Passage: Exodus 15:22-27
Speaker: Steve Hands
Series: Coming Home – A Journey Through Exodus
Believing In The Lord Our Healer
Why does God let things in our lives get so bad sometimes? In Exodus 15:22-27 God’s people had just experienced one of the greatest rescues God had ever provided, only for God to allow them to get to the brink of death by dehydration. The people grumbled, but Moses cried out to God and received rescue and revelation. So we too have a choice, when problems invite us to question the love of God, we can cry out for God’s powerful grace, because the LORD is our healer.
First, we have to deal with the reality that problems will enter our lives that invite us to question the love of God (Exodus 15:22-24). Over the course of three thirsty days of travel, the Israelites’ hearts shriveled from celebratory singing to faithless grumbling. In light of their present dire circumstances, the dramatic rescue of God in the plagues and Sea faded fast. Finding bitter water was the last straw, a mockery of their plight. So too our lives can shift quickly from the mountaintops of God’s rescue, provision, and nearness, to the valleys of trouble, and need. In those moments, we will likely be tempted to question the presence or goodness or love of God towards us, as the Israelites were. But we don’t have to give in to grumbling as they did. These times of trouble do not have to be the occasions for the destruction of our faith. These “tests” (Exo. 15:25) are designed by God not to exclude us, nor determine whether or not we are worthy, but to draw us into deeper relationship with God so we can follow him better (Exo. 20:20). These situations are designed to be the very means by which God draws us closer to himself and helps us know our suffering savior Jesus and his power even more deeply.
Instead of grumbling, we can cry out for God’s powerful grace (15:25a). Rather than joining the rest of the Israelites in grumbling, Moses cried out to God. With no plan or solution, with no indication of how God might move or work, Moses simply cried out for help to the LORD. And God responded powerfully in gracious patience with his people. God took an ordinary log and made it an instrument of miraculous purification. God took a bitter stream and turned it into the waters of provision. The desert was no more difficult of a place for God to provide for his people than the verdant promised land. And God was not just powerful to save, but gracious in his patience. In this first instance of grumbling, God does not even chide the Israelites for their faithlessness, but provides for their needs regardless. So too as we struggle with our challenges, may we remember God’s power to rescue and his patience with us in our struggles to be faithful. But why is God so gracious to rescue us?
In our problems we cry out for God’s powerful grace because he is the LORD our healer (15:25b-27). In light of their grumbling against him, God graciously invited his people to listen to him diligently, to learn from him, that they might do what is right and enjoy a blessed relationship with God, coming to know him as the LORD their healer. What the Israelites began to learn about God at Marah, we have come to know much more fully in Christ. God called his people to full obedience, but where they failed Christ obeyed perfectly and credited his righteousness to us (2 Cor. 5:21). What’s more, by the Spirit in us, we have new life and power to obey God (Rom. 8:9-13). By the wounds of Christ, the LORD is more our healer than ever (Isaiah 53:5), both for our mortal bodies now (James 5:14-16) and for eternal life to come (Rev. 21:3-7). We know the LORD our healer better now than ever, so may we choose to cry to him as we remember his powerful grace.
So what? We all have a choice. In the moments and seasons of our trouble, when God seems absent and his past rescues so distant, we must choose between grumbling and crying out in a prayer of faith. May we, as followers of Christ, never forget God’s powerful grace toward us, displayed once at Marah, and once-for-all in Jesus’s cross and resurrection, so that we may choose to cry out to the LORD our healer in faith.