Gracefully Truthful

Adoration,Digging Deeper,Fervent,Forgiven,Healing

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Exodus 15:22-27

Then Moses led Israel on from the Red Sea, and they went out to the Wilderness of Shur. They journeyed for three days in the wilderness without finding water.

23 They came to Marah, but they could not drink the water at Marah because it was bitter—that is why it was named Marah. 24 The people grumbled to Moses, “What are we going to drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he threw it into the water, the water became drinkable.

The Lord made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah, and he tested them there. 26 He said, “If you will carefully obey the Lord your God, do what is right in his sight, pay attention to his commands, and keep all his statutes, I will not inflict any illnesses on you that I inflicted on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy date palms, and they camped there by the water.

The Original Intent

1) What was important for Israel to know about God in this scene?

At the start of this scene, Israel was just three days removed from the Lord victoriously winning their astonishing freedom from their Egyptian slave owners of 430 years. (Exodus 12:40) Their victory was, without question, impossible from a human standpoint.

Make no mistake, the Israelites were in dire need. Three days without water, while walking in a desert, is a deadly scenario. Their need was a true need; it was absolutely essential for Israel to receive water at this point in order to live. Even having witnessed the impossible rescue of an entire nation through the Red Sea, it would be natural to wonder, after three days without water, that the Lord had saved them only to watch them die in misery.

At this point, their thinking had been led astray from the good character of God, having been sabotaged by the Deceiver, Satan. The Lord is good. The Lord provides. The Lord rescues. Because these are true, there is simply no room for panic or fear, only faith as we bring our requests to the Lord with praise for Who He Is.

For Israel, who was only beginning to know the Lord through His working of the 10 plagues and parting the Red Sea in addition to the promises He had given Abraham and Joseph, God treats them with gentle, gracious compassion. The Lord’s words tie what they already know of Him personally and experientially from witnessing His power in Egypt and plainly tell them what kind of God they can expect Him to be towards them. (verse 26)

He would prove His goodness by protecting them from disease, healing them, and staying His hand of wrath against them unlike what He had done to the Egyptians for their faithlessness. The key was Israel needed to practically live out their growing faith in the God they were coming to know.

The Everyday Application

1) What was important for Israel to know about God in this scene?

For our imaginative purposes, suppose Israel’s freedom had been won with an un-rivaled display of God’s authority on Sunday. By Wednesday, the people were complaining to Moses, for their death seemed certain again. In the span of 72 hours, their physical need for water surpassed the spiritual maturity of their faith to rely on the Lord. It’s easy for us to roll our spiritual eyes and judge harshly, but let’s look closer.

We can feel refreshed on Sunday, or even that very morning from prayer and Scripture, only to forget the steadfast character of the Lord hours later.

Mature faith is marked by knowing the character of the Lord and clinging steadfastly to it despite the circumstances we encounter. From this foundation of knowing the Lord, we confidently come to the Lord with every need, assured of His good answer and certain sustenance. (Philippians 4:4-7) He has never failed from the beginning of time, and He will not suddenly slip now.

What do you know is true about the Lord God? How do you know that’s true? Does Scripture support your claims? If so, how does your life, whether in calm or in crises, prove the beliefs your lips claim? I urge you to spend time pursuing more understanding of the Holy One. He longs to be known and has revealed Himself in His Word. Come humbly to the pages of the Bible, ask the Lord to teach you, and He will be faithful to do it! (Jeremiah 33:3) Our Journey Theme, Known, is a great resource to pair with your Scripture exploration of God and His character! Invite a friend to Know the Lord deeper with you and study together!

The Original Intent

2) What was important for Israel to know about themselves?

Up to the point of freedom won by the Hand of God alone, every Israelite in this scene had lived the entirety of their life in slavery dating back 430 years. There were no grandparents or great grandparents or great-great grandparents who could recount personal experiences of living outside of slavery. Everything they knew was total dictatorship by an arrogant, prideful Pharaoh who merely used Israel for his purposes. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and every aspect of their rich, faith history was exactly that: history.

These Israelites had no tabernacle around which to gather and worship, as it didn’t exist yet. The Lord’s holiness didn’t govern them, for His commandments had not yet been given. They had only old stories of Abraham, a free wealthy man, who was given a grand, impossible promise. That impossible promise was fulfilled, through the son of promise, Isaac. Another generation passed, and the promise continued through Isaac’s son Jacob. Yet another generation passed, and a convoluted mess later with multiple wives and concubines and so much sin, a nation was birthed through 12 sons from Jacob who would eventually become the twelves tribes of Israel hundreds of years later.

