Summary: Message 7 in our series tracking Israel's faith journey in Exodus. This messages explores the incident of bitter water.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
"Sweetening Bitter Water” Exodus 15:22-27
The story of God's relationship with Israel graphically illustrates the reality of God's relationship with us. Therefore a study of their experience can bring deeper insight concerning our relationship with God. Numerous parallels may be drawn all along the way.
The fact that God chose them on the basis of something in Him and not something in them...
the fact that God made an everlasting covenant through blood sacrifice...
the loving cultivation of faith at every turn...
the reaffirmation of His loyal love generation after generation...
it was that love that allowed them to suffer the ravages of life in a fallen world in order that they might realize the riches of life through faith in the God who lovingly chose them.
From the time of Abraham, the father of Israel, up to Joseph this developing people of God experienced delayed answers to prayer, severe family dysfunction, broken relationships, wayward family members, sibling rivalry and jealousy, threatened financial ruin and famine, the emotional trauma of losing a son to a wild animal, and just before the time of Moses, 400 years of excruciating bondage and slave labor under a tyrannical regime. In the midst of all this trauma, they also experienced God’s continual blessing and guidance as He prepared them to claim the promise He made Abraham; a promise of land, multiplication and blessing. For the most part, a vital personal connection with God was limited to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Each of these experienced a significant encounter with God. Then, beginning with Moses, God drew a whole nation to experience the wonder of faith in him and the resulting salvation. That is the story we have been following recorded by Moses in the book of Exodus.
It is important to remember, their journey is our journey. The lessons they learned are lessons we must learn as we develop our relationship with God. The life experiences they encountered, we will also encounter as we struggle to understand the spiritual and material, the known in the unknown, the eternal and the temporal.
I. God Provided Deliverance from Egypt 1-15
The first lesson to learn in the very early stages of one’s spiritual pilgrimage is that we serve a God who delivers from the captivity of the enemy and keeps His promises.
• We must learn just how horrible servitude to the enemy can be. (Bounty to bondage)
• We learn that God can use any one who is willing to trust Him; in spite of past failures or present insecurities. (Preparation of the deliverer)
• We must learn that God is more powerful than the combined power of the enemy who seeks to control us. (Plagues)
Greater is He that is in you (and over you) than he that is in the world (seeking to control you).
• We must learn that only through blood sacrifice can we be saved from judgment. (Passover)
• We must learn that God allows difficult situations along our journey to demonstrate His glory and direct our growth. (Red Sea)
• The must resist reacting to difficult situations as if God were mad at us.
He is not mad at us; He is lovingly molding us in order that we might inherit the promise.
• We must break the downward spiral created by unbelief.
Unbelief in the person and promise of God enables panic.
Panic cultivates pity.
Pity generates passivity.
Passivity fosters perverted thinking.
Perverted thinking intensifies unbelief which repeats the cycle downward again.
Only genuine trust, faith, belief can break the cycle at any stage. Israel will spend their whole journey trying to learn what it really means to trust in God in spite of the difficulties along the way. Some will never get it and will die wandering in the wilderness without ever realizing God's promised to rest.
• We must learn that God is able and anxious not only to deliver us from the opposition but to disable the opposition and also enable us to address whatever obstacles stand in the way of our progress toward the promised rest.
Last week we joined the Israelites on the banks of the Red Sea celebrating the eradication of the imposing opposition and the miraculous neutralization of the impossible obstacle. We now enter the section of Exodus recounting God’s preparation to develop their faith. The last part of chapter 15 on through chapter 18 will recount how God prepared for the development of their trust. I'm sure there are numerous events that happened along the way that were not recorded by Moses. God directed Moses to record these particular events found in Exodus for a reason. It is our job to discover how those particular events relate to our walk with God and the development of our faith. We cannot to develop faith in a vacuum apart from life. We cannot learn to trust God until there is indication that forces us to trust God and realize his work in our life or resist God and try to make life work on our own.