Exodus 15: “So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet…”
I’ve been writing about bitterness. The bitter water of Marah and the bitterness of Naomi’s soul, and today I want to talk a little bit about the path to victory.
In this chapter in Exodus, we read how the children of Israel were three days in the wilderness looking for water when they came to Marah. It was called Marah because of the bitter water.
After they discovered the bitter water they began to complain against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?
In the verse above we read that Moses cried out to the Lord. I want to first point out that Moses cried out to the Lord. This is not my topic for today, but I believe crying out is a form a prayer. (Numbers 20:16, 1 Kings 17:21, Psalm 18:6). The first key to your victory over bitterness will involve your crying out to God! He is the only one who not only truly understands the circumstances and root of your bitterness, but He is the only one who can effectively deal with it.
After Moses cried out to the Lord, the Lord showed him a tree. And when he cast it into the waters the waters were made sweet.
I googled the area to see what it looks like. It is located in modern day Saudi Arabia and it looks like a typical desert: dry, arid, barren land. The same as a bitter soul.
But the Lord showed Moses a tree. A tree He had already prepared for their deliverance. Even if there were several trees around, this particular tree had an assignment from the Lord. It would be used to purify the water for the use of His people.
Before the children of Israel had ever arrived at the wilderness, before they had tasted the bitter water, God had a tree marked with their deliverance. And the fact that Moses prayed (cried out) to the Lord, He was able to see the provision.
It just doesn’t make any sense that throwing a tree in a body of bitter water would cleanse it, and yet it did. And now that this water is no longer bitter, it is useful for drinking, (for both man and animals) and for cooking, and whatever else they need for the sustaining life. Things are looking better!
Same thing with Naomi. She was complaining about her situation from the bitterness of her soul, but God had already provided her deliverance. Ruth!
Ruth 4:14-15- “Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter -in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.’”
These were probably the same women who asked, “Is this Naomi?” And the Bible states that the women named him Obed (Servant).
So here God has provided Naomi with an heir through Ruth, someone to love her and provide for her in her old age. But she didn’t recognize this when she was filled with bitterness. As a matter of fact, it is as if the women had to point it out to her: Obed for her would be a restorer of life and would be a nourisher for her old age, and Ruth was better than seven sons!
In other words, there’s no more reason to be bitter Naomi, look at all that God has provided for you!!
I think bitter people are short sighted, ungrateful people. The Bible mentions other examples but time won’t allow for me to bring them up. But thankfully He doesn’t want us to stay there!
After God brings healing to the waters of Marah, He establishes a statue with the children of Israel that He is Jehovah Rapha the God that heals. (Another topic to deep for mentioning here.)
Then in the last verse, verse 27, they arrive at a place called Elim. In this place they discover 12 wells of water and seventy palm trees. Just as Naomi’s story ends on a high, the children of Israel’s story ends on a high. God provided them with more than enough! He provided them with plenty of wells, and plenty of shade after their experience at Marah.
When we allow God, in the midst of bitterness, to “sweeten the water” our future will be much brighter than our current situation. The tree of life still cleanses and purifies bitterness. Allow it to cleanse the bitterness of your soul.
Don’t wait another day to cry out to the Lord. Then look for His provision in the situation. Whatever He shows you, whatever He asks of you, grab hold to it as your provision, and receive a cleansing of your soul. Let the rest of your life be the best of your life! Wonderful Jesus!!