Bitter Water Made Sweet

Bitter Water Made Sweet

Daily Reading

22 Then Moses led Israel on from the Red Sea, and they went out to the Wilderness of

Shur. They journeyed for three days in the wilderness without finding water. 23 They came to Marah, but they could not drink the water at Marah because it was bitter—that is why it was named Marah. 24 The people grumbled to Moses, “What are we going to drink?” 25 So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he threw it into the water, the water became drinkable.

The Lord made a statute and ordinance for them at Marah, and he tested them there. 26 He said, “If you will carefully obey the Lord your God, do what is right in his sight, pay attention to his commands, and keep all his statutes, I will not inflict any illnesses on you that I inflicted on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy date palms, and they camped there by the water.

sky sand blue desert

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Daily Reflection

Obedience during trials is the key to God’s blessing.

Sun-baked skin ached. The tongues of the Israelites cleaved to the roof of their mouths. Three days passed but there was no refilling of their wineskins. Where was this Moses – the “man of God” – leading them? At least the taskmasters in Egypt gave them water when they labored in the heat of the day. But this Moses, and his unseen God, marched them without refreshment. Murmurs rippled.

Then on the horizon… could it be? Was it a mirage? Excitement overtook some as they ran for the seeming lifespring but with one large gulp, it was bitter. One Hebrew shouts in disgust, “Marah!” The low murmur morphs into a borderline mutiny. What was God up to?!?

Much like the Israelites,  you will experience the sour taste of disappointment. When following God, your taste buds will revolt and want to reject the source of your spiritual refreshing. However, it is how you handle these periods of testing that will determine your level of blessing.

We, like Moses, must seek God’s direction during the seasons of bitter testing. After praying, God directed Moses to cast a tree in the salty waters. This tree sapped the salinity away. The pool, that if consumed would produce death, now provided life! The Lord issued a statute and ordinance that day that if His people would obey they would experience His abundant blessing.

You may not be in a physical desert, but if your soul is dry, there is fresh water for you. Moses sweetened the waters of Marah by hurling a tree in its midst. You too can freshen the saltiness of life with a tree. In your trials, focus on the cross of Christ, for from it flows living water. Knowing that God loved us enough to endure the embarrassment and the torture of Golgotha should refresh your weary soul.

In your trial, pray to God for grace and guidance. For obedience is the key to experiencing God’s abundant blessing. Do not fall into rebellion, but rather submit to the trial with joy. God has not forsaken you. Look to the cross, and you will witness His love again.

closed eyed man holding his face using both of his hands

Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

Suggested Prayer

Lord, like Moses at Marah, allow me to pray for guidance and surrender to your will. Give me the grace to not lose sight of the tree that gives me life. In Jesus name, Amen.


In the Word Together is a daily devotional blog series based on the Narrative Lectionary that aims in aiding parents in family devotions. Unless stated, all posts are written by Kevin W. Bounds.  Necessary attributions are as follows:

Christian Standard Bible – Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Narrative Lectionary –The Narrative Lectionary (http://www.narrativelectionary.org) is an open-source project created by Profs. Rolf Jacobson and Craig Koester, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.

Daily Readings for the Narrative Lectionary – Copyright © 2018 Clergy Stuff

Sweet Songs of Redemption

Sweet Songs of Redemption

Daily Reading

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. They said:

I will sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted;
he has thrown the horse
and its rider into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song;[a]
he has become my salvation.
This is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
the Lord is his name.

He threw Pharaoh’s chariots
and his army into the sea;
the elite of his officers
were drowned in the Red Sea.
The floods covered them;
they sank to the depths like a stone.
Lord, your right hand is glorious in power.
Lord, your right hand shattered the enemy.
You overthrew your adversaries
by your great majesty.
You unleashed your burning wrath;
it consumed them like stubble.
The water heaped up at the blast from your nostrils;
the currents stood firm like a dam.
The watery depths congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said:
“I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil.
My desire will be gratified at their expense.
I will draw my sword;
my hand will destroy[b] them.”
10 But you blew with your breath,
and the sea covered them.
They sank like lead
in the mighty waters.

11 Lord, who is like you among the gods?
Who is like you, glorious in holiness,
revered with praises, performing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand,
and the earth swallowed them.
13 With your faithful love,
you will lead the people
you have redeemed;
you will guide them to your holy dwelling
with your strength.

14 When the peoples hear, they will shudder;
anguish will seize the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 Then the chiefs of Edom will be terrified;
trembling will seize the leaders of Moab;
all the inhabitants of Canaan will panic;
16 terror and dread will fall on them.
They will be as still[c] as a stone
because of your powerful arm
until your people pass by, Lord,
until the people whom you purchased[d] pass by.

17 You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain of your possession;
Lord, you have prepared the place
for your dwelling;
Lord,[e] your hands have established the sanctuary.
18 The Lord will reign forever and ever!

19 When Pharaoh’s horses with his chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought the water of the sea back over them. But the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 20 Then the prophetess Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women came out following her with tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them:

Sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted;
he has thrown the horse
and its rider into the sea.

