Life in the Spirit Ministries March of the Message Newsletter
Dear Fellow Lambs,
Psalm 20:2b-4 says, “The Lord send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; Remember all thy offerings and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah. Grant Thee according to Thine own heart, and fulfill all Thy counsel.” In this psalm of David, written in a time of trouble, we find David’s heart set on God’s heart alone. I believe the help and strength David was crying out for was to satisfy God’s own heart for His Lamb in sacrifice out from us. The help David requested came from God’s very sanctuary, and the strength he needed came from the relationship found in Zion. How blessed to see God’s need above our own. David remembered the Lord’s offerings and what the burnt sacrifice means to Him. To approach God with hearts set on His heart and longing for His Lamb in us in sacrifice is what this year’s Gathering is all about. Even though the Gathering itself is in less than two months, I sense that as we press in to be with Him “according to Thine own heart,” we are in the place of preparation that He desires.
The Lord has recently given me an approach for this year’s Gathering that is different than that of any other year. It is a creative and interactive way of sharing our theme of “Gathering at the Sheep-Gate” that will help all of us enter in more deeply together. Please be in prayer as the Lord continues to give me and others the needed details and preparations as we get ready for this year’s Gathering. Just as a reminder, if it is in your heart to join us for this year's Gathering, please make sure to RSVP through the Gathering invitation email that was sent out. Some of you desire to come, but already know that you will not be able to come in person and would like to join on Zoom as much as possible - we ask that you also go ahead and respond to the same email if you hope to join us by Zoom, so we know! We are all waiting in the Lord for what He has this year. You can also RSVP by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
May we move together as His flock, the flock of His heart that gives Him His Son in sacrifice.
I have a personal prayer request to submit to you... On Tuesday, October 11th, I will be undergoing surgery for some cancer they found on my head. Your prayers will be appreciated.
Exodus 15:23-26 —
“So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
Verse 22-24 —
“So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?”
Three days earlier there was abundance. There was more water than Israel knew what to do with. They also had abundant expressions of gratitude, hope, and rejoicing. But it is sad that it can only last for up to three days until the first trial presents itself. It is clear that everything that had gone before had only been an outward experience to them. But experiences fade... and so do our hopes.
Verse 23 —
“And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter:”
Pertaining to the use of the word “they” in this verse... is he referring to the waters or the people? If only referring to the water, then the problem here is that the water must be “healed.” But if “they” is referring to the people, then the water was fine, but they still could not drink because “they” were bitter. In that case, they are the ones who needed to be “healed.” “...therefore the name of it was called Marah.”
The name “marah” means “bitter”.
Verse 24 —
“And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?”
The situation here is that, if the water is the issue, then Moses had no way of knowing that it was undrinkable, therefore why are they blaming him? Shouldn’t they blame God? The storyline here in Exodus 15 is beginning to show that maybe both the water and the people were bitter.
Verse 25 —
“And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them...”
In the face of false criticism, Moses does not justify himself to them. Instead, he cries out unto the Lord. God shows him something — an answer! But because they are bitter, He does not show THEM the answer. God is particular about who He shows what. So, what was the answer? It was a tree!
In light of this answer, questions arise! If the only water to drink was poisoned, then how could this tree still be alive? Is it representative of the cross that is planted in death, that gives life to that which deserves death? But to apply the tree, this tree is “cut down” and cast into the poison that should have taken all of their lives. Though they deserved death, yet the tree did not deserve it. In fact, it apparently was the only thing that deserved to live. But, in order that the unjust should have life the tree gave up its own life.
With that crucified testimony enacted “... there he (God) made for them a statute and an ordinance.” What was it? Was it commandments? Was it rules on how murmurers can survive in the wilderness? No! It was principles of the nature of God. It declared a Lamb! It showed forth how God deals with selfishness, evil, and enemies. He dies for them. In giving them this example, He showed them “the way”.
And, in doing so then, right there, in that crisis “He proved them.” What does that mean? If they continue their lives on this early course then this, along with many other “proofs” over time, will bear testimony against them before God at the judgment. God will not have to judge them. They will have built their own case against themselves by providing all the evidence necessary against themselves.
Verse 26 —
“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
God’s verbal response through Moses to the people concerning “Marah” was this! He didn’t point out the “Marah” that was inside of them and then tell them to quit! Instead He called for...
1. Diligence... in heeding God’s voice (through Moses?)
2. Do right in accord with how He sees things instead of our view.
3. Have a listening ear as to what His directives entail.
4. Keep all His statues (like how to deal with enemies mentioned in this story).
If... these things are done then certain things will happen from Him!
He will not “put” certain diseases upon them like what happened to the Egyptians.
So what happened to the Egyptians and why?
What happened to them were outward “diseases” that came upon them because of their already inward “diseases.” It is the same situation that happened to Israel at Marah. Egypt had outward gods that were being judged by God and judged as weak. But they also had inward disease that resisted the will and directives of God for His people involving His firstborn. “Let my firstborn go”...unto me. Their pride, prowess in might, and arrogance led them into the “disease” that fell on their own firstborn. This was their greatest disease and their greatest loss, which could never be brought back to normal, unlike the other plagues, which ended with the effects no longer being felt after a short while.
So, at Marah God was seeing in His people some of the same tendencies as He saw in the Egyptians. But, like Marah, the only true answer God gave for His own people was the death of the Lamb, His Firstborn. THAT turned the tide, even as the “tree” along with its death did so in this story in Exodus 15. Remember that Marah was the first stop in their journey of three days, therefore these things should have still been fresh on all of their minds. For this reason He said, “I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians.”
Ending of Verse 26 —
“...for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
To put “diseases” on them is not God’s main plan or tool. He is more in the “healing” business. For example, at Marah God did not make the water “diseased.” That situation was already there when Israel arrived. Instead, He “healed” the waters. However, the subject of Him possibly bringing disease on Israel only came up with the murmuring and accusations that arose from His own people.
At the end of Exodus, His people had two great examples of how God delivers and how God brings an end of enemies. They are both rolled up into one. In the example of how He delivers, we have the offered Lamb and the tree. Now in the case of Egypt and how He gets enemies to comply, though stubborn as steel, He removes their firstborn.
That can be seen in several ways. It could mean that He removes that which is a false “firstborn” or, in the case of His own, He removes the actual Firstborn, who is their strength, and allows them to REALLY see what life is like without Him. This happened many times in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament also. One example from the Old Testament was when He allowed the Ark of the Covenant to be removed from the Tabernacle and they spent years functioning as if He was still right there with them. But He was not! God did not allow Himself to be brought back and set as the central focus until someone “proved” that they would allow the Lamb to be slain and eaten and the tree to be cast into their own tendencies of rebellion. The person that allowed that “proof” to take place inthem over many years was David. And that man was the only one that with whom God would allow the presence of God to be brought back and a new start to begin for His people.
Yes, the Lord is capable of “putting all of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians.” Israel in the wilderness proved this, as did the nation of Israel once they entered into the Land. But David turned the tide when he ate Lamb every day as he made his way up to Zion to meet with the One who was daily becoming his Life and Way. ***