Today we begin Exodus Chapter 17.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
The Israelites have just left the Seen Desert and are heading towards Mount Sinai.
And they again find themselves in a dire situation where if they don’t get some water, they know they will all die of dehydration.
Desperate, they point their fingers at Moses and begin their characteristic grumbling and complaining.
One has to wonder if they forgot all that God had done for them previously.
Did they forget that God had previously fed them water earlier at a place they later named MARA (bitterness)?
Was not the constant presence of God manifesting as a cloud not reassuring enough for them?
There is an interesting point about the bitterness of the Israelites I want to talk about.
As a saved and redeemed people, the Israelites really had no need to be bitter.
Yet they were.
Well, because “bitterness” is the natural state of all mankind.
We are unable to save nor change ourselves.
All of mankind is caught in a death spiral of sin from which they cannot escape and they know it.
However, the believer should have a different mindset.
For through our faith in Yeshua, we have been rescued from both sin and death.
If we are still bitter, it is only because we have yet to internalize this fact.
And the same goes for the Israelites during the exodus.
The only reason they were bitter is because they were looking at their circumstances instead of focusing on God and what He had done for them.
The Scriptural meaning of the word “bitterness” (MARA in Hebrew) is different than the Western definition.
In the Western mindset, bitterness is a negative emotion or attitude in response to some perceived unfairness resulting in deep cynicism and pessimism.
However, the true Biblical meaning is that “bitterness” is literally the opposite of “sweetness”.
And this “bitterness” can be both tangible and poetic.
It refers to an unbearable pain or difficult situation caused by a third party from which there appears to be no escape.
The Jews in Nazi Germany are a perfect example.
They found themselves trapped in a hopeless state of oppression beyond their control.
Again, the takeaway here is that from a worldly perspective, it is perfectly normal to be bitter, especially as one gets older.
For if this life is really all there is, one’s hope is limited to only the fleshly and shallow pleasures this world has to offer.
However, we are not called to be “normal”.
We are NOT to be swept away by the negativity and cynicism of the world.
In fact, we are called to be a light to the world and a great way to do this is to exude positivity and hope in all situations.
As the believer grows in his or her faith, hope and inner peace should increase NOT decrease, especially as one gets older.
For as each year goes by, are we not one step closer to heaven?
I understand that this is much easier said than done.
But that’s why we pray, fellowship with each other, and keep ourselves immersed in the Word.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“If it is only for this life that we have put our hope in the Messiah,
we are more pitiable than anyone.
But the fact is that the Messiah has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have died.
For since death came through a man,
also the resurrection of the dead has come through a man.
For just as in connection with Adam all die,
so in connection with the Messiah all will be made alive.”
-1 Corinthians 15: 19-22