Tag Archives: Exodus 15

The Decision after the Dance

I have a fascination with the redemptive story of Israel. That is likely the case because I have a great resemblance with the children of Israel; I too get out of line, get in trouble, get right, get rescued and then like a good shampoo, I will lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again it happens. So when I read chapters like the 15th chapter of Exodus it always make me wonder why God puts up with me. The children of God had just seen the miraculous work of the Lord in parting the sea so they could walk through on dry ground, they then watched it kill their enemy by crashing back down on them. Think on that a second! So they’re on the shore, singing and dancing and praising the Lord, and Moses breaks up the party to continue their journey to the Promised Land.

I envision this much like a car ride with my kids for vacation. They start out excited, but after the first few hours on the road the whining and fighting would begin. Multiply that times the million or two that Moses had in the back seat. I don’t know what kept him sane. But following the great miracle came a time of dryness when the children of Israel couldn’t find water; and that’s a legit complaint. But they had just seen God take millions of gallons of water and displace it through the staff of Moses, so why did they really think a drink would be a problem for Him?

Exodus 15:23-27

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And 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. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

The Dance

My previous Pastor called it “the honeymoon” stage when a person first accepted Jesus as Savior. It seems like everything in the world is roses and chocolate if you’re a woman, or Black and Decker ® if you’re a guy. It’s all good. But it’s not long until you discover that life’s not always good, sometimes it’s downright lousy but you eventually come through it and it is once again time to dance. But then there is another time…

The Dry

It’s a longer period of time, when things do not get better quickly. You don’t feel the presence of God and frustration begins to set in. You try to have faith, but it’s wavering and your patience for change grows thin. You ask questions of God such as “Why and When.” Just like the children of Israel.

The Decision

There comes a time when you have to decide, am I going to whine, or am I going to whip the Devil through the promises of God?

In the very last verse of that chapter, the rescue came in the form of a camp sight oasis of sort. Twelve wells and seventy palm trees. That oasis also came with the promise of healing and rest if they were obedient to God’s commands.

Numbers play an important role in scripture. Especially the numbers 12 and 70. There are multiple references to those and they make an interesting study, but for today’s message I offer this thought:

12 Disciples and the 70 sent (Matthew 10:1 and Luke 10:1)

Not likely a coincidence that God used those numbers and it draws my mind into the importance of Christian fellowship and service. The children of Israel had lost sight of the role that they played in God’s plan. They were His chosen! After this journey He had promised them a wonderful life. Technically the journey too could have been wonderful. But they blew it when the lost sight of the power of God.

New believers in Christ usually believe that they could whip a bear with a fly swatter if they thought God told them too. But over time we begin to take our relationship with God for granted. We’re grounded in the faith, we don’t need to be in church “every service.” A few “worldly things won’t hurt,” and it’s not long until we’re dry and dusty and there is no water in sight. And we begin to complain that God’s just not there for us anymore, knowing that He didn’t move, we did. It’s so much easier to blame God than to look at where we left Him.

New Testament references: When Joseph and Mary left 12 year old Jesus in the temple, they found Him just where they left Him. When the woman with the
12 year” issue of blood reached out for Jesus she was healed, when the 12 year old girl died, and her father came to Jesus, Jesus brought her back to life. Twelve is the number of completion and we are complete in Christ. He has chosen us, just as He did the twelve.

As for the number 70: By God’s direction Moses appointed 70 elders in Israel to stand with him in the tabernacle. And in Luke 10:17 “The seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” The 70 were excited about what the Lord had done. They had gone out two by two and God provided for them in their walk with and for Christ.

I don’t know if I’m correct, but I know how the Lord impressed my heart on this matter this morning. Fellowship is important, both with the leaders (12), and with the servants (70). There is great and healing, comfort and rest in the people of God. Israel should have trusted God and they should have looked to Moses for leadership instead of complaining. They also should have come together as people of God. But they decided to whine. That whining cost them 40 years of no direction and they missed the joy of entering into the land of promise.

Whining because things aren’t what you’d like won’t keep you out of Heaven, but it will prevent your joy in the journey. Staying out of church won’t keep you out of Heaven but it will costs you your joy, fellowship and relationship with the Lord. We need it. I need it.

Hearing the Word of God and being in the fellowship of God’s people brings healing and comfort to the soul. Don’t miss out. Be in a bible believing, preaching, serving church this Sunday!!! and share this message with someone struggling to stay faithful. I love you, but more importantly, JESUS LOVES YOU!!!

