So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.
There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, 26 and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus 15: 22-26
In the above passage, the Israelites had been recently rescued by the Lord from the hands of Egyptians and walked through the Red sea. They had seen God’s miraculous work. However, they began complaining when they could not find water for three days. God directed Moses to throw a tree into the body of water that was bitter, which made the water sweet, and the Israelites were relieved.
As Americans we have ease of access to water wherever we go, and, nowadays, many people carry large flasks of water with them to stay hydrated. Three days is a long time not to have water. Furthermore, Moses was in the same situation as they were. He had to also deal with lack of water and being dehydrated. However, the Lord was testing them, and He knew they were not going to perish.
The Lord used this opportunity to teach them to rely on His voice, ordinance, and instruction. He also told them that when they listen to what God speaks to them, they will not have to deal with the diseases that Egyptians had to deal with.
This is a vivid picture of the importance of listening to God’s instructions. The Israelites were desperate for water, and out of desperation they may have drank the water just to quench their thirst, but that could have caused diseases and illnesses possibly leading to their death. However, God led them to throw a tree in the water and the water became sweet. God cleansed and restored the water to protect the Israelites from being harmed and also for them to get hydrated. Praise God for His mighty acts! This is what the Lord wanted to impress upon their hearts.
We have the privilege of hearing God’s voice and reading His instructions in the Bible that gives us the advantage of not being tempted out of desperation. The world has a way of doing things based on people’s needs and what feels right at the moment, but God wants us to do things differently and receive His instructions for our lives to remain protected and unharmed.
Let’s thank the Lord for His precious instructions. Let’s pray that the Lord would give us the courage to continually listen to His voice and not be tempted to take the matters in our own hands!
I will continue with this subject in the next devotional as God leads Moses to do these differently next time!