Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
B. Learning To Heed Scripture From God's Gracious Warnings In Present Failures
(Exodus 15:22-27)
  1. Introduction
    1. Though God has proven His ability and will to provide for us that we might do His will, when shortages or challenges cross our path from making headway as we view progress, we can easily forget God's goodness and underestimate His sensitivity of our needs and His ability to help, and faithlessly complain!
    2. In such times, God often graciously provides warnings about future challenges to our faith (as follows):
  2. Learning To Heed Scripture From God's Gracious Warnings In Present Failures, Exodus 15:22-27.
    1. After God had revealed His great ability and will to provide for Israel's needs at the crossing of the Red Sea, three days journey into the wilderness, Israel arrived at Marah, presumed to be Ain Hawarah of today where there was (and is today only) bitter water, Exodus 15:21-23; Bib. Know. Com., O. T., p. 133-134.
    2. Instead of waiting for God's solution or asking Him in faith for help so they could drink much needed sweet water, the people of Israel anxiously murmured against Moses about the problem, Exodus 15:24.
    3. Moses was frustrated or fearful because of the people, and cried unto God for help, Exodus 15:25a.
    4. God showed him a nearby tree, and told him to cast it into the water to make it (at least temporarily) sweet (at least for their use), Ex. 15:25b. The use of trees or parts of them for medicinal purposes was typical of Ancient Near Eastern peoples, so this revealed God's ability and will to heal, Ezekiel 47:12; Rev. 22:2.
    5. With this provision came a warning lesson from God: were the people of Israel diligently to heed His Word [rather than complain in unbelief as they had], none of the maladies He had brought on Egypt in the plagues, or that had afflicted the bitter water of Marah, would come upon Israel (cf. Exodus 15:26 with the first plague of the making of the Nile similarly unfit for human consumption, Exodus 7:15-18).
    6. Now, considering the events surrounding this warning lesson shows God had made ample provision to supply Israel's drinking water needs so that the people of Israel had no cause even to murmur as they had:
      1. Only about seven miles south of Marah, Israel moved to Elim, probably Wadi Gharandel, where there was an abundant sweet water supply of 12 springs and 70 palm trees, Exodus 15:27; Ibid., p. 134. Thus, there had been no need for the people to complain at Marah -- they were close to good water!
      2. Also, the fact that a tree had survived the bitter water at Marah, a tree that had grown for years before the Exodus, indicated God had been aware of Israel's water problem long before she had noted it, and had provided for that tree to grow there years before to meet Israel's need when she arrived at Marah! Thus, He was sensitive to the need as well as to Israel's tendency toward unbelief on the issue, and that long before Israel knew of it, revealing He was to be trusted to be aware and know about all her needs!
      3. Besides, the many miracles in Egypt with God's great deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea meant God would not abandon His people to die of thirst in the wilderness just because there was bitter water at Marah! These precedents were vast ENOUGH evidence of God's power and will to help the nation!
      4. Finally, God had clearly led Israel to Marah by the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, cf. Exodus 13:21-22. Thus, Israel's encounter of the bitter water at Marah while the people had been CLEARLY LED of the LORD TO THAT SPOT SHOULD have caused them to PERCEIVE they were to LEARN a LESSON from GOD in this challenge they faced rather than complain! (Matt. 6:30-33)
Lesson: By way of overwhelming evidences of Israel's (1) PAST witness of God's MIRACLES in Egypt, (2) His CLEAR LEADING en ROUTE to Marah and (3) the PRESENT (a) provisions of good water in nearby Elim (b) with the tree used for healing the bitter water a Marah, GOD revealed He was VERY able, willing and sensitive to KNOW and HELP Israel with her needs. Thus, as a warning, Israel was to learn to HEED God's Word DILIGENTLY to avoid the judgment that had come upon the Egyptians, a warning of future punishment for continued faithlessness such as was expressed by Israel at Marah!

Application: (1) When God has abundantly and clearly shown us His will, ability and sensitivity to our needs in the past, en route to the present and in the present, we must TRUST and OBEY Him or face discipline! (2) If we have thus failed Him, we must CORRECT our way NOW for blessing!