Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The School of Marah

 On facing trials and their purpose in our lives
This message was recorded at Word of Grace Church on the 19th of Feb 2012 and was preach by Nigel Pereira. You can lsiten to the AUDIO recording of this message by clicking here.http://vimeo.com/37159570

 Do you wonder why you face trials and difficulties? Is God for you in those trials? Where do trials come from? Why do they come? Here is an excellent message to help align our thoughts and beliefs to the Word of God.

 TEXT Ex 15:22-27 22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
 25 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.
   There the LORD issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to 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.”
 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.

Joseph – he had a dream where his brothers would bow down to him. Then he was sold as a slave,   he became a prisoner and finally pharaoh’s number two. God used him to help people through the famine. His family come to Egypt. The  12 brothers become the  12 tribes to finally  a million people. Egypt forgets all about Joseph and begin to ill treat them and enslave them for 400 years. So every single generation born in Egypt knew only one thing – that they were slaves. They knew nothing else. Imagine you were born in a servant’s household and that’s all you did. That’s all you expect to be. But on the other side they had this promise – to Abraham about becoming a great nation and a promise land. Then God raises a man called Moses who finally stands before Pharaoh . And then through a series of 10 plagues he finally lets them go. And they are finally released. As they are going they reach the Red sea and Pharaoh has a change in heart and starts pursuing them. Then God tells Moses to put out his staff and the Red parts and they actually walk through the water. Wouldn’t you have loved to be there?

The ground was dry! They walked right through knowing  that  this God is with them. When they reach the other side, Moses stretches his staff and the waters come together and drown Pharaoh’s army. They begin to dance and sing and jumping for joy. Ex 15 they are singing songs of praise to God and now they are on the other side of the Red Sea and let’s see what happens.

They have just crossed the Red Sea.  They have tasted of God’s mercy miracles,  and,  salvation. They were rescued from the most powerful nation. Who could rescue them except a powerful God? They must have had only thoughts of victory. They are a picture of triumph, trust and promise of God. They should have felt they could overcome anything. Now they have been walking in a dessert for 3 days with their families, children and babies with no water. Now when they see water they are thrilled. But imagine the shock when the waters of Marah are bitter. Who can drink bitter water? Can you drink sea water? So imagine their condition!

I used to be in athletics – we had to run 100 meters sprints then jog 100 meters on the sand and we would do this 25 times in the sun. I used to feel like I would die. These guys were  in the dessert for three days!!
Moses prays and God acts which everyone witnesses the water becomes sweet.
The question is what does  God want us to learn from this? Why do bitter situations come in our lives and what does God do?

I know of a man put all his savings into stocks and he did well and thought  it was God‘s favour. Then the stock market crashed. William Carrey went through many difficulties – His wife died , his son died, his printing press got burned down and all his years of translations went up in smoke, Why did this happen to a man who wanted to serve God. Maybe you have been overlooked or ill treated. Why?
I want to suggest that there are many blessings in the better things of life that we go through. How many of us has done some college education? You go to college and get a graduation certificate. But there is no college like the college of Marah. This is God’s certificate for us. When you go through pain bitterness sand sorrow you will find out the truth about Marah, the truth about yourself and the truth about God.

Find out the truth about Marah
Marah is bitter –Sometime as in this situation even to the point of death God doesn’t seem to mind. There is bitterness of different kinds and you wonder why I am alive. Marah is God’s plan for you. It’s on God’s map for your life. It’s not an accident. It was not a result to disobedient or sin. In fact they were praising and worshipping God and yet they hit Marah. I am not talking about bitterness that comes through sin. It came on purpose  V25.says the Lord tested them- God was in it. What’s the Marah you are facing today – financial difficulty, relational issue. Accept it and find out what God want to do in you.
When we first become Christians we see the miracle working power of God  and we always expect that all the time. Haven’t  we all at some time  preached  “come to Jesus and all your problems will be solved”?. Marah is God’s plan for you and there will be many Marahs in your life just like the Israelites faced. Trails are a part of life. Have you felt you faced the worst trial and then there is another one round the corner? James 1:2 Consider it pure joy whenever you face .. of many kinds because you know God is testing you.
So when you face difficulties  and hardship God is not against you. He is promoting you and testing you. Marrah is also not permanent. It may be a horrible death experience.

I remember when my wife was very ill. One son was 3 months old and the other 3 years old . She was given 48 hours to live and I could not stay with her in the hospital. God spoke to me through Ps 91:18. And she came through.Some situations  may take time , months and years but you will get out of it.

