From Marah to Elim


“Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.” Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.”  Exo 15:22-27

Amy and I discussed this narrative not long ago. We were commenting about a building that is going up in town. The building looks commercial, but has a nice detached garage. It is in an area zoned for churches, residential, and commercial. Recently landscapers added palm trees, which are not native to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We were teasing that maybe it was a spa. Since it is across the road from Central where we worship and next door to The Church Without Walls (yes, that is the name), we thought a biblical name for this imagined spa would be Elim Springs Spa. We joked how Marah would not be appropriate.

We were headed home from Sunday evening assembly, so Amy opened a Bible to this passage and read it. I thought, “A Shur way from Marah to Elim” would be a great post. Go back and read Exodus 15:22-27 again, I’ll wait . . . . .

They were in the wilderness of Shur – the Shur way. They came to a place with poor water (Marah means bitterness). They were grumbling, they had been since they left Egypt. They rejoiced over the defeat of Pharaoh’s army God provided at the Red Sea, but they soon forgot and started gripping and complaining. They still lacked a trusting faith in God.

God then uses this bitter place to teach them to trust. “If you will diligently listen . . . do what is right . . . give ear to His commandments and statutes . . .” When they did this God lead them to Elim – an oasis with springs of fresh, cool water and palms providing shade.

The Shur way from Marah to Elim is to follow God in trusting faith. Allow me to restate that, “The sure way from a life of bitterness to a life of blessing is to follow God in trusting faith.”

Will you join me in Elim? – Scott

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