But what did any of that matter to a nation of slaves? Their bodies were scarred from the relentless whip of the Egyptian task master, their hands were calloused, and their minds were shaped by slave-mentality. Who could free them from the tyrant hand of Pharaoh? Joseph, the hero of Israel’s 12 sons and their families, had died four generations prior. His bones were boxed up, bound by a promise that when Israel was free once more, they would carry his bones to freedom. (Genesis 50:25)

Called to live free while trapped in slavery feels just as impossible as being trapped between Egyptian armies and the impassable Red Sea.

The Everyday Application

2) What was important for Israel to know about themselves?

Stepping, even slightly, into the soles of the slaves, we can’t fault them for their lackluster faith in God’s provision for water when it seemed death was, again, their victor. All they had known was slavery dating back 4 generations; they were owned by cruelty.

When you are shackled by Slavery, your default mindsight is to never trust anyone or anything and you are motivated to rely on yourself and no one else.

When we sit with this understanding, then zoom out to see the cross of Christ and recognize Him as the One who frees from the sin’s chains, we see the kindness of God to give such a clear picture of slavery’s tyranny sewn into the fabric of Israel’s history. We see God as the slave-freer across the generations, for not even the Tyrant of Death can defeat Him.

As Israel flees captivity, with its twisted perceptions and not yet clear understanding of Who this God of their forefathers really is, we see God as tender, compassionate, and gracious, holding them by their toddler hands as they learn to depend on Him and release their slavery mentality.

By understanding who they were as slaves, they could begin to embrace their new identity as freed people who lovingly belonging to the Eternal God.

Every human being was either at one time enslaved to Sin or still remains its prisoner. Apart from accepting the freedom Jesus offers us through complete forgiveness of our sin, we remain slaves of sin. (Romans 6:1-10)

But in Him! Sisters, it’s a new life, every day! To embrace this abundance, we must diligently practice renewing our mind according to His Word and living by faith in His ways, so we not only know Him, but make Him known! (Romans 12:1-2)

The Original Intent

3) Where could Israel find Hope on which to solidly anchor their faith?

Contrary to popular opinion, biblical faith is far from blind; it’s anchored in the everlasting truth that neither fades nor grows outdated. Like God, who is eternal (Isaiah 40:28), and His character that does not change with time, culture, or circumstance (Psalm 119:142), so His Word remains true regardless of any outward influences (Isaiah 40:8).

Where was hope for Israel in the midst of seemingly hopeless bondage that neared a thousand years from the call of Abraham? Hope was hidden in God’s stalwart character and His steadfast promise.

While Israel would have known by heart the stories of the God of their forefathers because of oral tradition, their only personal experience was the familiarity of the Egyptian whip against their skin and their scourge against their livelihood, and even their families as their children were thrown to the Nile.

The Lord knew Israel’s faith would be lacking when He led them across the Red Sea, but He met them where they were and began to teach them His character as faithful provider, righteous judge, and compassionate father.

Despite their lack of faith, God’s character and His promise remained. Genesis 15:13-14 holds a stunning proof as God speaks to Abraham, the man He chose to begin the nation of Israel, “Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be resident aliens for four hundred years in a land that does not belong to them and will be enslaved and oppressed. 14 However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions.” (emphasis mine)

Despite the seeming “forgetfulness” of God while His people suffered, He would hold fast to His promise to free Israel so they, and the world, might know that He alone was worthy of their worship.  

The Everyday Application

3) Where could Israel find Hope on which to solidly anchor their faith?

The Lord met Israel with the faith they had, which was small and tenuous, and preserved them for still another generation as He patiently led them and cared for them in the Wilderness, teaching them to trust Him one step at a time. They bitterly complained and blatantly defied Him no matter how much He provided for them with unconditional love and care. Still, He remained true to His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to bring forth a nation through whom, the whole world would one day be offered eternal rescue from eternal slavery of sin and death.

One day, thousands more generations removed from the Israelites who fled Egypt’s shackles, Christ would allow Himself to be nailed to a cross, taking on every drop of consequence for our sin. He would take on our sin and offer us to take on His righteousness if we would give up our slavery from sin and be set free.

Wherever you are in your faith journey, the same Lord God who tenderly led the newly freed nation of Israel, is walking beside you as you wrestle with faith. He has not left you alone to wander aimlessly, and neither has He left you without a Source for trustworthy hope. His Word endures to this day and His character remains steadfast, readily available for you to anchor your life upon if you’re willing to surrender your sins and its cruel taskmaster.

Open your Bible, explore who this God, for He promises to answer all who truly call on Him. Whether you’ve walked with Him for 50 years or 5 days or you’ve never exchanged your sin for His righteousness, He is ready to show you even more of who He is and where True Hope lies.

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