v22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter.
Gito began with these words, New Year means New Hope. This was a wonderful sermon as Gito reminded us that sometimes life for us is bitter. We find something that looks nice, but leaves people beaten at the end; the abuse of alcohol, gambling, drugs. The news is often negative and that can makes us bitter. Being around criticism, hearing of life’s struggles, work problems family problems and how this can influence us to become bitter.
When we have difficulties we groan and moan, and we see this in this passage, the people found the water bitter and they moaned. Longing to go back to what they had, knowing that that was a life of abuse and slavery. This desert experience where a people longed for fresh cool water but got something else and with that the question where is God, why has he left us.
But we were reminded that grumbling doesn’t change circumstances- instead we have to do something, and the something here was Moses crying out to God, and receiving this odd response, throw wood into the water. And the wood had the effect of making the water sweet and drinkable and refreshing. The wood changed the circumstances of the people, the wood provided what was needed. The wood came to the peoples aid and saved them.
Gito drew the comparison with another piece of wood; one shaped like a cross on which hung our saviour Jesus. That with this wood God provided the power for us to be saved. The power for us to have salvation which comes from faith in Jesus. The power to save is not ours, the power to save has been provided by God. The choice is ours to accept it, to know life can be different, to recognise that in life’s desert there is a way for us to drink from the cup of life, that as it happened at Elim (Ex 15.27) where there was plenty of water and food, where refreshing came God has provided a way out of the desert for us. HIs promise is one of love, joy, peace and hope . God will never disappoint us, when we go through hard times we are to put our trust in God because God is good. So we are not to give up, but to step forward and accept the love of God and his forgiveness and the power of what he has accomplished on the wood.