Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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The Next Stop is Elim


Exodus 15:23  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 journeys of the children of Israel are instructive since we see parallels in the life of a New Testament Christian.  The children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt, a place that had once been a sanctuary for them.  When the Lord saw fit to deliver them from that bondage, He did so miraculously and about 2 million people came out of Egypt and began a trek through a wilderness.  It didn’t take long to realize that this trip was not going to be a walk in the park.   Soon they were being pursued by the Egyptians who had changed their minds about freeing their slave labor.  They had some unbaked bread with them but no water.  All of a sudden the realization that they had some animals but no other food or water to sustain them made them wonder why they had started this journey.  As we look at their journey, there are four places that we need to consider.



This is where the children of Israel were building pyramids for Pharaoh.  Originally they had been shepherds living in a lush area called Goshen but now they were slaves.  This is where they took a perfect lamb and observed it for several days and then killed it and applied its blood to the doors of their homes while roasting and eating the flesh.  While there is much that is instructive in this event, what strikes me is that their calendar started with the month when the lamb was slain.  This was an event that they did not forget.   They were to remember this event yearly with a feast.  This was the month of their redemption or salvation from bondage.  This had to be a “high” in their experience.  How could they ever forget it? 


Red Sea—No turning Back

After being delivered from the Egyptians, on their third encampment they have the Red Sea before them and the Egyptian army behind them.  What were they going to do?  The people questioned Moses as to why he had brought them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness.  Moses told them to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord and we all know the story.  The Lord brought the children of Israel through on dry ground while the Egyptians were drowned in that same sea.  But since the sea would not open up again, now there was no going back.  In many ways this is like the New Testament believer getting baptized.  From that point on, even unbelievers expect the believer to live up to their open identification with the Lord Jesus.  There can be no secret disciples after being baptized. 



So far the children of Israel have seen two mighty miracles (in addition to the miracles done in the land of Egypt).  They have been delivered from Egypt as slaves.  They have been delivered from the Egyptian army at the Red Sea.  But they, like us, never expect the next miracle.  They need water.  It would appear that God has answered their prayers when they come to Marah.  But the water is bitter.  Why would God provide them needed water that can’t be drunk?  Since the water cannot be drunk, it appears to be poisonous but seem to think it was just brackish.  Nevertheless, the Lord was able to make the bitter water sweet.  All it took was for a tree to be thrown into the water.  No doubt, we who are saved need to consider the cross when the trials come.  No matter what we are experiencing, things will be put in perspective.  The experience that seemed bitter will all of a sudden become sweet and satisfying. 


Elim—the Oasis in the Desert

Just beyond Marah there was a place called Elim that had twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees.  I wonder who had dug the wells and who had planted the palm trees.  It makes no difference, the Lord knew that 2 million people would need a place to rest and be refreshed after leaving Egypt, after going through the Red Sea, and after the bitterness of Marah.  God knew how to take care of His people.


Our Journey

Getting the salvation God has provided is exhilarating.  The burden of sin rolls away.  It is a mountain top experience, but very quickly reality sets in.  A person begins to realize that walking by faith and not by sight is more difficult than they expected.  Getting baptized properly means family will be upset.  After being obedient to the Lord on that issue Satan will test us with some bitter experience.  Maybe it will be sickness or death of a loved one or temptations that we cannot control.  It may be the rejection of friends.  But while the experience may be bitter, we need to bring the cross into those circumstances so the Lord can provide sweetness out of that which is bitter.  And then remember, Elim is coming.  The Lord does not forsake His own.  He does not grieve them willingly.  And if you are lingering at Marah today, take courage.  The next stop is Elim.  


Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of January 8, 2017

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