The Water Tests Of True Faith

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Exodus 14:15-16 (KJV)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:  [16]  But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

I was reading an article the other day where the Author suggested that the God of the Old Testament was different from the God of the New Testament. The reason – he said – is because if you read the New Testament you read about

the BLIND seeing
the LEPERS cleansed
the LAME made to walk
The LUNATIC restored to a proper mind
The DEAF can hear
and the DEAD are raised

The New Testament seems to be filled with love and hope. Yet he said as you read through the Old Testament you read how that:

the Egyptians are drowned
the firstborn not under the Blood are killed
Nations undergo suffering
Canaan is invaded, and all are ordered dead

There are parts of the Old Testament that shock our modern permissive sensibilities. But I want to stress to you all that God is God. He has not changed from the Old to the New Testament. He is, He was, and He will be the same forever.

Deuteronomy 4:35 (KJV)  Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.

Deuteronomy 4:39 (KJV)  Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

Isaiah 43:10-11 (KJV)  Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.  [11]  I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.

There are hundreds of verses in Scripture that declare God has never changed.
The God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament.
The Grace that saved Abraham is the Grace that saves us.
The Grace that saved Israel from Egypt is the Grace that saves us.

We are told in Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, forever
Sin is just as destructive today, but God is just as good.

Our God is good and faithful. He offers His love to whosoever will!

God Proves Himself Faithful
When There Is Too Much Water

As Israel stood at the edge of the Red Sea they needed to look upward and trust the God Who saved them. Moses is their preacher and leader.

God tells Moses to tell Israel to go forward.
Do not look backwards to Egypt.
God did not save you to let the world destroy you, but look forward.
Look up. God is on your side.

God tells Moses to do something strange, something that has nothing at all to do with common sense. He tells Moses to listen to Him by faith. The Lord says to Moses …

Exodus 14:16 (KJV) But lift thou up THY ROD, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Moses you take that same Rod you used for the sheep in Midia, the same Rod that you used to kill that Egyptian taskmaster … lift that Rod you used (and misused) as I COMMAND and you’ll see a new thing!

Trust God with what He has put in your hand. If God leads you TO it, God will lead you THROUGH it. God has a purpose for you and your things. Let God guide you and you will be blessed.

Now come the words that disturb our modern, politically correct sensibilities. God tells Moses..

Exodus 14:17-18 (KJV) And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

If you read these words out of context it seems as if God is overly harsh. But Beloved, remember that God gave Pharaoh and Egypt TEN CHANCES to repent, and even now they will not repent.

So God is going to show Egypt something.
God is going to show Israel something.
In fact, God is going to show US something.

The Egyptians will follow their hearts, and suffer for it. There is blessing and promotion in following God, but death in following self and selfishness. God can part the sea for you, or crush you under its waves. Who will you follow? Will you follow God or your desires? Will you follow God or sin? Sins robs of the greatest gift, the Gift of God’s Presence. That is a poor choice.

The Egyptians are following the god of themselves.
They are letting the flesh drive them.

That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is of the Spirit is Spirit”.
“You must be born again”.
The Spirit must govern you, not the Flesh.
To follow God is life and peace.
To follow God is to see the impossible happen.

It happened just as God said. Israel went across on dry land, even in the midst of the sea. But the Egyptians, filled with the flesh, died in the midst of the sea. Why? The Scripture declares that the works of the flesh shall not prosper.

Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV) … the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that THEY WHICH DO SUCH THINGS SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

The Promised Land is not for those who love the world or the things of the world. The Promised Land is for God’s Children. The Promised Land is for those who trust in the Lord and do His will.

