Embracing the Journey From Salvation to Revelation: Bitter Waters, Bread From Heaven & A Battle at the Mountain

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Exodus as it was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters sixteen through nineteen of this Old Testament book. BITTERNESS, HUNER, THIRST, WAFARE AND REVELATION! BITTER WATERS OF MARAH! HUNGER IN THE WILDERNESS! THIRST IN THE WILDERNESS! WARFARE AGAINST AMALEK! REVELATION AT THE MOUNTAIN! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the narrative of the children of Israel transitioning from their experience at the Red Sea where the LORD their God not only revealed a path for them in the midst of the waters of the sea, but almost invited the Egyptians to pursue them through the very path which the children of Israel had passed through. The account of the children of Israel at the Red Sea begins with their backs against the waters of the Sea and the enemy before them marching with full strength and full force with horses and chariots. Overcome and overwhelmed with fear the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord, and unto Moses, to which Moses instructed them to fear not and to stand still, for they would see the salvation of the Lord. What’s more, is Moses also declared unto them that the enemy they saw on that day they would see no more. At the command and instruction of the living God Moses stretched forth the rod of God over the waters of the sea and the Lord responded by parting the waters hither and thither with a strong wind that revealed a path in the midst of the sea. I have always found in incredibly interesting that the path the children of Israel walked through in the midst of the sea was a path that was there all along, and yet the path wasn’t revealed unto they found themselves in the place of impossibility and fear. The children of Israel came to the Red Sea and weren’t even aware of the path that lie beneath the waters, and yet it wasn’t until Moses stretched forth the rod of God over the waters of the sea that the waters parted and the path was revealed. WHEN THE PATH IS REVEALED! The narrative of the children of Israel was one that brought about the salvation of the Lord, and the salvation of the Lord which they experienced was found in the place of the path beneath the waters, as well as the work in the midst of the waters. It’s quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that the Lord invited the children of Israel to pass through the waters in order that they might come through on the other side, and it’s almost as if the Lord invited the people of Egypt into the midst of the waters—walking the same path the children of Israel did—and yet their attempt to pass through the waters would actually be their demise and destruction. Oh I absolutely love how the children of Israel came to the border of the Red Sea and had absolutely no idea the path which lie beneath and in the midst of the waters, and it wasn’t until Pharaoh and his army with horses and chariots showed up that the path would be revealed.

As I sit here today I can’t help but come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that there are times within our lives when we come to the place of the Red Sea and we aren’t aware of the path that lies beneath the waters—even the path that lies before us. What’s more, is that we find ourselves coming to a particular place and might even wonder how we got there and/or what we are doing there, and we find ourselves in a place of fear, terror and dread because we see the enemy marching against us on the horizon with all his forces. The children of Israel came to the border of the Red Sea at and according to the command of the Lord, and they had absolutely no clue that they would first of all find a path hidden beneath the waters of the Red Sea, and secondly find themselves being pursued by the horses and chariots of the Egyptian army. I am completely and utterly convinced that this same reality holds true and is manifested within our hearts and lives, for there are times within our lives when we come to the place where we not only question what we are doing there, but also question how we got there in the first place. For the children of Israel they knew why they were encamped before the Red Sea between Migdol in Baal-zephon, for it was according to the command of the Lord they found themselves encamped in that place. There is not a doubt in my mind that when the children of Israel camped in that place they had absolutely no idea, nor perhaps even any expectation that they would pass through the midst of the waters of the Red Sea as they would be parted hither and thither before them. Even more than this, I would dare say the children of Israel didn’t expect the armies of Egypt with its horses and chariots to pursue them into the wilderness and attempt to come against them that they might overtake them. The children of Israel entered into the wilderness not entirely sure what to do next—or even where to go next—and yet the Lord instructed them through Moses to encamp in a very specific place between Migdol and the Red Sea. It would be there in that place where the Lord would not only reveal unto them the path beneath the waters, but the Lord would also use the waters that were for them a wall to their right and to the left as the means of utterly destroying their enemies. If there is one thing we must realize and recognize when reading the narrative and account of the children of Israel in the land of Egypt—as well as in the beginning of their journey in the wilderness—it’s that the devastation and decimation of the land of Egypt was only the beginning, for the Lord had one more act to perform before the children of Israel could completely begin their journey into the wilderness. The Lord had completely decimated and devastated the land of Egypt, and yet we seem to find the Lord inviting Pharaoh and his army with its horses and chariots into the wilderness for one final confrontation and showdown as He would drown them in the midst of the waters of the Red Sea.

