God miraculously brought the Israelites out of Egypt and led them down by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.
God showed His miracle, saving, and delivering power from Pharaoh’s army by making a way through the Red Sea.
Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind.
When He parted the water, He made the bottom of the sea dry ground for Israel to cross over.
When Pharaoh saw that, he led his army into the midst of the sea with all of his horses, chariots, and his horsemen.
Once again God troubled the Egyptian army and He took off their chariot wheels.
When Israel was safely on the shore, God returned the waters and covered all the army of Pharaoh so that none remained.
Moses and all of Israel celebrated when God delivered them again from Egypt.
They rejoiced in the glory and wonders of God’s power.
Everyone was singing and dancing before God.
They sang: “For He has triumphed gloriously!”
Exodus 15:22 NKJV So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.
Shur means wall.
They hit a wall in the wilderness and found no water.
Have you ever experienced God’s wonderful deliverance and intervention and then hit a wall in your wilderness?
It happens to all of us.
God shows His mighty miracles and power and then you come to Shur, a wall in the wilderness.
Everyone of us has come to a wall in our journey.
God has shown special grace and miracle provision and then you came to a wall.
You were not expecting it, but there it was.
You were ready for another miracle, but you came to a place that stopped your progress.
Then to complicate things Israel became thirsty in the Wilderness of Shur.
Water is necessary in life.
Without water we die.
We can survive without somethings.
In the wilderness they came to a place where there was water.
Their expectations were high.
Exodus 15:23 NKJV Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah.
There in the Wilderness of Shur they found water, but it was bitter.
They were in a place of need and thirst and only found bitter water.
On your journey, have you come to a place where the water is bitter?
You were in great need.
When it appeared that you had a solution, it was bitter water.
You were locked into your situation and no solution was available.
All kinds of things can happen in life that can make you bitter.
You expected one thing and got the other.
You needed help and relief but was faced with more trouble.
You expected your friends to be true but were disappointed.
You expected another miracle and another grace but you hit a wall on your journey.
All you found was bitter water.
How do you know when someone is bitter?
The next verse gives the answer.
Exodus 15:24 NKJV And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
The people complained.
Have you ever reached that place where your joy was gone and you could not find sweet release?
It is so easy to fall into a pit of complaining when you cannot find the answer or relief you need.
Hebrews 12:15 tells us “Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
It is amazing how quickly a poisonous root of bitterness grows.
It grows when nothing else will.
Look at the short story of Ahithophel.
2 Samuel 16:23 NLT Absalom followed Ahithophel’s advice, just as David had done. For every word Ahithophel spoke seemed as wise as though it had come directly from the mouth of God.
Ahithophel had acquired such a wonderful reputation that his counsel was like hearing directly from the mouth of God.
This time when Ahithophel spoke to Absalom, Hushai spoke against him.
In 2 Samuel 17:7, Hushai said that Ahithophel had made a mistake and his advice was not good this time.
When Ahithophel heard that, he became bitter inside.
He didn’t know what to do.
The report against his reputation.
He was accustomed to praise and acceptance.
2 Samuel 17:23 NIV When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.
What should you do if you come to a wall in your journey and the only water is bitter?
Some people become bitter inside when things do not work as planned.
Some people cannot handle criticism and not being accepted.
Bitterness can take root if your expectations are not met.
Some people drink on bitter water because someone said something about them.
They carry bitter water with them and constantly drink it.
Bitterness can consume you when you experience a loss that you did not expect.
Bitterness can spring up when you come to a wilderness experience on your journey and cannot find relief.
Exodus 15:25-26 gives answers for bitter water.
Exodus 15:25 NKJV So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them,
There are three things we should do when we face bitter waters.
First, cry out to the Lord.
The first thing that Moses did was turn to the Lord with fervent prayer.
Some people only pray nice prayers.
There is nothing wrong with nice prayers.
Sometimes nice prayers will not get you through.
Sometimes you need to cry aloud before God.
Moses cried out to the Lord.
That word “cried” means with a sound of thunder.
He mustered all of his strength and cried out to God.
He was so disturbed because they had reached a wall and there was no answer in sight.
They needed something to satisfy their thirst.
Rather than drinking bitter water, Moses cried out to God.
You don’t have to drink bitter water.
You can cry out to God.
He has the answer for the bitterness you face on your journey.
Second, God showed him a tree.
God has provided a tree.
There is a tree on Golgotha that provides the solution for your predicament.
There solution for bitterness is in Christ’s cross.
Third, he cast the tree into the waters.
Whatever you face, you can find your solution in Christ’s cross.
He has paid for your healing.
His healing is for your spirit, soul and body.
The text says: “When he cast the tree into the waters, the waters were made sweet.”
Your dryness and thirst can be satisfied if you correctly apply the old rugged cross of Christ to your situation.
When they cast the tree into the waters they were made sweet, and God made a statute and ordinance with them.
God’s promises come to life when the cross of Christ is correctly applied to your life.
Exodus 15:26 NIV84 He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
God told them that if they walked right, obeyed His commands, and kept His decrees, He would not bring any of the diseases on them that He brought on the Egyptians.
Then He said: “I am the Lord, who heals you.”
Listen to the promises God has made when you come to Him through the cross of Christ.
Do you need healing?
There is healing through the cross of Christ.
Do you need relief from the pain of your journey?
Do you need refreshing at the water of life?
Have you come to a wall in your wilderness?
When there seems to be no way forward, God will open a way in your journey.
He is a way maker.
He is the load lifter.
Does it seem that all you have to drink is bitter water?
God knows how to turn your hard times into sweet water.
He is the Lord who heals all your diseases.
Look at what happened to them after they conquered that bitter water.
God brought them out of the place of bitter waters to Elim.
Exodus 15:27 NIV84 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.
God provided a place of sweet relief.
He will refresh and restore.
He will heal and renew.
He has the answer for your distress.
He has the solution to your pain.
He knows the way through your wilderness.
He can turn what is bitter and unusable into sweetness and relief.
Have you come to your Wilderness of Shur and have come up against a wall?
You feel locked in with no way through.
All of the water that you can find is bitter.
Your soul is hungry and thirsty for God’s help.
There is sweet relief.
Come to the cross of Christ today and find refreshing and healing.
Let Jesus give you a breakthrough.
He can break through that wall and bring you to new springs of sweet joy and relief.