Last week I was asked if I was a Pastor by a strange homeless man. When I said I was this individual came up and began cursing me, trying to get me to respond in the flesh. I tried addressing him and telling him that he needed Jesus, but in the end I just got in my van and drove away. God would bless this man if he would turn to the Lord by faith, but he will not. His heart is hardened by sin, and by disobedience to God. He would not hear the Lord, nor His Gospel. And so he drowns in a sea of his own misery. That is what the Egyptians did. They made a choice to charge into the corridor of the parted sea, believing they had power over it. Only God can part the waters. Only God can save. He will save, if we will trust in Him.

When Israel came out of the Red Sea and saw Egypt crushed under its waves they sat on the shore of the sea and sang a song of praise unto God.
In Exodus 15:1-21 we see the first song of the Bible.

Exodus 15:1-2 (KJV)  Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.  [2]  The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

The Red Sea is literally Red with the blood of the defeated. Yet God’s people sing and praise Him. His people unite in song to praise the Lord Who saved them. The Lord took an impossible situation and turned it around. The enemy ended up defeating themselves.

Did you know that most of the songs of praise unto the Lord in the Bible are in the OLD Testament, not the NEW Testament. Why? Because God overwhelmed His people with Grace, even in that “OLD” Book! We should call it the OVERWHELMING Testament!

I wish I knew the tune to this song so I could sing it. Hebrew songs are different from ours. Ideas are rhymed rather than words. Listen to the song (in part):

Exodus 15:3-6 (KJV) The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name. 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5 The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. 6 Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

That may seem like a harsh song, but Israel had been bitterly held in slavery for 430 years. Their children had been sold as slaves, molested, raped. God saved Israel with a great Grace, just as He saved us with a great Grace. God would have saved Egypt had they turned to Him. Yet they would not – and were destroyed.

Having been saved by a mighty hand you would think that Israel would trust God no matter what. Yet Israel is fickle. We are fickle. How often has God blessed us when something seemingly bad happens – and we doubt the Lord. God saved Israel from TOO MUCH WATER. Now God will put His people to the test to show us that …

God Is Faithful Even When There Is BITTER Water

Exodus 15:22-23 (KJV)  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.

The word MARAH means BITTER.
MARAH was not Israel’s destination, but VICTORY.

God saved His people from too much water. Now His people do as He commands – they go three days into the wilderness. Israel is obeying God. That’s the right thing to do. Beloved, when we obey God we may be challenged by life itself, but God is in control. We are to trust the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Psalms 56:3-4 (KJV) What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

When the people went three days into the wilderness and found no water they began to get bitter in their hearts. They began to QUESTION God rather than trust Him. God knows what they are thinking. God knows what you are thinking. Do not let the trials of life embitter you – trust Him. With bitterness in their hearts they found water in a place called Marah which means Bitterness. What does the Bible say about BITTERNESS?

Ephesians 4:31-32 (KJV) LET ALL BITTERNESS, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And BE YE KIND ONE TO ANOTHER, TENDERHEARTED, FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER, EVEN AS GOD for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Israel became bitter against God, so God let them go to Marah or bitterness. When they got to Marah they found water – but the water was BITTER just as the people were BITTER. When you are bitter then it effects all that God can do for you.

Exodus 15:24 (KJV) And the people murmured against Moses, saying,
What shall we drink? 

But Moses went to the Lord. We read:

Exodus 15:25 (KJV){Moses} 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

The bitter waters were made sweet when a tree was cast into the water.
The Tree is a picture of the Cross.

Galatians 3:13-14 (KJV)  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, CURSED IS EVERY ONE THAT HANGETH ON A TREE:  [14]  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

When the Cross of Christ was cast into my life, the Lord took the bitterness and despair and made my life sweet. When I trust Him and obey Him even in the darkness of life He will be my Sunshine! He will be my Savior!

Now Israel has not yet received The Law at Sinai, and yet Moses says something very significant. I’ve read through this text many times and never noticed this till just now. Moses warned the people – those saved by Grace and not by Law (for the Law was not yet given):

Exodus 15:26-27 (KJV) 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.  [27]  And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

God tells His people – those He has saved by Grace – “You must hear My Word and Do what I say if you want to be blessed”. Too many times the American Church has preached a salvation by Grace but has called none to RESPONSIBILITY. If you are saved by His Grace like Israel was, then you are His and not your own.

