Summary: There is another day beyond this one. There is an Elim just beyond Mara. An "old-fashioned" Pentecostal faith-builder.
The Elims of Life
Exodus 15:23-27 -- "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." "And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?" "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," "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." "And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters."
l. INTRODUCTION -- THE WANDERINGS OF LIFE
-God uses the itinerant life of the Israelites to illustrate to the church powerful spiritual lessons. Their wanderings correspond closely with our own lives. We are first called out and separated. This will always be the method of God. If you are still in step with the world and you profess a work of the Spirit, it appears very obviously that you have not had a true work of God in your life.
-Dangers are dealt with along the way, malicious adversaries surround the meager path, there will be difficulties from the barren places, there will be weariness from the many marchings, fierce suns, grim rocks, dry wells, and parched sands that every man will have to face along the way.
Ø Who knows what lies around the bend?
Ø Who can understand what tomorrow holds?
Ø What enemy’s shout will crash into a sleeping camp?
Ø What raging river is ahead of us?
-But all in all you must realize that this world, this vestibule of eternity, this thing called life is:
Ø God’s place of discipline.
Ø God’s place of preparation.
Ø God’s ground for training.
Ø God’s place of destiny for each of us.
ll. THE STORY BEHIND THE TEXT
-Our text picks up along the way of Israel’s hiatus from the land of bondage. Now three days after their great deliverance by the hand of the Lord, they find themselves in an awkward situation.
-A place of no water. There appears to us a very curious and costly contrast between the Israelites and the Egyptians. Water had proved to be the ruin of Pharoah and all of his host. . . . . Now the lack of water leads to the murmuring and complaining of the Israelites. So the Egyptians had too much water and the Israelites could not get any at all.
-There must come a point in all of our lives that we must learn faith in God’s support as well as His deliverance. If God can fill us with the Spirit then surely He can complete that work which He has began within us (Philippians 1:6).
-Amazingly enough, three days of waterless wandering had created a great dilemma for them. Such a short time from deliverance to need. Such a short time from power to weakness. Such a short time from plenty to wanting. Yet here they were in the midst of a desert experience.
-Imagine with me, the hot arrid region, half desert and half wilderness. Think of the large slithering serpents that fled from sight as they approached some rock. Think of the large vultures flying overhead, suspicious of this vast group of people, suspicious that they were going to collapse and die in the wilderness.
-Consider the cries of the small children as they begged for parents to carry their weary, sunburned little bodies. Consider the plight of the father who is now lumbering under the load of a few possessions and the 100 degree sun pounding down on his head and the dry desert winds parching his lips. Consider the mother trying to ignore her own discomfort to attend to the needs of the crying children. Consider the thoughts that are now present in the mind of Moses as he remembers speaking boldly to Pharoah and to the people about a God who is going to deliver them. Perhaps, the whole saga is going to fall woefully short and that they will indeed die in a wilderness.
-The nights brought no relief for the nights were just as cold as the days were hot. Shivering on the sands was just as discouraging as trying to battle the sun in the daytime.
-Here they move along and come to a place where water is sighted. There is no way to hold back the three million Israelites from stampeding the water. They run to the water, some half stumbling and sprawling into the water. Just before they get to the water, no doubt some began to laugh with delight and with relief about the refreshment they are about to take part in.