SERIES ON MOSES NUMBER 6
THE WATERS OF MARAH
Reading: Exodus 15:20-27
INTRODUCTION
[a] The Children of Israel had been through hell and back as slaves in 
Egypt, but God had delivered them! There must have been much rejoicing
and the ‘walking on cloud 9’ experience!
[b] But like all good things, there comes a time, when we must come
down to earth, and come to realise that the people of God cannot expect
a ‘bed of roses’, and that often things seem much harder and tougher to
bear, AFTER WE ARE DELIVERED FROM THE SLAVERY OF SIN!
[c] You would be a ‘multi-trillionaire’, if you had a penny for every
time a Christian has said, "Oh God, why are you doing this to me??" 
[d] I remember listening to one of the ‘Keswick at Buckie’ tapes in
the car one day. Derek Bingham was the preacher, and was showing
how that in Psalm 73:12, David is at a loss to understand why the
‘RIGHTEOUS’ are so put upon, while the UNGODLY seem to prosper. 
So often it does appear that ‘the devil looks after his own, but where is
the Lord?’
[e] In this Psalm, David says that he was in great danger of
being envious of the prosperity of the wicked, an attitude which he
realised could have destroyed his relationship with God.
[f] I’m sure many similar thoughts must have entered the minds of the
Israelites on this occasion!
 
POINT 1
[a] There are times in our lives when we are led through experiences that 
we find it impossible to understand.
[b] The event in our Bible reading was such an experience in the
history of the Children of Israel.
[c] They must have been feeling very confused!
It must have seemed that the God Who had delivered them from the
hand of the Egyptians through great miraculous power - HAD NOW
DESERTED THEM!
[d] Only days after the amazing deliverance of the Red Sea, it appeared
they were going to die of thirst!!
[e] THREE DAYS TRAVEL WITHOUT WATER!! 
Perhaps they had enough in their wineskins to meet their own needs, 
but certainly not the needs of the animals, which by this time would have 
been distressed and de-hydrated, especially with the constant activity of travel!
[f] We have all seen so often on our television screens the terrible plight of
people and animals suffering drought, and the death and disease which
follow in it’s wake!
[g] When they saw the waters of Marah, it must have seemed like a
God-sent answer to prayer, and I’m sure there was much rejoicing -
UNTIL THEY TRIED TO DRINK THE WATER!! IT MUST HAVE FELT 
AS THOUGH GOD WAS MOCKING THEM!
[h] You might think your tap-water is bad with all the chlorine and
fluoride that they add , but I tell you, it was nothing to the bitterness 
of the waters of Marah!! Here were people who were desperate, 
and they couldn’t drink a drop. It would be like trying to drink seawater!
 
POINT 2
[a] How I wonder, do we react when the bitter experiences of life come
to us?
[b] There are so many who allow such experiences to sour the whole of
their lives, making them into bitter people, who inevitably lose
their friends, and cannot find a way out of the slippery pit into which
they have descended!
[c] Let me read to you a Persian legend: 
Lokman the faithful had a lord he served With constant zeal that never 
flagged or swerved.
So closely knit were they in one accord
You scarce could tell which slave was, and which was lord. 
One day the master a bitter melon gave, Unconscious of it’s taste, 
to his dear slave, Who ate as though ‘twere something to enjoy 
And gave no sign of shrinking or annoy. 
But when one slice was left of that harsh fruit His master thought 
that he would follow suit And swallow it.
Then for one moment he was dumb; And then his wonderment set free,
With eyes that watered, throat all burning hot, He questioned Lockman, 
"Whence is it you got, Such patience as an eagle’s reach exceeds?". 
Lockman replied, "My lord, so many deeds of kindness Hast thou 
shown to thy poor slave With you dear lord, that if, for once it gave 
A bitter fruit, should I then hesitate Or weakly querulous bemoan my fate?"
Love makes the bitter sweet if love be real,
Trusting the purpose, though the clouds conceal 
[d] Being a Christian, by no means shields us from going through the
bitter experiences of life - but it DOES give us a NEW ABILITY TO COPE, 
WITH NEW HIDDEN RESOURCES IN CHRIST!
 
POINT 3
[a] Yet again, the Children of Israel had a seemingly insurmountable
problem!
[b] Then it says quite simply, "The Lord showed him a tree!" 
[c] Moses cast it into the water - AND, PRAISE BE TO GOD - IT WORKED!!
The waters were cleansed of their bitterness! And they were able to
drink freely and give to their animals!!
[d] Oh dear friends, do you remember that wonderful day, when 
THE LORD SHOWED YOU A TREE??
[e] It was a tree that would make all the bitterness of sin disappear!!
[f] Be careful that no bitterness again creeps into your life!!
If it has done, then let the TREE OF CALVARY BE APPLIED THIS VERY DAY, 
AS MOSES APPLIED THE TREE TO THE WATERS OF MARAH!!
[g] There are times when certain things come into our lives in order to
prove us and the sincerity and depth of our faith!!
It says in verse 25 of our Bible reading, "THERE HE PROVED THEM!" 
[h] Many testing experiences come to us in life - such things, because
they test our sincerity and commitment, should end up making us
stronger!
 
POINT 4
[a] The Lord had more than shown His ability to make the waters whole.
How often are we guilty, like the Children of Israel, of leaving a
miracle working God in the past, and failing to realise that He, the
God of Scripture is here now in all His fullness!!
[b] Sometimes we seem to limit God to dealing with the CIRCUMSTANCES - 
the outward problem!
[c] However, God makes it clear, that He wants to deal, not only with
the waters of Marah, but also with the more personal 
INWARD PROBLEMS OF THE HEART, MIND, SOUL, AND THE BODY!
[d] God says in verse 26, "I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE!" 
[e] We all need the touch of God from time to time, for both spiritual
and physical healing - let us never limit Him in His work amongst and
within us!
 
CONCLUSION
[a] Perhaps you need the touch of God in some way upon your life just
now. We have a God Who wants to make you whole!!
[b] Why not give Him that opportunity, by stepping out in faith to the
Mercy Seat.
Find fulfilment of your need from the One Who says, 
"I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE!!" 
[c] Perhaps there is sin in your life - SEEK HIS HEALING!!
Perhaps there is bitterness in your heart - SEEK HIS HEALING!!
Perhaps there is sickness in your body - SEEK HIS HEALING!!
MAKE GOD A FIRST RESORT – NOT A LAST!
 
SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK
SONG (TUNE)
13 (97)
586 (183)
647 (613 )