LESSONS LEARNED AT LIFE'S BITTER POOLS

Intro: Lessons are frequently bitter experiences. However, despite the fact that this is true, the best teacher is experience. Ill. You can keep telling a child that the stove, fire, and other hot objects are dangerous, but they won't really understand until they've been burned. They can relate to what hot means when this happens. Although it was a painful lesson to have to learn, it is one that they will never forget as long as they live. Sadly, it appears that everyone shares this quality. Before we can learn, we must be burned!
Israel is just coming off a significant spiritual victory in this passage. They have been freed from slavery, given a new life, and witnessed God destroying their adversaries in the Red Sea's depths. A trial awaits them now, three days later. They reach a location known as Marah three days after going without water. They picked up three useful lessons while they were there. I want to concentrate on these three lessons tonight. Someone here tonight might be going through a difficult time. If that's the case, these verses will teach you valuable lessons if you let the Lord teach them to you. If everything in your life is going according to plan, you should watch out! You will eventually arrive at your own Marah, soo. You may require the lessons we can teach you right here when this occurs. Let's go back in time this evening and join Israel at Marah for a collective discussion of the topic "Lessons Learned at Life's Bitter Pools." Israel had just experienced the blessing, but they must also face the bitter. I. THEY LEARNED LESSONS ABOUT LIFE A. Life Is A Mixture - (Ill.) After that, they were treated to a time of blessing, verses 22-23, verse 27.) They, like a lot of people in our day, probably think that if you decide to follow the Lord, everything will be perfect and there won't be any problems. Sadly, this is nothing more than faulty thinking! Life is a mix of good and bad, according to God's Word (Job 14:1); Job 5:7; Eccl. 2:17; 23. Even though this outlook may appear depressing, we are aware that life also has its good times. Ill. Getting married, having a child, etc.) It's important to keep this lesson in mind! You will be ready for either outcome if you are aware that life can go either way. B. Life Has a Master - (Ill.) When Israel arrived at Marah, it appeared that they had forgotten all of God's wonderful acts for them. They omitted the plagues, their rescue, and the Red Sea miracle. They forgot that the Lord had been in complete control up until that point. They forgot that God is in charge of everything. Both the good and bad times.) Doesn't it sound a lot like us? We will enjoy the Lord's blessings as we move through life, and many times we will take them for granted! However, merely allow a problem to arise, and we will wring our hands, hang our heads in defeat, and fret over what to do! We don't realize that in times of trouble, the same God who was in charge is still in charge! Rom says that he controls everything in life. 8:28! ( Ill. John 6:1-21: The disciples on the boat They were overjoyed by His feats of miracles, but when the storm struck, they lost track of what they had just witnessed.) Doesn't that ring true of us? C. Life Has a Ministry - (Ill.) God used these good and bad times to help the Israelites. Their understanding of who God was and what He could do for them was shaped by what they learned about Him in these two life experiences.) For us, the same holds true. The Lord ministers to us through each and every circumstance in our lives. He molds us into His image throughout every phase of our lives. The Christian is a product of the circumstances he encounters in his life, just as a child is a product of his or her environment.) God is simply attempting to make us more like Him throughout all of life (Eph. 4:13. II. They acquired some self-awareness (Ill.). Life is like a huge laboratory. Our hearts are x-rayed by every positive or negative experience, revealing us exactly as we are. During this trying time at Marah, the Israelites were shown aspects of themselves that they probably would have preferred to have kept hidden. However, I fear that we are also responsible for some of these sins. Face it, going through a rough patch in your life can teach you a lot about who you are! They discovered: A. They Only Cared About Their Physical Well-Being: They Were Living For Themselves The wonderful things that God had just done in their lives had been forgotten. They were completely preoccupied with their own requirements, not in His wonder, glory, or worship!) Are you familiar with this? We appear to forget God's greatness and our world suddenly shrinks when we get into a tight spot. We enlarge the limits of our lives until we become the center of every thought and motive. Keep in mind that God does not want us to live for ourselves and our own needs. We should live for Him! He has promised to handle life's difficulties when we do. 6:33! B. They Were Walking By Sight (Ill.) Israel was guilty of focusing on the world around them rather than the God who bought them, hoping for fulfillment. They then became disappointed in God when their expectations were not met.) How many times have we done the same thing over and over again? We expect someone, a job, or something to make us happy, but we never look for happiness in the one place where it will always be found, even in the most difficult times in our lives. Neh. Ill. 8:10; Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:4) It is our duty as believers to learn to completely and totally rely on the Lord for every circumstance in life. Rom says that we are to be people of faith. 