Let’s walk with the Israelites for a minute. We’re still celebrating watching what we saw God do at the Red Sea – we saw the water turn in to two huge walls. While being chased by our enemy, we stepped onto the bottom of the ocean to find it dry, just as dry as the sand in the desert. No one but God could have pulled that off and we knew it. We had ourselves a Holy fit and celebrated what we saw Him do. That gave us the courage to keep following. We were full of faith at that moment, so we gladly followed Moses on even though we had no clue where our faith (or Moses) would take us.
Now we find ourselves in the Wilderness of Shur (my interpretation…sure enough wilderness). No food. No water. Nothing but nothingness. We’re tired and our feet hurt. We’re hungry and thirsty – every one of the million or so of us. On the heels of one of the greatest miracles we’d ever seen, we start complaining. We’re in a tough spot. Everyone knows survival…in the desert no less…requires at the very least, water. Walking out of bondage by faith is one thing but when physical need takes over, faith sometimes takes a back seat to what we feel, doesn’t it?
Can you feel it? I doubt we can – I’m thinking with everything we want and need at our disposal these days, none of us have been without water – while walking – in the desert – for three days. The complaints grew louder and they grumbled at Moses so loudly the man could hear nothing else. Moses did the only thing he knew to do – he cried to the Lord for help. What else could he have done? There was water (Marah) but it was undrinkable. I’m sure to all of them none of this made any sense.
This whole adventure from the beginning to that moment was all about full and complete reliance on God and obedience to Him. After he cried to God the Bible says, very simply and unmistakably “…and the Lord showed him a tree…”
Allow me to indulge my humanness for a moment, will you? A tree – this word indicates it was most likely a branch…not even a whole tree. Can you imagine the look on his face? “OK Lord, you hear YOUR people (not mine) You KNOW we NEED water…and you show me a tree…a tree branch…??” What?
In the moment of a great physical need (three days without water), I would have cried out, “LORD! What are you thinking?! We don’t need a tree!! WE NEED WATER!!!!” Not Moses. Not this great man of faith. He threw the branch in the water which made the bitter water become sweet and they drank. God met their need – every one of them who drank got their thirst quenched.
We sometimes find ourselves on top of the world after a mighty move of God and for some reason, we think we’re going to stay there! When something happens to us, we pray specific prayers and God gives or allows something that makes no sense whatsoever: Trees in place of water, a pink slip instead of job security, an illness instead of good health, etc. In those moments we have two choices: 1) Lean on what we think we know and have an emotional breakdown when things don’t make sense or; 2) Trust God with every fiber of our being, even when it seems He must’ve gotten it wrong.
Thank God for the tree. Pick it up in faith and apply His word, remembering the promises contained within. He never fails.
Exodus 15:22-25 Philippians 4:19