The Wilderness Wanderings

I just took a trip that I found encouraging in many ways, not just the time with family, and the rich fellowship in Christ, but also the taste of what is out there across America.  Out in the deserts of Nevada, I spoke with a proprietor of a general store.  It wasn’t long into our casual conversation that revulsion towards everything Washington D.C. does was revealed.  So those polls that put Congress and Obama in the sub cellar were revealed as we had a taste of them anecdotally.

It gives me hope that vast sections of our land hate what is being done to America. It gives great encouragement to see that vast stretches of our land do not embrace the socialist destruction of our republic; and many who agree with Ronald Reagan when he said, “Government is not the answer to the problem, it is the problem.”

Let’s examine this issue on a more personal and mundane level. I know you can imagine the challenges of driving nearly 7000 miles.  Some grumbling and complaining emerge. I noticed that I, as well as the other travelers, was most apt to grumble when we met the limits of physical needs; when we were hungry, tired, hot or so on. It is at those moments complaining was most likely to appear. And it was so with the Children of Israel.

Consider Exodus 15:22. In this post, and ones to follow, I want to examine the lessons God taught His people in those Wilderness Wanderings which led up to their encampment at Mount Sinai and the giving of the Law. We shall see in each of these lessons, how what God taught the Children of Israel directly and how those lessons aptly apply to us.

We shall see that complaining and grumbling are directly connected to our expectations and to whom we complain. I think we will each find this very relevant. Our first response is to think of the complaints we have heard from others, particularly if we ourselves are the subjects of those complaints. On a deeper level, however, we need to examine our own pattern of complaining and grumbling. Let’s walk with the Children of Israel as they depart from the Red Sea, that great scene of triumph where Pharaoh and his tyrannical army were drowned in the depths of that great body of water.

The Bitter Waters– Please read Exodus 15:22-27.  We learn that the Children of Israel they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water, and when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter.  “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.”

God had the solution to the problem they faced – a tree cast into the waters turning the bitter water sweet and drinkable. God could have used anything in His creation to solve this problem, but He chose a tree. Does this remind you of three prominent trees in the Bible? There was that one in the Garden that started all the trouble in this world. There is the tree of Life promised to us at the end of time described in Revelation 22:2.

Then there is that tree on Mount Calvary on which our Lord was crucified to take away our sins, to turn all the bitterness of this life to the sweetness of salvation.  The tree at the waters of Marah prefigures the cross and that tree of life in the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Have you allowed Him to lead you from the wilderness and remove the bitterness from your life?  Have you accepted the sweetness of salvation that only He can give you? If you have placed your faith in Christ and become His disciple God promises to guide you in this life.

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