1 Corinthians 6:20 (KJV) For YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

When Moses threw a tree in the bitter water it was a beautiful image of the Cross of Christ. We enjoy the blessings of God because of the Tree. We drink of His waters because of the Tree. We have life because of the Tree. And we belong to Him because of the Tree. What was the watchword of the early Church?

Acts 5:29 … We ought to obey God rather than men …

It is God Who we follow.
It is Christ Who saved us.
It is His Spirit that leads us.

Right after Moses tossed a tree into Marah to make the waters sweet Israel traveled on to Elim (which means “Palms”) where they found twelve wells of good water and 70 palm trees – a wonderful oasis in the desert. Had Israel trusted God and passed on by Marah (Bitterness) singing they would have come to God’s abundance. The Lord knows what is ahead of us – will we trust Him or our senses? The Lord calls us to trust Him, to love Him, to follow Him, to do as He says. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:24-27 (KJV) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

We are not just to HEAR, but to HEAR AND DO. We are to trust our Lord if He will bless us.

God Is Faithful Even When We Are Not

So Israel leaves Elim, a place of abundance because of the Lord. Do they trust God? No. Coming to Rephidim we read:

Exodus 17:1-4 (KJV)  And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink.  [2]  Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?  [3]  And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?  [4]  And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. 

The people were moving according to the commandment of the Lord, doing as God told them to do. Then they come to Rephidim … and find no water here. The name of the place should have given them a hint. “Rephidim” means “The Resting Place”. God is not going to bring Israel to “The Resting Place” and let them die of thirst.

They have just left Elim where there was a virtual oasis in the desert provided by God. Now they see no water. Do they trust God? No, they rebel against Moses and the Lord. Moses cries out to God, and the Lord tells him:

Exodus 17:5-7 (KJV)And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.  [6]  Behold, I WILL STAND BEFORE THEE THERE UPON THE ROCK IN HOREB; and THOU SHALT SMITE THE ROCK, AND THERE SHALL COME WATER OUT OF IT, THAT THE PEOPLE MAY DRINK. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.  [7]  And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?

Moses is to take his Rod, the same Rod he struck the Red Sea with, and he is to stand before a Rock in Horeb.

What is HOREB?
HOREB is another name for Mount Sinai.
It is the Mountain that Moses will receive the Law from God.
The Law has not yet been given,
But Israel has had an abundance of God’s Grace.
God told Moses,
“I will stand BEFORE YOU at Horeb, and you shall STRIKE THE ROCK”
Do you see the picture of the Cross?
Moses strikes the Rock, but God is BEFORE Moses.
God is struck. God our Rock is struck.

Psalms 18:2-3 (KJV) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

God led Israel to Rephidim, which means a “Resting Place”. But they refused to rest in Him. Saved from Egypt, they continued to live like the world. God gave them water from the Rock, but Rephidim became Meribah Massah which means “temptation and strife”. Saved from Egypt, they were not blessed. This generation of Israel would receive the Law from Horeb, and wander aimlessly in the wilderness until all were dead.

They would take a knee and run out the clock of life, so close to the Promised Land, but never entering in.

I grieve because so many Christians die never knowing the fullness of God. They leave this life and yes, enter Heaven because of the Blood of Christ. But the only find His joy and peace fully in Heaven. Christ came to save us to take us to His Promised Land. God came to bless us not just in the sweet by and by, but in the NOW. For God is good, and God is able, and God is to be trusted. Oh, that every person would understand that the blessings of life are only found in following the Lord where He leads.

For God is able.
Christ is able.
Let us serve only Him!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in Exodus, Faithfulness of God, Following Disciples, Following Jesus, Sermons Preached and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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