The children of Israel had experienced the miracle of deliverance from Egypt by passing through the Red Sea on dry land. They began their journey into the wilderness, and in 3 days they were in a crisis. There was no water in the desert. Sometimes we will experience times of great need in our lives. This was a test for them, for God knew there was no water in the wilderness. The only water they found was so bitter they couldn't drink it. It only took 3 days for the Israelites to forget about the God of miracles, and they went in a downward spiral, from need, to disappointment, to complaining, to bitterness. Their experience with God had become bitter, and so they named the place Marah, which means bitter. A revelation was given to Moses that saved their lives. The Lord showed him a tree, which when he cast it into the water, the water was made sweet. There the Lord promised them, that if they would listen to God, and do what He told them to do, that He would keep them in health, and they would not experience the diseases that the Egyptians had, because "I am the Lord who heals you". Some of us need physical healing, but everyone of us needs a healing in our hearts, so that bitterness does not take hold of our lives. Heb. 12:14 says we are to look carefully lest anyone falls short of the grace of God, and a root of bitterness springs up, and by it many become defiled. The battle against bitterness must be won. Our bitterness is turned into sweetness when the power of the cross of Christ is brought into our hearts. His love and forgiveness is the power we need to forgive others, and to heal our hearts of hurts and bitterness.
In contrast to the Israelites experience at Marah, is the instruction we receive from James in chapter 1:2-4. James says that when we fall into great need and trials, that we should consider it as joy! With a positive faith that believes God is a God of miracles, we do not have to go in a downward spiral, but we can exercise our faith, and find joy in the midst of trials. We know that through the trial we will develop patience, and as we watch God work through this trial, our patience will be made complete and we will mature. Many times I have said to my wife during a time of trial, that when we get through this, we will be better people for it. With a positive faith that believes God for miracles, we will develop maturity in God, and we will not be lacking in the joy, and faith, and hope that God wants us to have.
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