The Practical Experience of Israel shows how God will provide for them.


I.   Verse 22 - No water.

II.   Verse 23-26 - Bitter water that is made sweet.

III.   Verse 27 - Plenty of good water.

IV.   Exodus 6:1 compare to Numbers 33:9,10 - They go back to the Red Sea.


Point # 1 - Verse 22 – No Water


Verse 22, 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.

I.   A time of “proving” (verse 25) Israel, not that God would discover what they would do, but that they might discover what they would do.

A.     Ex. 13:17,18 - God already knew what Israel would do.


II.   Note word “brought” and “went” - indicates action.

A.     Moses “brought” the people for he had the vision from God.

B.     The people “went” as Moses led them.


III.   Note: there was a going forward.

A.     There was a time to leave the blessings of the past.

1.      It’s good to rejoice in the time of rejoicing.

2.      There comes a time to look ahead for other blessings to come.  We can’t always (probably never) live in the past, or have things the way they used to be.

3.      In this case, and in many cases, when we turn from past blessings, we face the wilderness - a time of change and hardness we had not previously experienced.

4.      What will our reaction be to the hard times after God’s blessings?

B.     “Went out” - from the protection of the mountains to openness of the desert.

C.     Wilderness of Shur - No water.

1.      Immediately they were in the desert.

2.      Went three days journey into the wilderness (to Marah).

3.      Many times it’s only a short distance between blessings and barrenness.

4.      Three days - from Sunday to Wednesday.  By Wednesday, Sunday’s blessings are forgotten and we need the blessings of God’s Word (water) by Wednesday.

D.     The expected blessings didn’t materialize - Will you trust, or will you murmur?

1.      Israel did not murmur when there was no water.

2.      This is extremely good, and isn’t noticed much of the time.

3.      Instead of murmuring, they continued onward.

4.      This is what we should do when troubles come – do not murmur, and continue forward.


IV.   No water - and How much water will they need?

A.     Ex. 12:37 - 600,000 men and wives (600,000) and children (average of 1.5 per couple = 900,000) and cattle (4 per family - a very small average) = 2,100,000 people + 2,400,000 cattle.  A total of 4,500,000.

1.      If every person and animal got 1 gallon of water per day = 4,500,000 gallons of water per day.

2.      1 Deutz, 6 cylinder diesel, 10” pump = 1,500 gallons of water per minute.

a.       90,000 gal. per hour.

b.      2,160,000 gal. per day.

3.      2 of the above pumps = 4,320,000 gal per day.

4.      Not quite enough water if each living creature got 1 gallon per day!

B.     Ex. 12:37 - 600,000 men and 600,000 wives and 900,000 children and 10 cattle (considering those needed for sacrifice in the wilderness and reproduction).

1.      6,000,000 animals total

2.      8,100,000 total people and animals.

3.      If they used three gallons of water per day - 24,300,000 of water per day, or 11.25 pumps as described above, pumping 24 hours a day - never stopping for anything.

C.     Now perhaps we can understand why Israel wondered about water when they looked at the vastness of their number and the desert of Shur.

1.      They were looking at their problem through the eyes of flesh, not through the eyes of faith.

2.      This is how we look at our problems many times.


Point # 2 - The Waters of Marah

Verse 23-26 – Bitter Water That Is Made Sweet


Verse 23-26, 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 showed 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.

I.   Waters of Marah (means bitter).

A.     There was plenty of water there.

B.     But it was too bitter to drink.

1.      All things are in God’s hands - He can give us no water at all, or plenty of water, but make it so bitter we can’t drink it.

2.      Note: God can cause us to despise that which we believe will give great satisfaction.

a.       He does this to cause us to trust HIM.

b.      Not trust in circumstances or events.


II.   Murmuring against Moses - The most common things is to not pray to God, but to complain to our leader - whoever he is.

A.     Definition of murmuring.

1.      to stop (usually over night); by impl. to stay permanently;

2.      hence (in a bad sense) to be obstinate (espec. in words, to complain):--abide (all night), continue, dwell, endure, grudge, be left, lie all night, (cause to) lodge (all night, in, -ing, this night), (make to) murmur, remain, tarry (all night, that night).

3.      Therefore murmuring is (in a bad sense) to be stuck on a point and cannot get over it.

4.      Murmuring is when that bad point is on your mind and you can’t see any good coming out of the situation.

5.      Murmuring stops us from finding a solution, but causes us to continually dwell on the negative of the situation before us.

B.     There is a difference between murmuring and stating your case.

1.      The Bible clearly states that Israel murmured – that is, they didn’t present a solution to Moses, or help him find a solution.

2.      They simply complained.

3.      Many church members do this.

a.       They see the problem – just like everybody else sees the problem.

b.      But instead of offering a solution, they murmur.

c.       They spread their discontent to others.

d.      They are not happy with the situation, and they don’t want anybody else to be content with it either.

C.     Moses was following the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

1.      This was in full view of all Israel.  So they all knew Moses was leading them right.

2.      The Bible is in full view of all church members, so they can see if the pastor is leading them right.

D.     In this place they didn’t complain about the direction of travel, but the lack of potable water.

1.      Everybody (even Moses) was aware of the problem.

2.      Instead of the people joining together with Moses in prayer to God, they complained (murmured against) Moses.

3.      When problems come, that is the time to gather together in earnest prayer to God, not murmur against God’s chosen leader.

