Reading Exodus 15:23-26

Job blessed God for affliction (Job 1:21) and Paul praised God for it (II Corinthians 12:9). These qualities are commendable and indeed desirable but God simply asks that we remain faithful and obedient. This was the statute and ordinance the Lord made in Exodus 15:25. The Lord intends, by adverse circumstances to prove our obedience to him; in other words He intends us to examine ourselves to see if we have the faith to prove his power in impossible circumstances. The Israelites had recently come through the Red Sea by the miraculous hand of God. Such a mighty deliverance this was that the Lord repeatedly used it as a title for himself; I am the Lord that “brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage.” (Deuteronomy 13:10; Judges 6:8 cf. Daniel 9:15).

There are many situations in life, like that of the Israelites in Exodus 15:23 they “turn sour” and become a great affliction and burden to us. Family affairs, work conditions, marriage relations all have a very high probability of turning unfavourable. It is easy to murmur, become bitter or walk away. This is what the Israelites wanted to do (Numbers 11:5; 14:2 cf. Acts 7:39). But the Lord who brought them out by a mighty hand would “teach” (“show” Exodus 15:25) them also to live in the wilderness by his mighty hand.  The Lord made clear to Israel what he expected from them: obedience and fidelity. He also made clear what they could expect from him (Vs. 26): continued healing (active participle; “I, Jehovah, am healing thee.”). In essence, although you are delivered from ‘Egypt,’ yet it is possible to act like the Egyptians, or by faithlessness and disobedience to come through adversity like the world does.  The Lord however is able to make the bitter circumstances sweet for his people; this he promises to do in his mercy (Psalm 32:10).

Christian, the first ‘impossible’ situation the Lord brought you through was salvation (John 1:13). When you can see the Lord clearly as the Lord-that-brought-you-up-from-Egypt then you are strengthened to see the Lord sustaining in the circumstances of life. This is in essence living in the reality of the cross-work of Christ. Consider the words of the Hymn-writer, “Jesus keep me near the cross.” The writer goes on to pray “Near the cross of Lamb of God, bring it’s scenes before me, help me walk from day to day with its shadow or me.”