Summary: Learn the lessons of that bitter place called Marah. Let God reveal His place as Healer in our lives.
“WHEN LIFE TURNS BITTER, INSTEAD OF BETTER”
INTRO: 1. ILL. 8 Ways you can tell it’s going to be a rotten day.
1) You see the “60 Minutes” news team in your office.
2) You call suicide prevention and they put you on hold.
3) You turn on the news and they are showing emergency routes out of the city.
4) Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
5)Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angel’s on the freeway.
6) Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
7) You income tax check bounces.
8) You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
2.We can laugh, because too often we can relate, because we know that life has a way of turning bitter.
a.Each of us could give personal examples of disappointment, frustration, weakness, sickness and failure.
3.This was how the children of Israel felt as they stood on the banks of Marah, their only water supply, found after a three-day search, only to find it contaminated and bitter. (Flood of Negative emotions, and all justifiable)
a. “Nothing seemed to be going right, now this.”
b. “We’ve waited so long just to be disappointed.”
c.“We’ve worked so hard to obey God, just to lead us to failure and maybe death.”
d.This was more than just a rotten day, Life had left them no options.
4. But for God’s people the “bitter experiences” are often designed into our lives.
a.Not always a sign of our disobedience, but at times a sign of our obedience.
b.Not as something to avoid as evil, but should be accepted as a benefit.
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
c.ILL. In the Northeast codfish is a big business, but at first they had problems shipping them. First froze them but found it caused them to lose flavor, later they tried shipping them alive in tanks, but strangely the flavor was still not as good (soft and mushy). Finally, some creative person thought to put in the tank with the codfish, their natural enemy, catfish that chased them around the tank the whole trip and found that there was no loss of flavor.
d. Like the codfish, the believer shines the greatest when under pressure
e.We are designed as overcomers, not escape artists, not faith magicians, but overcomers through Christ Jesus.
f.But before we can ever be the overcomer we’re meant to be, we must understand the message behind the “bitter experiences” in our lives.
I. THE MESSAGE OF OUR “BITTER EXPERIENCES”.
a.This message was more than a telegram, it was a revelation from God of Himself.
b.The reason behind their “bitter experience” and the reason for our “bitter experiences.”
c.ILL. In order to realize the worth of an anchor , we need to feel the stress of the storm - and god revealed to the children of Israel that he was that anchor.
d.The message God wanted them to get was yet another covenant name of himself “Jehovah Rapha - the Lord My healer”.
e.But he would use this experience as an object lesson to the full meaning of the word.
A. I’M THE HEALER OF YOUR LIFE.
1.He used a circumstance in their life to reveal himself as their healer.
2.He wants us to know that when our life turns bitter, He’s still the sweetener.
3. He wants us to know when our life gets heavy, He’s still the burden bearer.
4.There are times when it’s my life that needs healing.
B.I’M THE HEALER OF YOUR WOUNDS.
1.The hebrew word Rapha refers to wounds usually inflicted externally, such as battle wounds.
2.Often we need healing from wounds that others have inflicted on our lives. Harsh words, the attack of the enemy, a wounded past, a broken heart.
3.He’s the “balm of Gilead” we can apply to the external wounds of living.
4.ILL. Once was a man that was a devout christian who had suffered a great tragedy in his home, his sweet little girl had been killed and he found himself in the darkness and isolation of grief, and he remembered feeling how God had closed the door on him and had forgotten. One day he was strolling along the street when he saw a little girl, standing at the gate outside of her house calling for her mother to come open the door, after frustration and crying, the mother finally came and said, “Didn’t you know I’d come.” The father let him know there was love on the other side of the closed doors.
C.I’M THE HEALER OF YOUR DISEASES.
1.God wanted to make it clear that he not only heals emotionally and spiritually, but that physical healing was clearly pointed out in this covenant with his people.