we don’t want to be. We can go directly to God and ask Him what we should do (something I think God greatly desires), but if we cannot go directly to God or are hurting so much that we are not hearing from Him clearly, it is good to go to the Spiritual Leader. Moses will intercede for his people, and help them to find out what to drink. But we must not forget that it is God that is the source of the living water, not our leaders or mentors. A good leader will remind people that it is God who is the one who is the provider.
Exodus 15:25-26 So he cried out to the LORD and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in His sight, give hear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”
What a picture! So filled with Jesus! First of all a few parallels – waters are often mentioned as nations and peoples. The tree – Jesus was crucified on a tree (the cross). So when God showed Moses the tree (cross) and he cast it into the waters (people) the waters were made sweet. Isn’t that what happens to us when we accept His salvation – we become sweet, our lives change for the better, and we are able to drink from the water (the Bible) and see so much more than we could before our eyes were opened to the truth?
What is also interesting is that God provides a test for the people – the test to see if they will heed God’s voice, and obey Him, doing what is right in His sight, he will protect them from the diseases and plagues that the Egyptians had. God is a healer – and we learn this about God in this passage. Jehovah Rapha – The Lord who Heals.
Remember, God reveals Himself by degrees to the People, they have now experienced God as deliverer and healer. The test that God is giving, He knows what the result will be – the people will fail. God is not giving them the test and wondering if they will pass or fail. We will learn later in the Bible that the commandments and laws were given as a schoolmaster, so that we realize that we need a savior. The Israelites will be lead to a place where they will promise to totally obey God, and then they will fail – building idols, turning to other gods, disobeying God’s laws and moving far away from Him. These laws and ordinances were in place to show the people that they, in their own power, cannot keep them, that they need a savior – Jesus. And unfortunately, as Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” and so the diseases that the Egyptians received because of their disobedience to God will end up being put on the Israelites when they disobeyed. Sin causes sickness and death. Only Jesus can provide life and life more abundantly. And sometimes we are slow learners, wanting to learn by experience – to do things our own way – to obey what we want to obey and ignore the rest. So when we are beset with problems and sickness, it is a heads up that we need to change something in our life – and the change ultimately is turning to God. Only He can provide the liberty from sickness, disease and death. Only He can help us to keep His commands. Only He….
Exodus 15:27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there by the waters.
Elim means Mighty Ones. It was a place of abundance, an oasis of refreshment. There were 12 wells (could that be a reference to the 12 apostles, the 12 tribes?) They went from no water to an abundance of Water. God is waiting to pour out his blessings on the people when they come to Him.
So, God first brought the people to Succoth (tent town), then they went to the edge of the wilderness Etham (with them), and then God lead them to the rock and the hard place to camp between Pi Hahiroth, Migdol and the Red Sea, then God delivered the people allowing them to cross over to the Red Sea, the wilderness of Shur (the wall), and finally to Marah (where bitterness was healed). Then the people were at Elim (mighty one) where God mightily provided for the people.
One thing to remember is that when we talk about the Israelites it is somewhere between 1 – 2 million people. For God to provide food and water for this amount of people for 40 years is mind-boggling. We serve an awesome God.
Hoping your day is blessed!
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