Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
If you listen to these regulations and faithfully obey them, the LORD your God will keep his covenant of unfailing love with you, as he promised with an oath to your ancestors. (Deuteronomy 7:12)
God divided the Red Sea and opened up dry ground in the middle of the sea with the walls of water standing on each side. The people of Israel walked on the dry ground through the middle of the sea. However, the Egyptian army chasing the people of Israel were all drowned in the Red sea when the massive walls of water returned to their place. All of the Israel people saw the mighty hand of God, and heard the thundering noise of the two walls of water while collapsing.
Moses and the people praised God, who delivered them from the hands of the deadly Egyptian army. Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. And Miriam sang this song:
“Sing to the LORD,
for he has triumphed gloriously;
he has hurled both horse and rider
into the sea.” (Exodus 15:20b)
The people of Israel experienced the God’s miraculous power that they would have never forget for their rest of their lives. They heard thundering sounds of the falling sea, and saw the gigantic waves created by the falling sea, which hurled the might Egyptian army into the deep sea. None of them left. None. All of the fears of the deadly Egyptian army were suddenly no more. Yes, when they saw the deadly Egyptian army, they complained and argued against God at the other side of the Red Sea. They did not know what God would and could do for them before the Egyptian chariots and horses quickly approaching. When the dire reality hit, they quickly gave up hope and the promise. Even so, God, who is merciful, delivered them with His mighty hand because He was faithful to His people – the people of Israel, as He promised to Abraham, their forefather.
They witnessed the mighty God and His faithfulness with their own eyes. Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water.
Their memory of the unforgettable experience on God’s mighty acts: making them walk on dry ground through the Red Sea while utterly destroying the mightily fearful Egyptian chariots and horses by drowning them into the death of the Red Sea, was fading away under the desert sun. They became thirsty. They looked around all directions, but they could not see any signs of water. Their hearts were fixated on how to quench their thirst. It was the third day in the desert.
Walking three days without water was a torture, especially under the bone-dry desert sun. Soon one cried out, “I’m thirsty.” Soon, another followed, “I’m thirsty, too.” Then many of them spoke out their thirstiness. Not long before all heard the grumbling voices among them – “I’m thirsty.” They were all exhausted and thirsty, and no water was in sight.
By that time, the life-time unforgettable miracle was completely forgotten like an ice under a hot summer sun. People stop talking about the God’s miracle – dividing the Red Sea to save their lives from the Egyptians’ swords. The thirsty reality was too harsh to remember miracle, which happened only three days ago. The praise, sing and dance in their hearts were replaced with the harsh reality – the bone dry desert sun and their thirst on their mouths. Their hearts completely wondered off and forgot about the miracle experienced, the God’s mighty hand and His faithfulness. (I am questioning how I would behave if I suffer from the extreme thirst under the bone-dry dessert sun. How about you? Are we really different from the Israelites in the desert without water for three days?)
As they were getting out of the valley, they came to an open area. Then suddenly an oasis with trees was spotted! Their hearts were immediately relieved because they saw water. Their misery was immediately gone because they found an oasis. In joy and hope, some of them hurriedly ran into the oasis. They scooped up the water with their hands, and put in their dry mouths. Their mouth immediately rejected the water, because the water was so bitter that they, although they were literally dying for water after the last three days’ walk without water, could not shallow.
Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. Yes, they complained. Again, this is a pity part of our human nature: we just react on what we see, touch, and feel rather than with faith in God while leaning on God’s hand, which is bigger and mightier than what we see, touch and feel.
For the last three days, the Israelites complained to God twice. One before crossing the Red Sea, because their eyes saw the Egyptian army quickly approaching to kill them because they did not know what was prepared by God ahead of them, which was not death by the swords of the Egyptian army but life making them miraculously crossing the Red Sea by dry ground. Who would thought about this mighty and miraculous act of God before God actually did it? None. Then they saw the mighty act of God. They gave thanks and praises to God. Then only three days later, they complained again. Nobody spoke about the God’s faithfulness and His mighty act. They completely forgot the miracle of God that saved them from the Egyptian swords. (If you were God, what you would do?)
Moses, who was only one, who was faithful to God. He cried out to the LORD for help. God was merciful, and dearly patient to His people, the Israelites. Not because they were lovable, but because God loved the Israelites, God heard Moses’ cry. Then God showed Moses a piece of wood, and instructed him to throw into the water. Moses did it. This made the water good to drink. This was the mercy and love of God. God was dearly compassionate to His people, although His people was not faithful to God. Our merciful God gave them the fresh water by answering the prayer of Moses. One faithful prayer opened God’s mercy. All came drank and were fully satisfied. Yes, God was good, compassionate and dearly patient to His people. The same God watches over His people even now as you read.
Yes, God saved them again. God, who dearly loved the Israelites, could not let His children suffer any longer. God saved them first. Then God shared His heart and taught, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the LORD who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)
God instructed the Israelites how they should have behaved as a loving parent. God patiently explained consequences too. Why? They had failed already twice and most of all, God dearly loved the Israelites. The same God loves us. God is always faithful to us simply because we are His children. Yes, it is also true that God always tells us and instructs us about the consequences of our sins to guide us the paths of righteousness. Praise God, who dearly loves us and teaches us with His infinitely patience, mercy and love!
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2)