If you read these chapters within the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find that after the Lord triumphed over Pharaoh and his army in the midst of the Red Sea Moses and the children of Israel sang a song before and in the presence of the Lord—a song about the salvation which He had wrought for them on the day when He delivered them out of the hand of their enemy. Perhaps one of the most striking realities and truths surrounding the children of Israel is that with and through His judgments the Lord delivered the children of Israel out of their slavery, bondage and oppression, however, it would be through His work in the midst of and with the waters of the Red Sea he would deliver them out of and from the hand of their enemies. We must recognize and realize that it’s one thing to be delivered out of slavery, bondage and oppression, and it’s something else entirely to be delivered out of the hand of our enemies and those who would pursue us. The children of Israel experienced deliverance from their bondage and oppression in the land of Egypt when the Lord executed judgment against the gods of Egypt, and the children of Israel experienced deliverance from their enemies at the Red Sea when the Lord used the waters of the Red Sea to completely and utterly destroy the horses and chariots which pursued them in the midst of the waters. In the land of Egypt, and around the midnight hour the children of Israel experienced deliverance from four-hundred and thirty years of slavery, bondage and oppression, and it would be in the wilderness the children of Israel would experience the salvation of the Lord—not only in their passing through the waters of the Red Sea, but also in the destruction of their enemies which they would never see again. It is absolutely remarkable and astounding to think about and consider the fact that the salvation of the Lord was not only the revelation of the path beneath the waters, but it was also the utter destruction of their enemies. With that being said, we must understand that the salvation of the Lord can and may very well mean the destruction of our enemies, and the place where the enemy we see before us we will never see again. For the children of Israel, the horses and chariots they saw pursuing them in the wilderness they would never see again, for the Lord would invite them in the midst of the sea and there in the midst of the sea He would completely and utterly destroy them. By the time we come to the fifteenth chapter of the book of Exodus—not only do we find the army of Israel scattered upon the shore of the Red Sea dead after the judgment of the Lord, but we find them singing a song of praise as the Lord had triumphed gloriously over their enemies and adversaries in the midst of the sea. The fifteenth chapter of the book of Exodus is primarily and solely a song which the children of Israel sang before the Lord after witnessing and beholding His salvation at the Red Sea, and yet immediately following that song we find something unexpected. It’s when you come to the final verses of the fifteenth chapter of the book of Exodus that you find the beginning of a series of events in the wilderness that took place between salvation and revelation.