Daily Reflection

An eerie silence rests on the crowded shore framed only by the sound of the unsettled waters. Astonishment filled the atmosphere; not a word was spoken.  As the Israelites gaze across the frothy Red Sea, a chariot wheel surfaces tumbling in the surf. Then one by one, lifeless Egyptian bodies wash ashore. Their Egyptian captors were gone. Yahweh had delivered them like Moses foretold.

Silence gives way to the singing. Moses leads the redeemed throng in a mass chorus of praise. This is a sweet song of redemption. God blazed a path through the impassable Red Sea. Dry sandals began to step in rhythm. They were tasting the freedom Yahweh promised!

The Song of Moses recorded in the Exodus 15:1-21 inspired the Israelites for generations. It was their anthem of deliverance; a song of redemption. It’s not only their song but ours too. This anthem will be sung by the redeemed in heaven (see Revelation 15:3).

Songs have the power to inspire worship, instruct us in righteousness, and reminds us of our redemption. We are commanded in Scripture to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (see Colossians 3:16). You may be facing a mountain of opposition, but God is on your side. As a child of God, it will only take a moment to think of a time when God parted your Red Sea situation. Remember? Why not praise him in advance?

What is your song of redemption? Amazing GraceHow Great Thou Art? What a Beautiful Name?  It may even be an original tune God has given you. Sing it loud. He is worthy of our praise and adoration. You will come out of your situation with dry sandals for sure! Will sing for His glory today?

Suggested Prayer

Lord, thank you for your redemption. Although I face situations that seem impossible, help me sing your praise. In Christ’s name, Amen.


In the Word Together is a daily devotional blog series based on the Narrative Lectionary. Unless stated, all posts are written by Kevin W. Bounds.  Necessary attributions are as follows: Used by Permission

 

 

Christian Standard Bible – Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

Narrative Lectionary -The Narrative Lectionary (http://www.narrativelectionary.org) is an open-source project created by Profs. Rolf Jacobson and Craig Koester, Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.

Daily Readings for the Narrative Lectionary – Copyright © 2018 Clergy Stuff

 

Stick a Fork in June, it’s D-O-N-E!

Stick a Fork in June, it’s D-O-N-E!

This post completes the 2018 June Blogging Challenge! There was a new post every day in June. I must admit it is a small accomplishment, but an achievement none the less. I have learned celebrating the little victories motivates me to press on to the more considerable triumphs.

Why did I set this goal? It’s all summed up in the word: discipline. I tend to have too many “good ideas” when it comes to writing. I chase after them like an indecisive bird dog flushing out a covey of quail. I suffer from A.D.D. However, I am not talking about Attention Deficit Disorder, but instead, I have Acute Deficiency of  Discipline. I have a problem with placing my butt in the chair and writing. This self-imposed challenge, although my content varied, forced me to sit and write with consistency.

The consistency of posting daily strengthened my “writing muscles.” These blog posts were extra created content. I typically preach three times a week, and a majority of these sermons are written as a full manuscript. I find it helpful after outlining a sermon to write myself clear, so when I approach the pulpit I have wrestled with the text all week.  I know the meaning for the people then, and I have the message for God’s people now. Therefore, this challenge was very challenging at times. But its over. Done. Finished. I have conquered June.

However, I confess I did not do it alone. You – the readers – were in my study or beside me on the couch encouraging me to keep pecking away at this keyboard. I thought of you often as I pushed against the resistance of the blinking cursor. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Thank you for liking, commenting, and sharing my words with others. It means more to me than I can express.

Moreover, I would be amiss not to mention my biggest supporter in this world. Red, thank you for not killing me when I disturbed your sleep as I slid out of bed at five o’clock in the morning to pray and write. We all know how much you enjoy mornings. I appreciate the grace extended to me when I was working late to meet the deadline of the day.

Red, believe it or not, you inspired this month’s adventure. Over the years, I have watched you hone your craft and become a phenomenal photographer by challenging yourself to be better. You may not remember the conversation – I know there are so many – but when I told you I wanted to become an author I was gauging myself. I wondered if I had what it takes to pursue this dream. I understand now, although my aspiration is lofty, I have God and you on my side. I know both of you believe in me. Watching you and having you in my corner, I know I will succeed by God’s grace. With you, I am a better me. Again, thank you for believing in me. Even when I have too many “good ideas” that wake me before daybreak.

So where do I go from here? I am committed to becoming a better writer; to find my voice. This challenge has revealed that I can carve out the time needed to write and still fulfill my other obligations. Yes, I may need to drink more coffee, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

In the future, I will not be posting daily. However, rest assured I am writing. Now, my challenge is to use the daily writing habit established this month to work on my first novel. Watch your inbox because I may post a sample chapter soon. As far as the blogging, the posts will slow to a weekly rhythm instead of the daily hustle. I hope you have enjoyed the June Blogging Challenge as much as I have but stick a fork in June, it’s D-O-N-E!