from Marah to Elim
|When Life Turns Bitter, Instead of Better|
“WHEN LIFE TURNS BITTER, INSTEAD OF BETTER”
INTRODUCTION:A) ILL. 8 Ways you can tell it’s going to be a rotten day. 1) You see the news team in your office.
2) You call suicide prevention and they put you on hold.
3) You turn on the news and they are showing emergency routes out of the city.
4) Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
5)Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of hostile bikers on the freeway.
6) Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
7) You income tax check bounces.
8) You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
2.We can laugh, because too often we can relate, because we know that life has a way of turning bitter.
a.Each of us could give personal examples of disappointment, frustration, weakness, sickness and failure.
3.This was how the children of Israel felt as they stood on the banks of Marah, their only water supply, found after a three-day search, only to find it contaminated and bitter. (Flood of Negative emotions, and all justifiable)
a. “Nothing seemed to be going right, now this.”
b. “We’ve waited so long just to be disappointed.”
c.“We’ve worked so hard to obey God, just to lead us to failure and maybe death.”
d.This was more than just a rotten day, Life had left them no options.
4. But for God’s people the “bitter experiences” are often designed into our lives.
a.Not always a sign of our disobedience, but at times a sign of our obedience.
b.Not as something to avoid as evil, but should be accepted as a benefit.
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
c.ILL. In the Northeast codfish is a big business, but at first they had problems shipping them. First froze them but found it caused them to lose flavor, later they tried shipping them alive in tanks, but strangely the flavor was still not as good (soft and mushy). Finally, some creative person thought to put in the tank with the codfish, their natural enemy, catfish that chased them around the tank the whole trip and found that there was no loss of flavor.
d. Like the codfish, the believer shines the greatest when under pressure
e.We are designed as overcomers, not escape artists, not faith magicians, but overcomers through Christ Jesus.
f.But before we can ever be the overcomer we’re meant to be, we must understand the message behind the “bitter experiences” in our lives.
I. THE MESSAGE OF OUR “BITTER EXPERIENCES”.
a.This message was more than a telegram, it was a revelation from God of Himself.
b.The reason behind their “bitter experience” and the reason for our “bitter experiences.”
c.ILL. In order to realize the worth of an anchor , we need to feel the stress of the storm - and god revealed to the children of Israel that he was that anchor.
d.The message God wanted them to get was yet another covenant name of himself “Jehovah Rapha - the Lord My healer”.
e.But he would use this experience as an object lesson to the full meaning of the word.
A. I’M THE HEALER OF YOUR LIFE.
1.He used a circumstance in their life to reveal himself as their healer.
2.He wants us to know that when our life turns bitter, He’s still the sweetener.
3. He wants us to know when our life gets heavy, He’s still the burden bearer.
4.There are times when it’s my life that needs healing.
B.I’M THE HEALER OF YOUR WOUNDS.
1.The hebrew word Rapha refers to wounds usually inflicted externally, such as battle wounds.
2.Often we need healing from wounds that others have inflicted on our lives. Harsh words, the attack of the enemy, a wounded past, a broken heart.
3.He’s the “balm of Gilead” we can apply to the external wounds of living.
4.ILL. Once was a man that was a devout christian who had suffered a great tragedy in his home, his sweet little girl had been killed and he found himself in the darkness and isolation of grief, and he remembered feeling how God had closed the door on him and had forgotten. One day he was strolling along the street when he saw a little girl, standing at the gate outside of her house calling for her mother to come open the door, after frustration and crying, the mother finally came and said, “Didn’t you know I’d come.” The father let him know there was love on the other side of the closed doors.
C.I’M THE HEALER OF YOUR DISEASES.
1.God wanted to make it clear that he not only heals emotionally and spiritually, but that physical healing was clearly pointed out in this covenant with his people.
Ex. 15:26 He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."
2.Jesus was our proof that God’s nature is strongly one that reaches to heal.
3.The promise of his healing virtue is as eternal as his nature.
II. THE QUESTIONS THAT OUR “BITTER EXPERIENCES” FORCES US TO ANSWER.
a.The bible says that there God “tested” them.
b.It’s one thing to know something and quite another thing to know how to apply that truth to our circumstances.
c.The test was not to see if they understood that principle, but if they were willing to practice those principles. (Talk overcoming or walk overcoming)
d.When we begin to apply His name to our lives, it will uncover some deeper questions.
A.WILL WE TURN TO HIM OR TURN INTO GRUMBLERS?
1.There are “recreational grumblers” - enjoy grumbling.
2.There are “broadcast grumblers” - spread the word.
3. There are “social grumblers” - always have the multitude on your side.
4.When you choose to turn to God you like Moses stand alone.
5.Grumbler’s accommodate the “bitter” things in their lives, but those who turn to God confront the problem’s in their life. (I’m willing to Overcome this in Jesus Christ)
B.WILL WE LET HIM TURN THE BITTER THINGS SWEET IN OUR LIFE?
1.God didn’t provide them a new spring, but he turned the bitter water sweet.
2.Some refuse healing in their life, because they demand an escape instead of a solution.
3.Not willing to let God turn a bitter job into a sweet one?
4.Not willing to let God turn a bitter marriage into a sweet one?
5.Not willing to let God turn a bitter enemy into a close friend?
6.Sometimes God simply wants to transform what you already have.
C.WILL WE BE VULNERABLE ENOUGH TO TASTE THE WATER AGAIN?
1.Some scholars believe that some of the children of Israel had already tasted of the waters at Marah and it had made them sick, and news spread throughout the camp of it’s contamination.
2.Now Moses was telling the people after throwing a stick into it, that it’s ready to drink?
3.they that drank the water had to let themselves be vulnerable to sickness again.
4.When theirs been deep wounds cut by others in our lives, it’s difficult to risk being hurt again.
5.Are we willing to risk loving those who hurt us? That’s the only way healing will come.
6.Are we willing to risk the chance that God might not heal our bodies? Jesus demanded some odd things of the crippled -”Carry Your Cot, Lepers, ect.
D.WILL YOU USE WHAT’S ALREADY PROVIDED?
1.God instructed Moses to brake off a branch that had been growing there for years. A branch that had always been there.
2.Many may have said, Lord that’s too simple a solution to such a great need - but God often provides us with what we need before we need it.
3.Are we willing to use the Word Of God for our healing?
Ps. 107:20 He sent forth his word and healed them;
4.Are we willing to Lay hands on each other for our healing?
James 5:14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
6.Stop waiting for Benny Hinn to bring you your healing, the branch of healing is within your reach.
III. THE REST OUR “BITTER EXPERIENCES” LEAD US TO.
Ex. 15:27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.
a.When in our time of testing or time of sickness we lean on the Jehovah Rapha of our lives, he’ll lead us to a place of rest
b.After he’s brought us through victoriously, we discover that there’s an oasis of his provision, just on the other side of our circumstances.
c.Not everyone will be willing to let God lead them through, not everyone will know the rest of his care.
A.HE BECOMES THAT OASIS AT ELIM.
1.An oasis of refreshing that restores our strength.
2.An oasis of covering and shade from the heat.
3.Remember, that His “Marah experiences” in our live is to lead us to His rest and His assurance.