THE PLACE(S) BETWEEN SALVATION AND REVELATION! As I think about and consider the words which are found within these chapters I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the reality of events which took place between salvation and revelation. If you take the time to read these words carefully—beginning with the fourteenth chapter and continuing through to the nineteenth chapter—you will find that what took place in the fourteenth chapter was indeed the salvation of the Lord in the midst of the wilderness as the Lord not only opened up and revealed the path in the midst of the waters, but also used the waters which had been a wall of safety and protection for the children of Israel to destroy their enemies. There at the Red Sea the LORD God of the Hebrews fought for the children of Israel for their salvation in order that the way beneath the waters might be revealed and manifested in their lives. There at the waters of the Red Sea the living God revealed the path beneath the waters that had been there all along, yet which they couldn’t see until they found themselves being confronted with fear within their own hearts as they saw the armies of Egypt marching out toward and against them. Isn’t it incredibly interesting to think that the path beneath the waters was there the whole time and it could have been revealed before the chariots and horses of Egypt ever came upon the children of Israel in the midst of the wilderness. Have you ever wondered why the Lord didn’t open up and reveal the path beneath the waters before the horses and chariots of Egypt appeared on the horizon and allowed the children of Israel to pass through safely on the other side? Why didn’t and why couldn’t the Lord have opened up and revealed the path beneath the waters before the army of Egypt appeared on the horizon and allow the children of Israel to pass through safely AND THEN see the armies of Egypt marching out after and against them. Far too many times we think and we believe that the path beneath the waters needs to and perhaps should be revealed before fear has the ability to seize and grip our hearts. It would have been incredibly easy for the Lord to open up and reveal the path beneath the waters and allow the chicken of Israel to pass through safely, and once they were on the other side of the sea THEN they would and perhaps could look upon the horizon and see the army of Egypt. It’s worth noting how the Lord revealed the fear within the hearts and souls of the children of Israel before she revealed the path that would lead to their salvation. Oh there are too many times within our lives when we want and desire the path beneath the waters to be revealed before the fear has the opportunity to settle in and grip our hearts. There are far too many times when we want and desire the path of salvation to be revealed within our hearts and lives before fear ever has the chance to seize and grip our hearts. The truth of the matter, however, is that this simply isn’t the case. There are times within our lives when the Lord can and will expose and reveal the fear within our hearts before He reveals the path of salvation that can and will cause us to experience deliverance in our lives.

I sit here thinking about and considering the tremendous events which took place in the narrative of the children of Israel and I can’t help but come face to face with the fact that the salvation of the Lord took place in the realm of fear being manifested and revealed before the path and the way was revealed. It is important that we get and understand this, for when we truly get and understand this it has the ability to dramatically change how we view our lives. How many times have you looked for the way out and the way of escape before confronting and dealing with the fear that is present within your heart? One thing that’s so incredibly intriguing about this passage is that the fear which the children of Israel wasn’t there as they left the land of Egypt and departed from Ramases. The fear they experienced wasn’t even there at the Red Sea until they saw the army of Egypt on the horizon marching out after and pursuing them. This same reality is true within our own hearts and lives for we might very well have experienced a tremendous and mighty work of the living God within our lives, and there is absolutely no fear that exists within our heart until we find ourselves with our backs to the Red Sea and the enemy marching out against us. The narrative and account of the children of Israel would be one that is truly astonishing and remarkable, for when you think about and consider it you will find yourself experiencing and encountering the awesome reality that more often than not the salvation of the Lord in our lives begins with the confrontation of fear that is within our hearts, and allowing the enemy, allowing the conflict, allowing the struggle, and allowing that which absolutely terrifies us to be manifested within our lives. With that being said it’s important for us to note and understand that we might be looking for and perhaps even expecting the salvation of the Lord being manifested in our lives with the path beneath the waters being revealed first, our passing through the waters appearing secondly, and then once we have passed through the waters and they have returned unto their place—THEN we see our enemies on the horizon marching out after us with full force, strength and might. Oh how incredibly intriguing and captivating it is to think about and consider the fact that for the children of Israel they were forced to experience, confront and deal with fear within their hearts before they would see the salvation of the Lord being manifested beneath the waters and the destruction of their enemies. We might be looking for that path beneath the waters within our lives right now and yet we are finding that before the path is even revealed within our lives and before us we must first recognize and confront the fear that is present within our hearts.