You learn the truth about yourself
 God sent them to Marrah because of who they were a people with a new identity. They were God’s people. And God’s people need to have faith. God has a purpose for their live and for that they needed something. He was going to give them a nation a land and the they had t be an example to the other nations.  But to get into that land they needed faith. God could not leave them as they were. We get saved, it’s exciting to sing songs, you may not be in IDT but God will teach you faith because  you have  a promise and God wants you to get hold of it. 

Word of Grace has a corporate promise for Word ofGrace Church and for that we have to become men and women of faith. That is our identity. Let’s not fool ourselves because in the desert – the first generation did not get to the promise land, they perished. It would be sad if you did not get hold of the promise that God has for you.  Will you learn that faith? One generation said no and they died and a whole new generation had to come. They could have crossed the dessert in one month but it took 40 years.

This generation that perished had miracles in their lives every day – everyday they had Manna. We can have miracles in our lives but does not mean you are spiritually mature. It only testifies to a faithful merciful  covenant keeping God. That whole generation perished. Financial blessing is only God keeping is covenant to bless you. But you have something to posses. We have an identity and have to get some where. God is for you at Marrah because he wants  you to get some where. He sees in you a man and woman of faith and purpose. We pray  “we always want to follow you” – then don’t be surprised when you come to Marah because he has answered your prayers.

We had a social project we were involved as a church and that was not my vision . It began with someone else. It needed 20 lakhs each year. Then one day the donor withdrew all funding and I hit Marah. It was not small faith, It needed a lot of faith.

The Isarealites saw the Red Sea part just three days before and now they are grumbling. They are murmuring saying we wish we were in Egypt. They were grumbling against t God. They made Mosses life miserable. When you do not have faith you make someone miserable. They only had a three day faith and loved God as long as they could get what they wanted.Their love for God dried up in three days, He is not there just for our needs when we turn to Him.He is not a Santa Claus.
God wants a persevering faith .

You learn the truth about God
That day they learnt something significant. Marah is very bitter. No one could get water to drink from anywhere. They were in an impossible situation. Are you in a situation you feel is impossible? In the time of testing no one died. They had to go thirsty for a long time but no one died. God intervened and did the impossible and turned the bitter water in to sweet. They knew that God can and will provided. 

Marrah is the place of the revelation of God where he makes himself known to you. Then you sing with real faith in God. You learn theology, doctrine about God. You learn about God and who is he is to you so that you can life by faith. It’s not for the leaders to tell you who God is but for you to discover who He is and that He is with you.

God does provide and step into our difficulties. As I was telling you earlier the support withdrew to our two works called Asha  which means hope and Abba Ghar – an orphanage. Now this is what I did. I am confessing to you. I was troubled because I had never lived this faith. We had 9 staff who had given their lives to something of God, given up their jobs to serve  and my heart broke. I gathered the smart looking people in the church and told them our situation and was hoping they would say we can do it. And they turned around and said “why should we do it”? I was looking to people and God did not allow that . I didn’t know what to do. My heart broke. I spoke to the staff and we took it one month at a time and before we knew it 2 years passed and the money kept coming. Our hearts were stretched for 2 years. 

God had not gone when everyone else had gone. Maybe someone in the past who helped you had gone but he doesn’t. This is God’s economy and not the worlds. Learn to pray before you go to friends. You have to believe that God will help you. Verse 25b-26 God did not just come but changed the water and gave them a decree that this is how I would be with them that the plagues of Egypt would not touch them and God gave them a right that they could always depend on him He came them a decree . 2Cor 1:20.   For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.Jesus said it is finished when he hung on the cross. Every promise is “Yes”.

Learn to trust in God and wait for God and hang in there. God gives a revelation and gives a decree. God will turn things that the bitter things in your live to something sweet. Don’t be in a hurry to rush out of your bitter situation. Wait for God because  that’s the very water you will drink when he makes it sweet. Job could say The Lord gives and takes away. Some of you have been discouraged and opposed and cursed you. God want s to bless you.

Whenever you partake of the bread and the cup you are partaking of this decree and covenant that God is for you.

Marah is not permanent – the they came to the place called Elam a place of 12 springs and oasis in the dessert. You will come to a place of refreshment.  God does that. Elim was just 7 miles way- the place of refreshment is just around the corner. Our goal is not Elam but to leave Marrah – leave bitterness with faith. That is our goal,, be ready for the preparation of what God is doing in your life.

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