Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. (Psalm 103:7-11)
After three days of the journey through desert without water, the people of Israel were really thirsty. The unforgettable memory of the God’s hand – crossing the Red Sea by walking on dry land, while drowning the mightily fearful Egyptian army who were about to kill the people of Israel – was superseded by the “reality” that they were confronting with – dying for thirst without water under a scorching hot desert sun. Their dry mouths were filled with complaints: “Our slavery lives in Egypt were good. We could have had water and food not like here in desert. Why were we taken out of Egypt?”
Despite of their complaints, God took the Israelites to Marah and gave water to the Israelites. However, the water was too bitter to drink. It was a test. In fact, it was an opportunity provided by God for them to realize how pitiful and sinful their hearts were. What did happen? They miserably failed. Without knowing God’s intent, they grumbled against Moses and God. They did not wait for God’s mercy and His mighty hand that they had experienced three days ago. Yes, only three days, not one month or a year. As their environment was getting worse, they should have had remembered God’s mercy, and clung to God’s mighty hand. Instead their eyes were fixated to the “reality” — dying for thirst. Yes, indeed, they were really in pain. Their mouths were completely dried. Their hope for the water in Marah was completely false. It was too bitter for anyone, even the Israelites who were not able to drink water three days under the hot desert sun to drink. Sure, grumbling against Moses and God was understandable under such circumstance. However, this did not make them pass the test. They failed the test, because they did not and could not trust God completely. What they see did not match with what they expected from God.
How about us? Do we expect for God to do what we desire for us? Or do we trust God even though we cannot see and touch, and even things around us are getting worse while happening completely opposite against what we expect? One of my believing friends shared with me, “Faith is not easy.” Yes, trusting Him especially when things are getting worse, dimmer and darker around us is really difficult. Indeed, more often than not, it is practically impossible for us to patiently waiting for God. We don’t have to search for any further proof on this: the two million people of Israel, who completely failed after three day’s thirst and the encounter with the bitter water in Marah. The life-time unforgettable miracle of crossing the Red Sea was not strong enough to make them completely trust Him completely against what they saw and touched, i.e., the “reality.”
Indeed, nobody can be above a harsh “reality,” if one tries to overcome it by one’s own might. However, our story does not end here, when our sad, pitiful and fragile nature does not completely trusting God. For the grumbling Israelites, who completely failed without knowing God’s true intent, God made the bitter water sweet to reveal God’s love on them. Through anther life miracle, they could rediscovered God, who was with them, for them always to protect and guide.
God proved again and again in Bible. God gives us faith, and God relentlessly fosters for us to grow in faith. Our faith of today is a result of God’s grace, and it is the precious gift from God. Not because we are worthy to receive such faith from God, but because of God’s good will toward us, God grant our precious faith in our hearts, which is like a seed planted in a field. Then, the faith seed is greatly cared by Our Father Farmer, who patiently waits for spouting, growing and even producing a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown (Matthew 13:8b) or becoming a big tree that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. (Matthew 13:32b) This is God’s miracle, which is planted in our heart. Bible tells, “–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—“ (Ephesians 2:8b)
Surely, we will fail like the Israelites, but we have our unfathomable assurance in God. God was infinitely patient for His Israel people – failing and falling short of what God wanted. Today, the same God is unfathomably patient to us. Although we fail and fall short of what God really desire in our lives, God is patiently with us and for us, because God dearly loves us. Even God said “… I am a jealous God …” (Exodus 20:5). God jealously loves us. Why? After all, He is love. Yes, our God is love. What can we do? Before Him, we bow down ourselves while laying out and presenting all we have – our failures, successes, pains, and joy, and most importantly ourselves as who we are. He is worthy of our highest praise, and He is our one and only true love. Praise Him! Glorify Him! He is Our Ever-Loving Father from now and forever for those who trust in Him with all hearts and with all our souls, and with all our mind.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37)