The more you read and the more you study the words which are found within these chapters the more you will encounter—not only the reality that more often than not our fear is confronted and manifested before the path of salvation is revealed, but also the journey from the place of salvation and revelation is one that is filled with conflict and struggle. If and as you read the words which are written and found within these chapters you will come to terms with the fact that it was in the fourteenth chapter the children of Israel experienced the salvation of the Lord, and in the fifteenth chapter they sang about the salvation of the Lord, while four chapters later we find the revelation of the living God manifested before them at the mountain of God in the wilderness. The words which you find within these chapters is quite unique when you take the time to think about it, for as you think about this you will find yourself thinking that we transition directly from salvation to revelation. We think and believe within our hearts and lives that it is necessary for us to move directly from salvation to revelation and the manifestation of the presence of God, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. What do you do when you find and discover that immediately after you have faced and experienced the salvation of the Lord you find yourself experiencing hardship in your life? How do you respond when you encounter the tremendous reality that more often than not in your life the path and the road from salvation to revelation and the manifestation of the presence of God is not quick, nor is it immediate, but requires conflicts, struggles and hardships? We must remember that the Lord could have led the children of Israel into the land of Canaan through the shorter and quicker path through the land of the Philistines, however, he chose to lead them into and through the wilderness lest they experience war immediately after coming forth from the midst of the land of Egypt and decide to return back to the land of Egypt. We spend so much time within our lives thinking about and considering the fact that we must needs immediately experience the path from salvation to revelation before we ever experience any hardship, conflict and struggle, and the truth of the matter is that the same God who allows the manifestation of fear within our lives before revealing the path beneath the waters is the same God who allows us to experience the reality of hardship, conflict and struggle within our lives before we experience the manifestation of His presence. This is quite unique and astounding—particularly when we saw the judgments of the living God in the land of Egypt against the gods of Egypt, as well as against Pharaoh and all his servants, and even saw the salvation of the Lord at the Red Sea. For many of us we don’t have a context within our hearts and lives for having to walk through and experience hardship, trial and trouble as we walk the path from salvation to revelation. After all, it was because the Lord wanted to bring the children unto the mountain of God in the wilderness to reveal Himself unto them, to teach them His laws and to teach them how to worship Him. The Lord didn’t merely being the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt to bring them into the promised land alone, but also to reveal Himself unto them there in the wilderness.

As you read the words which are found within these chapters you will quickly discover that after showing His strength and might one more time at the Red Sea, and after the children of Israel sang a song before and unto the Lord their God concerning His great triumph over their enemies at the Red Sea, they were immediately faced with and confronted with something they perhaps did not expect. Upon coming to the final verses of the fifteenth chapter you will find that right after Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea they went out into the wilderness of Shur, however, it would be these three days they would journey in the wilderness that they would do so with finding no water. Pause for a moment and think about and consider this reality, for although they had experienced the deliverance of the Lord from their bondage, slavery and oppression in the land of Egypt, and although they had experienced the salvation of the Lord at the Red Sea when the waters parted revealing a path of safety for them, but a way of destruction unto their enemies, they would journey into the wilderness and would be three days without finding any water. This is quite a remarkable and astounding reality when you think about and consider it, for the children of Israel were walking the path of deliverance, and they were walking the path of the salvation of the Lord in their lives, and yet almost immediately after experiencing the salvation of the Lord they found themselves thirsty without any water. Imagine being the children of Israel and journeying three days in the wilderness before the blazing sun during the day, and for three days finding absolutely no water anywhere in the wilderness. Imagine how you would react and how you would respond if you were taking your own journey in and through the wilderness after experiencing the salvation and deliverance of the Lord, and yet you find yourself thirsty in the midst of it? Oh I can’t help but wonder how many men and women are reading these words of this writing and might very well be walking the path of deliverance, and might very well be walking the path of salvation, and yet in the midst of walking that path they are finding themselves without any water. What’s more, is that I can’t help but ask and wonder when the last time was that some among us had a drink—and not merely had a drink, but also had a drink that satisfied them. When was the last time you were truly able to drink water and be satisfied within your physical body and soul? The truth of the matter within these chapters between salvation and revelation is that the children of Israel found themselves confronting very real needs which existed in the physical and natural realm as opposed to a variety and host of other realities, trials, troubles and hardships. Perhaps the single greatest reality and truth that is found within these chapters is that the path that existed between salvation and revelation was a path that found the children of Israel coming face to face with the physical and natural needs within their lives, and how they dealt with and coped with those physical needs going largely unmet—at least initially.