1:17. We have left God's best and entered sin when we walk by sight rather than faith - Rom. 14:23. C. They Were Never Satisfied - Illinois These people had witnessed the Lord destroy the world's greatest army just three days earlier! They had witnessed God freeing them from a vast sea. After that, they had witnessed Him seize that very same sea and use it to defeat their adversaries. They sang songs of praise to the Lord when these things took place. They are now lamenting that the Lord did not act in their era's manner while standing by a pool of bitter water! How akin to us! We can be so quick to praise God and even stand in public to express our gratitude when we are on the mountain. However, if we are just given a small setback, we will whine, groan, and complain about the awful situation we are in. Isn't that ludicrous? Yes, it is! The goal of God's plan for our lives is to learn to praise Him in every circumstance. Praise Him for His blessings when we are on the mountain! Praise Him for His faithfulness if we find ourselves in the valley. We are to praise His Name regardless of the challenges we face in life (Ill. 5:20; 1 Thes. 5:18; Phil. 4:6) (Ill. Job and his attitude, Job 1:21) (Ill. David, Psalm 119:11) 34:1) (Ill. Lady with whom I used to work. suffered a severe case of cancer. She only said, "Thank God, for several months, I didn't have to shave my legs at all!" when God healed her. An attitude of gratitude is now present! III. A. He Is Aware Of Our Needs - (Ill.) God knew what they would face at Marah. They learned some lessons about the LORD. Their route had been planned by him alone. He was aware of their need before they were! Ill. Nothing about your life surprises God! Matt, He is already in tomorrow and is aware of the challenges you will face there. 6:32. He is aware of the illness that you have not yet developed. While the person you are grieving is still alive, he is aware of your grief. He is aware of the bill that has not yet been sent by mail. I am blessed to serve a God who anticipates my requirements. He realizes! B. He Can Satisfy Our Need (Ill. Moses was instructed to plant a tree in the waters, and when he did so, they became sweet. That tree had already been prepared by God in His wisdom to meet their requirements. He was prepared when they got there. They received what they required from the Lord after he demonstrated His power.) Ill. He can satisfy our requirement as well! Man didn't need anything when he was put on this planet. A perfect man was placed in a perfect world by God. Adam had everything he could possibly need in the garden. However, man became a creature of need when he sinned. He not only required salvation, but also the most fundamental necessities of life itself. Everything that Adam had destroyed was restored by Jesus when He appeared and died on Calvary. He was able to sweeten the bitter waters of life once more by dying on that tree! We have access to everything we require to satisfy our needs thanks to His death on the cross. Through the shed blood of Jesus, we are in a position to have His power meet every life need when we are in a right relationship with God. The bitter waters of life are made sweet again by the cross of Christ! God is able to satisfy our need through the cross. not only in terms of salvation but also of life in general. His power in our lives is unlocked by the cross. Phil: Ill. God is abundantly able to meet any need you have during difficult times in your life. 4:19; Eph. 3:20; Psa. 50:10-15. C. He Has Already Satisfied Our Need - (Ill.) A long time before Israel reached Marah, God planted a seed in the very spot where they would require it. Before a way was ever required, he looked ahead and prepared one.) He does the same for us, Ill. Did you ever realize that, as terrifying as your need may be, it is only a sign of God's awaiting supply? Phil. 4:19) There is never a need in life that God has not provided for! Our lives will forever be altered if that ever comes to pass. It will completely eradicate anxiety, doubt, and worry. It will free us from our egotistical pursuits and bring us peace about life in general! Conc: Israel saw God as "Jehovah-Rapha," or "The Lord Your Healer," at Marah. This aspect of God's character would never have been known to Israel if they had not endured this difficult time. Similar to how Job would never have known that God could restore him if he had not first lost everything. Similar to how, if he hadn't done so, Lazarus would not have known the joy of life. If Mary and Martha had not experienced grief first, they would not have known that Jesus was the "Resurrection and the Life." What I mean is that the Lord reveals himself to His children more fully through the difficult times in their lives. God, help us to understand that He is seated on His throne and in charge whenever we find ourselves in the choppy waters of our Marah—which we will. God, help us to seek His hand and provision while we wait. If you are like me, you need to remember these lessons tonight. I implore you to confide in Jesus if you are having trouble right now. All of your good and bad things come to an end when you put your life's witch's brew through the cross! He can sort anything out. The key is not to kick, but rather to learn to trust in His power and let Him have His way with your life. Is there a requirement that must be met this evening? If so, the time is right now!

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