He said, "If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you." Exodus 15:26
When I was 20 years old, I went to my first Passover Seder. A Passover Seder is a special meal that Jewish people put together to remember how God released them from captivity in Egypt. It is a meal with lots of symbolism as they think through the suffering and lessons they learned in the desert. One of the things that they do during the meal is they eat horseradish to remind themselves of the harshness of their slavery in Egypt. The horseradish was the hardest thing for me to eat because it was so bitter. Immediately when it hits your tongue, you want to spit it out. I even witnessed a grown man who ate too much that began to cry.
The suffering that the Jewish people endured had an effect on their hearts. The pain made them bitter and produced a spirit that needed to be broken. God intentionally leads them into the desert to teach them a lesson on bitterness. After days of marching, they are hot and thirsty. Then in the middle of the desert, they find a body of water that can satisfy the millions of Israelites. However, when they take a drink, the water was bitter. They complain and grumble over the water until God provides a way for the water to be purified. Moses throws a stick into the water at God's lead, and instantly, the water becomes sweet to the taste. God had already taken them out of Egypt, but here He is taking the bitterness of Egypt out of them.
This whole story gives us an image for us as followers of Jesus Christ. When we give out lives to Jesus, we have been set free from the world, but God then has to take the worldliness out from inside of us. Like the Israelites who learned these lessons in the desert, God continues to allow us to face trials and difficulties so we will grow. He is removing that old nature of sin that we still carry over so we can experience healing. Just as God healed the water and the Israelites through this process, He still continues to heal us today when we trust in Him and follow His lead.
Where is a place in your life right now that you need God's healing? Your first thoughts are probably going to be to your physical body. Maybe you have a toothache, a bum knee, or a bad back that always hurts. But think a little deeper than those things. Where in your heart are you bitter, angry, or frustrated right now? What are some areas of sin that continue to push you away from God that you need healing for? Once you identify that area, take it to your small group or a close friend and ask for prayer.
Read Exodus 15:19-27 (NLT)
When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers rushed into the sea, the Lord brought the water crashing down on them. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground!
Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. And Miriam sang this song:
“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;he has hurled both horse and rider into the sea.”
Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”).
Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink.
It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”
After leaving Marah, the Israelites traveled on to the oasis of Elim, where they found twelve springs and seventy palm trees. They camped there beside the water.
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