Reading these chapters within the Old Testament book of Exodus will bring us face to face with the reality that immediately after experiencing the salvation of the Lord at the Red Sea when the path was revealed beneath the waters and their enemies were drowned in the midst of the sea the children of Israel found themselves experiencing very real needs which were experienced by men and women throughout generations. What’s more, is that as I sit here this morning I can’t help but think within my heart and mind how the Lord confronted the physical needs which were present within the physical bodies of the children of Israel in order to test their trust in Him—and not only test their trust in Him, but also to examine whether or not they would trust Him to supply their needs. One of the single greatest realities surrounding the children of Israel in the midst of the wilderness is whether or not they would trust the Lord for and with their physical needs. They had just experienced the deliverance of the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt as the Lord completely and utterly decimated and destroyed the land, and they experienced the salvation of the Lord at the Red Sea as the Lord opened up and revealed a path beneath the waters, and even drowned their enemies in the midst of the very waters that were for them salvation and protection. It’s absolutely remarkable to think about and consider the fact that after the children of Israel had passed through the waters of the Red Sea through the path the Lord had revealed and opened up in the midst of those waters they immediately found themselves being confronted with their physical needs, and whether or not they would trust the living God to supply and meet those physical needs. Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that the Lord can and might very well cause and allow you to face hunger and thirst within your life in order to test and try you to see if you desire Him more than those things which satisfy only in the natural and physical realm? Would it surprise you to think about and consider the fact that the Lord can and might very well allow you to face and experience hunger and thirst within your life in order that He might test and try you to see if you will truly trust Him to meet and supply all your needs? We know and are very much aware of the fact that “our God shall supply all our needs according to the riches which are found in Christ Jesus,” and yet the truth of the matter is whether or not we truly believe those words. Those words are easier quoted than lived, and are easier spoken than they are actually walked and fleshed out within our hearts and lives. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading these words that the Lord allowed the children of Israel to experience hunger and thirst in the midst of the wilderness in order to test and try them, but also to reveal unto them realities such as the Lord declared unto them later on concerning man not living by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God. What’s more, is that when Jesus was in the wilderness and was tempted of the devil to turn stones into bread, He responded to the devil with the same words the Lord declared unto the children of Israel concerning man not living by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. As you read these words today, the question I can’t help but ask you is what are you currently living for within your life? Are you living for those things which provide temporary satisfaction, or are you living for those things which are eternal and spiritual, and those things which touch the heart and spirit versus the physical needs of your body?

What’s worth noting is that even after the children of Israel had journeyed three days in the wilderness without finding any water they finally came to a place called Marah, which had water, yet they could not drink the waters which were there. This is quite unique and interesting when you think about and consider it, for not only had they spent three days without water in the wilderness, but now that they have finally found water they have found that water to be bitter and unable to drink. Oh, there is not only the question in this passage concerning whether or not you’re thirsty and when the last time was you had to drink, but the question now transitions to what you do when you came to some place expecting one thing, and instead of finding it to be sweet, you found it to be bitter. What do you do when you come someplace and expect it to be sweet, and yet instead of it being sweet it’s actually bitter? The tremendous and incredible truth that is found within this passage is not necessarily being without water for three days, but also coming unto a certain and specific place finding what you have been longing for and finding what you have been searching for, and yet once you tasted of that which is before you you find that it is bitter and you are unable to drink it. Oh, how and where does this apply within your heart and life in this generation? Perhaps this applies to your job and the place of your employment, for you took the job expecting it to be sweet, and yet instead of it being sweet you have found it to be bitter and have been unable to enjoy it. Perhaps this applies to that marriage you waited so patiently for, and once you entered into marriage and expected it to be sweet you have actually found it to be bitter and are unable to enjoy it. Perhaps this applies to relationships within your life as you have found relationships which you expected one thing from, and yet instead of finding that which you were longing for—and perhaps even what you were hoping for—you have found it to be that which is not enjoyable. Where does this truth manifest itself within your life as you have come to a certain place expecting one thing only to find the exact opposite of what you had expected? What we find within the his passage is not only waters which were bitter to the taste and unable to be drank, but also unmet expectations after having already been in the place of need. The truth of the matter we find within this passage is not only bitter waters which were unable to be consumed, but also unmet expectations after having already walked three days without any water and three days in and with tremendous need. The undeniable reality found within this passage centers upon and surrounds the reality that not only might we find ourselves in a place when what we are looking for in unable to be enjoyed, but also that it’s absolutely and incredibly possible to come to a place expecting something that satisfies and meets our needs only to find our expectations going unmet after having already been found in the place of need.

