“And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.” (Exodus 15:27)
After the Hebrews left Marah, they came to the place of rest and refreshing. They arrived at the Oasis of Elim where there was an abundance of cool shade and fresh water to drink.
Marah Was On The Route To Elim
Despite the message coming from the pulpit these days, bad things will happen from time to time to even the most faithful of God’s people. The Children of Israel had not wandered off the path where the Spirit of God was taking them, they were following the Pillar every step of the way. It wasn’t their lack of faith that caused them to come to Marah. God brought them to Marah, the place of bitter waters!
Jesus said that the Christian will have tribulation in the world…period (John 16:33). He never said it would come if we did this or did not do that. It will come. God brought the Hebrews to Marah to show them that He is their Provider in all circumstances, good and bad. We will all come to bitter waters in our life, but it is in these times that we must look to the Tree that God has shown us, the Cross of Christ, and let it make those bitter waters sweet.
The Time Comes To Leave Marah
“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b)
The Lord might bring us to Marah, but He does not leave us there. We are called to suffer at times, but that suffering only lasts for a season. The time will come to pack up and leave Marah and enter into the Oasis of Elim. God reminded the Children of Israel in the midst of their time in Marah that He would bring none of the diseases upon them that He brought upon the Egyptians if they would hearken to His voice (Ex. 15:26). What God did to Egypt was judge it, it was the outpouring of His wrath on a people who rejected and defied Him. He will chasten and discipline His own children (Heb. 12:6), but He does not judge them in His wrath (1 Thess. 5:9). God allowed the Hebrews to face the bitter waters of Marah for a purpose; not to destroy them but to build them up.
The Time Comes To Leave Elim
“And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin…” (Exodus 16:1a)
As wonderful and pleasant as Elim was, this was not the final destination for the Children of Israel. The time came for them to leave. And where did they go from there? Into the wilderness again. To be in a place of peace and prosperity is an awesome thing, but we should never expect to stay there indefinitely. We are called to be soldiers for the Lord (2 Tim. 2:3-4) and, though a soldier enjoys rest and recuperation behind friendly lines occasionally, his business is on the field of battle, and he can be certain that it is to there he shall again return. The only reason that the Lord does not snatch us up to Heaven the moment we accept Christ is so that we might fulfill His calling in our lives: to get out His Word to others and share the Gospel Message with a lost and dying world.
A lot of Christians are basking in the sanctuary of Elim, enjoying the peace and prosperity of the Oasis so much that they are unwilling to go back out into the Wilderness. They somehow believe that God’s ultimate purpose for them is to live in luxury and soak up the comforts of this world. But if we are to stay in the will of God, we must be ready to follow the “Pillar” when it moves and go wherever the Holy Spirit is leading.