Our Greatest Ministry

Psalm 34:8a

 O taste and see that the Lord is good:

There have been some events in my life that even the very thought of them causes me to crinkle my nose, roll my eyes and a get queasy in my gut. Times in my life that were just not stellar moments either because of something I had done, or something done to me. They’d left a bad taste in my mouth, much like the water that caused the children to murmur against Moses in Exodus 15:23-24:

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

The water was not the only thing that was bitter, so were they. Why had God brought them to this place with a promise of prosperity and then sat them before bitter water? That hardly seemed right. He’d called them His chosen, the favored of Heaven, should not they be drinking bottled water from the finest of springs? I just realized that I blogged this passage two days ago, so obviously God has a message in it for us, what is it about that bitter water?

I spent yesterday at a ladies retreat in Lexington, VA in hopes of reviving my soul. I wanted to drink from sweet fountain of Christ and be encouraged, and at days end I was, but throughout the day my heart was broken for the three guest speakers. Each had a brokenness that surpassed anything I could imagine. Yes, I’ve had my days of marah, but they paled in comparison to the loss of a family to sin, the loss of a marriage to abuse, the loss of a child to death. Inside my head I kept hearing myself say “Stop the murmuring Shari, you’re ridiculous, you’ve got nothing compared to them!”

There were several notable quotes throughout the day, I’m sure someday I’ll make them mine and totally take credit for the genius, but I can’t take credit, nor give credit for the one I’m about to write because I didn’t take down who spoke, it was said in passing and it stuck in my mind like gum to the bottom of a summer shoe.

“Our greatest ministry comes out of our greatest hurt.”

Is that deep or what? Not only deep but true. All three of the women from the retreat were not murmuring, but rahter using the bitter waters that they’d had to drink to pour sweetness into the soul of other hurting women. Other women who had stood before the same bitter waters.

I thought about what brought me to this place in my life, where I feel entitled to call myself the Jesus Chick and blog my thoughts thinking them worthy of encouraging people. “Who am I, Lord?” I’ve not got any great tragedy (thank you Jesus), what do I possibly have to give someone? I have a few bad tastes in my mouth, but not real bitterness… But then I hear “you’ve tasted my graciousness.”

1 Peter 2:3-5

If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

I’m not the one found strong enough to face the tragedies  and stand before the bitter waters these women of yesterday faced, although I’m fully aware that day may come, I have no clue what tomorrow holds.  But God clearly said to me, “Everyone’s life has heartache and sorrow… so has yours. But you’ve always chosen to drink the bitter water and call Me gracious for the mercy I’ve shown you.”

This morning I’m so humbled to be a part of that spiritual house in Heaven and the holy priesthood on earth. I hope you understand that regardless of where you are or who you are in life, you are special in the site of God and worthy through His blood that was shed for you.

To “taste” is to experience. Savor the blessings of life and share that goodness with everyone you meet.

“Our greatest ministry comes out of our greatest hurt.”

Grab your timbrel and dance!

So again I’m excited… A new Pastor’s on his way, I’m heading to a ladies retreat in Virginia for the weekend, and Sunday is just around the corner. Woohoo… life is good! This morning I’m away on business so I’m in the lobby of a hotel, thinking about the goodness of the Lord. Grinnin’… probably causing the lady that is setting up breakfast (and not overly happy about it) to wonder why someone would be so joyous at 6:05 in the morning. Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to explain it to her but for now I’ll revel in the Word of God which has my heart stirred this morning.

I encourage you to read Exodus 15 this morning. What a chapter of victory! Moses is singing a song (and it rhymes, I love that!) Israel is reminiscing about Pharaoh and his band of merry men being swallowed up in the sea and I would suppose that all of us can identify with the feeling of being pursued in such a way that you absolutely thought it was curtains for you this time; only to be snatched from the jaws of death by almighty God! I love that too! Those scriptures of victorious living this morning had me on shouting ground and then I read once verse too far. Actually, I’ll consider it a warning having just come out of a consuming sea kind of time in my life. The warning is this… we’re just a few words from a complaint.

My heart was just about to bust out of my chest when I words of fatality to the song of victory…

Exodus 15

21 And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.

23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?

I almost laughed. You’re worried about water? God just split the sea, walked you through on dry ground, destroyed your enemy with the same water and you’re worried about what you’ll drink? Oh my goodness… I’m pretty sure these people were Baptist! We’re always looking for the next failure!

So God just brought us through, what now?

I want to remember this scripture when the new Preacher arrives and we’re tempted to complain because something is going according to plan. I want to remember the bitter water and remind myself to add a little sugar and drink it any way.

Well… my days starting early… no time to finish this thought like I’d like too, but just a reminder to you and I both, Grab your timbrel and Dance!!!!