As you come to the end of this passage you will find that the Lord showed Moses a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet. IT would be very easy to simply focus on bitter waters being made sweet, and dwell on that alone, however, as you read the words which are found within this passage you will find that it was here in the place where bitter waters were made sweet that the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there proved them and declared unto them that if they would diligently hearten to the voice of the Lord their God, and would do that which was right in His sight, and would give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, He would put none of the diseases upon them which He brought upon the Egyptians. It’s not enough to merely focus on the reality of the bitter waters being made sweet, for the true and underlying reality that is found within this passage of Scripture is not only the bitter waters having been made sweet, but the living God proving the children of Israel and whether or not they would hearken unto His voice, whether they would do that which was right in His sight, and whether they would give ear to His commandments, and to keep His statutes. It’s worth noting and considering when reading these words that although the children of Israel had come unto these waters which were bitter, and although these waters were originally unable to be drank, the Lord revealed unto Moses a tree, which once it was cast into the waters made the waters sweet. It’s worth noting that the Lord did in fact and can in fact take that which is bitter within our hearts and lives, and He can indeed cause it to become sweet, however, we must not forget that the underlying truth and principle is not merely centered upon the Lord’s ability to take that which is bitter and make it sweet. It is nice that the Lord showed Moses a tree which he had cast into the waters and the waters became sweet and were able to be drank, however, it would be in this place of physical need the Lord would teach the children of Israel concerning Himself and would prove them whether or not they would obey His voice and His commands and would do that which was right in His sight. What I so love about this passage is that the children of Israel had gone three days without finding any water in the wilderness and were undoubtedly thirsty, and when they finally to a place where there was water, they found the waters to be bitter and unable to drink from. The children of Israel were clearly in a place of thirst—perhaps even desperation—and in that place of desperation and thirst they expected to be able to drink from the waters which they had come unto. The truth of the matter is that in the place of thirst and need they found their expectations initially being unmet because the waters they tried to drink from were bitter and unable to to be enjoyed. Oh there is something to be said within this passage about being found in the place of thirst and desperation and coming unto a place where you expected to be filled and satisfied, and yet in that place—instead of being satisfied (at least initially) you found yourself unable to drink and enjoy the waters which were there. Oh, it’s worth noting that this can and could even refer to coming into the house of the Lord and stepping into your local church, for when and as you enter in you expect it to be sweet and able to be enjoyed, and yet what you find instead is that which is bitter to the taste and unable to be enjoyed. The underlying truth of the matter is that as much as you have come to the place where you expected to find that which was sweet only to instead find it bitter, the Lord has come down among you to both test and prove you and to see if you will truly walk in His statutes and obey his voice and commands.