E.      Moses was the only one who prayed to God, and the only one God showed the solution to.

1.      He was the spiritual leader.

2.      He was the only one who cried unto God!

3.      The rest of the people complained to Moses instead of praying to God.

4.      The lesson also applies to Moses.

a.       It is most important that the leader of Israel understands and believes that God is able to supply every need.

b.      If the leader doesn’t understand this very important truth, there are certain other things the common people can’t learn.


III.   The lesson of bitter waters (Marah).

A.     We can either complain or pray.

1.      We can’t do both.

2.      Our complaining will lead to more complaints.

3.      Our praying and rejoicing will lead to more praying and more rejoicing.

B.     Only God can turn bitterness into sweetness.

1.      God wants Israel to understand that He and He alone has the power to protect Israel, and provide for their everyday needs.

2.      This is also a very important lesson for all of us to understand.

3.      If we will learn this lesson well, we will understand more and more what being a Christian is all about.

C.     God is teaching Israel OBEDIENCE (absolute truth) in the face of trials.

1.      He made a statue (decreed limit, decree) and ordinance (judgment, punishment).

2.      “Prove” them - that they would know what God would do if they continued in this same line of thinking.

3.      Obedience - I Sam. 15:23 - Samuel told Saul, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.”

D.     The statue and ordinance is: (The threat is implied, the promise expressed).

1.      Statue:

a.       Diligently hearken to the voice of God, (listening to Moses causes them to hear God.)

b.      Do right in His sight.

c.       Give ear to commandments.

d.      Keep statutes.

2.      Ordinance.

a.       God will not bring the diseases of Egypt upon Israel.

E.      The Lord healeth.

1.      Israel, like all mankind, was headed in the same direction taken by Egypt before God stepped in to heal them.

2.      Mark 2:17 - Christ is the Great Physician, who came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

F.      The healing tree.

1.      There is no record of what kind of tree this is.

2.      I do not believe the healing was in the kind of tree it is.

3.      The healing of the waters was in obedience to God’s command.

4.      Some have compared the tree to the cross of Calvary.

a.       I have no difficulty in seeing the symbolism this case presents.

b.      True, everlasting healing of the sin sick soul comes only through the blood shed by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.


Point # 3 - Verse 27 – Plenty of Good Water


Verse 27, And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

I.   At Elim.

A.     Elim is only about 10 miles further south of Marah!

1.      Sometimes it is a very short distant from the cursing of God to the blessings of God.

2.      When the waters of Marah were made sweet, they left those waters and traveled to another place.

3.      The same principle applies here as applies when Israel left the Red Sea, and traveled on to another place.

B.     Note the changing circumstances of Israel - compare to us.

1.      Nothing remains the same - not intended to stay the same.

2.      Circumstances go from better to worse and worse to better.

C.     A comfortable place - prepared by God for His children.

1.      God can and does find places of rest and refreshment in the wilderness of this world.

2.      Twelve wells of water - one for every tribe - enough centrally located water for everyone.

3.      Seventy palm trees - One for every elder of Israel - Num. 11:16 - Moses appointed 70 elders for judging Israel.

4.      Palm trees - Considered that which is befitting to majesty.

a.       Ps. 92:12 - The righteous shall flourish as a Palm Tree.

b.      Perpetually green, strikingly beautiful, and upright.

c.       A palm tree starts bearing fruit after 6 or 8 years and continues for a hundred years, (long life) and bears its best fruit in old age.

d.      Bears fruit at top (near heaven and as far as possible from the earth).

e.       Grows to 80 feet, commonly 40 to 50 feet.

f.        Elasticity of fiber of palm - continues to grow upward through loaded with weights.

g.       Concerning the palm tree growth - it is endogen, and grows from within, while many other trees grow from the outside.

h.       Useful - the Syrians have listed 360 different uses of the tree.

D.     God intended Israel to leave this place also.

1.      The lesson is not for us to move our dwelling place (home) often.

2.      Or to move our church membership often.

3.      But to continue looking for the Promised Land.

4.      Don’t get so comfortable on this earth that we fail to prepare for the world to come.

5.      Heb. 11:9 - Like Abraham, we are “sojourners” on this earth.


II.   This place completes the lesson taught by God.

A.     God is able to put Israel in a place where they need water.

B.     God is able to put Israel in a place where they have everything they need.

C.     The key is not to look for those things we need, or enjoy having.

1.      The key is to look to God who is able to supply all our needs.

2.      He will never let you down.

3.      If times are full of trouble, look to God.

4.      If times are very good and prosperous, look to God.

D.     Numbers 33:10 - After God has shown them what He can do for them, he takes them back to the Red Sea.

1.      When Israel got back to the Red Sea, they saw it was exactly like it was before God destroyed Egypt.

2.      The only difference is that now they are on the other shore.

3.      Israel should understand they have spiritually matured, but everything else is the same.

4.      Israel should understand that God delivered them, that there is no “magic” in the Red Sea itself.

5.      We must understand that our strength lies in God, not in things.

6.      God controls things; things don’t control God or anything else.


Exodus 6:1 compare to Numbers 33:9,10 - They go back to the Red Sea


III.   Exodus 16:1 is point # 4, Exodus 6:1 compare to Numbers 33:9,10 - They go back to the Red Sea.