Exodus 15 begins with songs of celebration and ends with a time of relaxation by some springs and palm trees. Sandwiched in the middle is some bitterness. What does this have to do with your life and mine? A lot more than one may initially think.
In today’s Grandview Christian Assembly sermon, “Early Lessons,” Ray DeMay opened up how Exodus 15 helps us understand that our reactions to various life circumstances say a lot about our heart’s true condition.
The Israelites were singing in celebration after witnessing their deliverance through the Red Sea. They saw and declared the glory of God as the strong deliverer able to overcome the world. The song resounded with praising God’s glory for his salvation from their past and their trust in his ability to save them and gain glory to himself in the future.
If you are a Christian, there is little doubt that you have experienced times of singing for the Lord’s salvation. Whether in your initial salvation, during your baptism, and in other times of life when you have seen the Lord’s mighty arm of salvation at work in your life. During those times it is easy to sign forth his praise and glorify the Lord.
Yet, shortly after this time of singing the trust waned and grumbling began within the camp of Israel. Before we bash the people too much, the situation was one of legitimate extreme discomfort – a lack of drinkable water. Let’s face it, there are times when you and I hit situations of difficulty, and believe that we have a legitimate beef with the Lord.
But the waters in Exodus 15 are a reflection of the spiritual state of the hearts of the people or Israel. And by extension, the waters all too often reflect the state of our hearts. Rather than looking back to the Red Sea and thinking, “God saved us through water in the past so he can save us when it comes to bitter water,” emotional reasoning took over and the lack of trust in God got revealed. How often do you and I lay aside sound scriptural truth about God and allow our emotions and fears to overwhelm us and overflow grumbling, bitterness, and a lack of trust in God out of our hearts?
In the midst of the bitterness, God pointed to a log (or tree) as a solution to the bitter waters. When the log was applied to the waters, the waters were healed. Spiritually speaking, the tree was also the source of healing to the bitter hearts of the Israelites.
It is not too far of a stretch to take the log/tree in Exodus 15 and look ahead at another tree that heals our hearts – the cross of Jesus Christ (c.f. 1 Peter 2:24). As we open our hearts to the Lord, we can apply the cross of Christ to our bitterness and be healed by his grace.
How does one’s heart get healed by the cross? In Exodus 15 we get the clue that by believing and obeying the Lord we can experience him as our Healer. As we look to the Lord, opening up our hearts to him, we can obey his Word – even when feeling bitter – and experience the healing power of Christ in our hearts regarding whatever is driving our bitter feelings and thoughts.
Through opening up our hearts, asking the Lord to heal our hearts, and obeying him we can experience a life of celebratory song trusting in him.