Summary: This sermon is one that speaks to how to handle the bitterness that life can sometimes send our way. But there is hope in Jesus Christ.
Many of us started out 2014 with a lot of optimism and promise, we made resolutions and statements of faith that we hoped we could keep. In some cases there were resolutions made that were in some ways unrealistic but sounded good none the less. Some of said we would work less, some said we would eat less, some said they would trust God with a new found zeal. Now that we’re at the 52nd and last Sunday of year, we must admit that while we thought it, some of our hopes have been met with bitter water. There has been situations that were out of our control and then there were some situations that we created, but never the less it became a bitter pill to swallow.
Some of us even said that this year we were not going to overspend at Christmas time and truly focus on the reason for the season but found ourselves buying more because it was a sale we just couldn’t pass up. When the credit card statements come in January that’s going to be some bitter water, particularly when you don’t have the means to pay for what you said you wasn’t going to buy. So there are some here today that are saying well I didn’t overspend and I didn’t overbuy, but yet maybe that wasn’t your bitter water, but maybe your significant other just didn’t act right this year. All the things that you hoped would happen this year, didn’t and you are left now at the crossroads of life trying to figure out just which way to go, that’s some bitter water.
Well as we look at the year in review, there have been many things that have grabbed our attention this year. They are still looking for the Malaysian airplane that fell over the ocean and has never been found. We have seen that the President of the U.S. has faced some of the most drastic criticism of any President before him and while none of us know him personally, he is our brother and when they talk about him they are talking about us. It’s bitter water when the Republicans fight him not because of his policies but rather because of his color, that’s some bitter water. It’s a tragedy when we see that some have begun to attack the Obama children in order to get to the heart of the President, that’s some bitter water.
We see in our community there have been over 200 murders among our black boys and while the police say crime is down, we can’t tell when we view the news in 2014 and Memphis rates as the most dangerous city in America. Its bitter water when we hear that the jobless rate in TN is falling yet the folks we know and love are still out of work, not because they aren’t looking but rather because no one is looking at them. It’s bitter water when our black boys can’t seem to safely walk the streets without being stereotyped as thugs, criminals, gangsters, and dead-beat dads, it’s bitter water when our girls are finding themselves without hope because our boys are all locked up in jail, it’s bitter water.
It’s bitter water when it seems the rich are getting richer and the poorer are getting poorer, every poor person is not a bad person and not every rich person is a good person. Every black man is not a bad man just as every white man isn’t a good man. Every church goer ain’t a saint just as every non-church going person is a sinner. Every educated person ain’t smart just like every uneducated person ain’t dumb. Just as every person with eyes can’t see there are some people with legs but still can’t walk. There are some with tongues but still can’t talk, yet there are some with minds but still can’t think. There are indeed some with voices that will never be heard, yet there are some who simply don’t choose to speak. Bitter water is sometimes hard to understand yet we must keep pressing on.
Well we must look into the text today to see exactly the extent of this bitter water that is reference in our scripture. After Moses had led them across the Red Sea they found themselves in Marah. It is noted that they had sang songs of praise and were indeed thankful; they stumbled upon some bitter water. There are few things that amaze me about this story when I consider water,
• Water doesn’t spoil, it must be spoiled
• Water doesn’t sour, it must be soured
• Water is designed to refresh, not to destroy
Imagine they had traveled a great distance and yet when they finally found some water it was bitter. Isn’t it tough when you finally think you have life all figured out and then something happens to set you back. Mouth all dry and body all weak and yet you aren’t looking for fried chicken but rather just a drink of water will give you the strength you need to press on. They had traveled now for three days and found no water and when the found some they could not drink it as it was. But God always has a plan for His people. You must know that when you face your bitter water that God will has always prepared a way around your storm.