If you continue reading the words which are found within these chapters you will find that after the children of Israel experienced the bitter waters of Marah being made sweet, and even after coming unto Elim where there twelve wells of water, and three score and ten palm trees and encamped there by the waters, we immediately find them moving from thirst to hunger. What’s more than this is that they still have yet to experience the revelation of the living God there in the wilderness, for having first found the bitter waters of Marah being made sweet, and after coming unto Elim where they found twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees they now found themselves entering into the place of hunger in the wilderness. IT’s worth noting that initially and immediately after they experienced the salvation of the Lord at the waters of the Red Sea they found themselves thirsty and coming unto the place of bitter waters, and yet even though those bitter waters were made to be sweet they found themselves journeying into the wilderness and coming unto the wilderness of Sin, which was between Elim and Sinai. The sixteenth chapter of the book of Exodus seems to indicate that at this point the children of Israel had already been journeying through the wilderness for a minimum of a month, and as such might very well have found the food supply they carried with them from the land of Egypt having gone dry and no longer in their possessions. If you begin reading with and from the second verse of this chapter you will find that the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the whole reason they murmured against them was because they had entered into the wilderness and yet reached the place where they had nothing to eat. How incredibly interesting it is to think about and consider the fact that the very first need to be exposed within the hearts and lives of the children of Israel was that of physical thirst—and not only physical thirst, but also coming to the place of unmet expectations after having already walked in and through the place of need and desperation. It was true that the Lord had indeed caused the bitter waters to be made sweet, and it was true that they did come unto Elim where they found twelve wells of water which they undoubtedly used to fill their water jars and whatever else they used to carry water. Oh the children of Israel might very well have had water for them in the midst of the wilderness, but now they find themselves being hungry. Oh they were delivered from their slavery, bondage and oppression, yet they were hungry. They were free, and yet they were hungry. They were no longer slaves, and yet they were hungry. Please don’t miss and and please don’t lose sight of this tremendous reality, for the children of Israel had experienced the deliverance of the Lord in the land of Egypt, and they had experienced the salvation of the Lord at the Red Sea, and they even experienced the power of the Lord at the bitter waters of Marah which were made sweet, however, they have now entered into and come to the place where their supply of food had run out and they were journeying in the wilderness tired and hungry.

As you continue reading the words which are written and recorded within this chapter you will find that it was true that the children of Israel were hungry, and it was true that the living God had provided for them bread from heaven, however, surrounding that bread from heaven was another statute and command the living God had given unto the children of Israel, for while it was true the Lord had provided for them bread from heaven they were to leave nothing until the morning, and they were not to go out on the seventh day which was the sabbath in order that they might seek to find this bread from heaven. This is quite astounding when you take the time to think about it, for more often than not when we think about the provision of the Lord we don’t think that the provision of the Lord is more than simply the living God meeting and providing for our needs, but is actually the Lord testing and proving us in order that He might not only demonstrate that man shall not live by those things which satisfy our physical needs alone, but also that the Lord might know whether or not we can and will follow His statutes, his commands, His decrees and His laws. The children of Israel were indeed provided with bread from heaven, however, directly linked and connected to that bread from heaven and that provision from the living God were two commands—the command not to leave any of it until the morning, as well as the command not to try and gather anything on the sabbath day. The Lord provided very specific command and instruction that the children of Israel were to gather twice as much on the sixth day as they did the first five days, for on the seventh day there would be no manna, for the seventh day was to be a holy day of rest for the children of Israel. Oh that we would recognize and come to the place within our lives when we would understand and recognize that it is true the living God can and will meet and provide our every need, however, that provision might very well carry with it the Lord testing and proving us whether or not we will diligently hearken unto and obey His voice and all His commands, instructions and statutes. I realize you and I probably don’t think that provision could actually be an instrument used in the hand of the Lord to test and prove us, and yet what we find here in the wilderness is that the Lord once again tested and proved the children of Israel in the place of hunger, for He would try them to see whether or not they would trust Him for their provision, and whether or not they would obey His voice and His commands. This same question must be considered when we think about our own lives, for do we trust and believe that the living God can and will provide all our needs, and will we trust the Lord completely for our provision? What’s more, is whether or not we will listen to and obey the voice and command of the Lord, and will listen to His commands, His statutes and decrees.