Exodus 15-18: Israel In The Wilderness
We read of Israel in the wilderness in chapter 15 of Exodus onward. When they came to the bitter waters of Marah (verse 23), they began to complain. This was again a test of their faith in God. God was asking them, “Can you trust Me when you come to the bitter waters, that I have provided a solution for that too, just as at the Red Sea? Or will you distrust Me again and grumble and complain?” The Israelites had just praised God for delivering them from the Egyptians. But here we see that they started grumbling again.
The man who walks by sight grumbles and complains again and again. The man who walks by faith constantly praises God and thanks Him.
Exodus 15 begins with the Israelite's praising God and ends with their grumbling against Him. This pattern was repeated again and again by the Israelites in the wilderness. The “sine wave” in mathmatics that goes up and down forever, is a perfect description of the lives of most christians-praising God when they get what they want, complaining when something goes wrong, thanking God again when they have got over that problem, and then doubting again when the next problem arises. This is because most Christians live by sight and not by faith-exactly like the Israelites. On Sunday morning they praise God aloud. But from Sunday afternoon onwards, their speech is different. It is anger, grumbling and complaining- both in their homes and at their work. Then the next Sunday the sine wave goes up and they start praising God again. After that, the wave goes down again!! This is certainly not how God intended His new-covenant children to live. Cannot the Holy Spirit help us to control our tongue throughout the week? The bible says,“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Giving thanks always for all things." (Philippians 4:4; Ephesians 5:20) That is the will of God for us at all times, in the new covenant. But to do that we must live by faith. We must believe that God has already planned a solution for every problem that we ever face.
When the Israelites complained to Moses, he cried to the Lord, and the Lord said, “The solution to the problem is right there-in front of you.” (Verse 25) The Lord showed him a tree. Moses cut down the tree and put it into the water, and the water was made sweet.
Who planted that tree in the wilderness? Undoubtedly it was God! God had planted that tree near Marah, many years earlier, because He knew that many years later His children would come to Marah and find its waters bitter. So He had actually planned a solution for their problem years in advance. Do you realize that the same God has planned solutions for all your problems also, long before you face those problems? To walk by faith is to believe that.
No problem can suddenly crop up today that takes God by surprise.
Not only does God already know in advance what problems the devil is preparing for us, He has also made a solution for all of them, in advance! So you can face every problem boldly. You will never face a problem where God did not plan a solution. He plants seeds for trees, long before you come to the Marahs in your life- to make the waters sweet for you. Let me urge you to walk by faith in our wonderful, loving Father who is always “silently planning for us in love” (Zechariah 3:17 paraphrased)- and you will overcome all your problems constantly. Never again will complaining and grumbling and anger be found in your mouth, but only praise and thanks to God.