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find myself coming face to face with the tremendous reality that what you continue reading within these chapters is not only thirst striking a second time, but you also find conflict and warfare striking immediately after thirst strikes a second time. The seventeenth chapter of this Old Testament book of Exodus is quite remarkable and quite revealing, for within it—not only do we find thirst striking a second time in the midst of the children of Israel, but we also find the children of Israel facing and experiencing their first conflict of warfare and battle. In order for the Lord to provide for the children of Israel water He instructed Moses to strike the rock, and to strike the rock which He Himself went before Moses and stood upon the rock. It’s quite telling and quite revealing to think about and consider the fact that in order to provide for the children of Israel again the Lord declared unto Moses that He would go before him and would stand upon the rock where Moses would strike the rock with his staff and as a result water would flow forth from the rock. It would be there at Horeb the living God would once more provide water for the children of Israel, and it would be there again the Lord would use physical need and physical thirst to expose the condition of their heart. Although they had experienced the salvation of the Lord at the Red Sea, and although they had experienced deliverance in the land of Egypt, and even though the Lord had caused bitter waters to be made sweet, and had provided them with bread from heaven, they still murmured, grumbled and complained against Him because of their lack of water. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to think about and consider the fact that the Lord provided water for the children of Israel, and yet immediately following the provision of water in the wilderness they found themselves being confronted with their first conflict of warfare and battle. Beginning with the eighth verse of this chapter you will find that it would be there in Horeb where Amalek came out against Israel in Rephidim, and how Moses instructed Joshua to choose men from among the children of Israel and go out and fight with Amalek. What you will find concerning this battle is that it wasn’t any ordinary battle, for the battle was directly determined by Moses’ hands being raised. So long as Moses’ hands were raised Joshua and the children of Israel would be victorious over Amalek and would be victorious in battle. If, however, Moses’ hands began to lower and drop down Amalek would have the upper hand and would prevail against Joshua and the children of Israel. The underlying question I can’t help but ask when reading this particular passage is whether or not you have found yourself in the place where your hands have grown heavy. Have you found yourself in the place where it is difficult to keep your hands raised in the midst of the battle? Have you found yourself in the place where you can no longer keep your hands raised in the midst of the conflict and in the midst of the struggle? Do you find it difficult to keep your hands held high in the midst of that which you are facing within your life? What’s more, is have you found it difficult to even raise and lift your hands in the midst of the battle and in the midst of the conflict and struggle?

I sit here this morning and I can’t help but bet the strong sense within my heart and mind that there are men and women among us in this generation and at this time who perhaps are finding it difficult to keep their hands raised in the midst of the conflict and in the midst of the struggle. I firmly believe there are men and women among us today who are finding it incredible and absolutely difficult to raise and hold their hands up high in the midst of the conflict, and as such they are finding themselves experiencing tremendous defeat within and in the midst of their lives. What we find within this passage is that so long as the hands of Moses were held high Joshua and the children of Israel prevailed in battle against Amalek, but the minute his hands began to drop down Amalek would gain the upper hand. What we find taking place next is truly remarkable, for Aaron and Hur provided a stone for Moses to sit on—and not only did they provide a stone for Moses to sit on, but each one of them held up one of his arms and held them up until the going down of the sun that the battle might be won. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for while it might be true that you might find it difficult to keep your hands raised within your life, you might also find it necessary for others to come along side you to help you. What’s more is that not only might you need others to come alongside you to help you keep your hands raised, but perhaps you need others to come alongside you to help you raise your hands once more. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we have those individuals within our lives who are able to come alongside us and help us hold our hands up high that we might experience victory within our lives. Do we have those within our lives who are willing to come alongside us and even help us raised our hands when we have perhaps allowed our hands to drop to our sides. What’s more, is I can’t help but ask if you have found it difficult to raise and lift your hands—do you remember when the last time was you were able to raise and lift your hands before the Lord? Are you even aware of the last time you held your hands up high before the Lord? Are you aware of the last time you were able to raise your hands, and if not, it is my prayer that the living God of heaven and earth might very well provide for you at least one individual who can and is willing to come along side you and help you raise your hands once more. It is my prayer that the living God might provide you with at least one who is willing to come alongside you in order that they might help you raise your hands once more—and not only raise your hands once more, but also keep your hands raised. It is my prayer that you you would find the strength to lift and raise your hands once more, and it is my prayer that you would have at least one who was and is willing to come alongside you and not only help you lift your hands once more, but also help you keep your hands raise until you find and experience the victory within your life.

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