Bitter

A Bitter Taste: Part 2

CROSSING THE RED SEA

Before we jump into today’s blog, I just wanted to take a quick second to thank you for being a reader.  Whether this is the first blog you have read or even if you’re a frequent guest.  My prayer is that as we dig into God’s Word, you will be inspired, challenged & provoked to become all that God has called you to be.  You’re time is precious and I don’t want to waste it.

So let’s jump right in. Today we’re going to finish the conversation that we started in my last blog A Bitter Taste.  Feel free to take time to read or re-read that one before continuing with this one.  We’ve all had bitter experiences in life. It doesn’t matter how young, how old, your ethnicity, how long you’ve been saved…if you’re a living, breathing human…then chances are you know exactly what I’m talking about.  We’re not the only ones who have had bitter experiences…we went through a whole list of people in the Bible in the last blog of many who became bitter.

Today, I want to give you a picture in the Bible where God turned a bitter experience into sweet victory. I want to leave you encouraged today.  Maybe you find yourself in a bitter situation today. It could be a financial situation (bills to pay, a shut off noticed just came in the mail, etc.), a relationship (with a spouse, a loved one, your children, etc.) or maybe you’re surrounded by negativity (criticism, people or maybe the devil’s been trying to give you one on one Bible Studies).  It doesn’t matter what the situation is, God can turn it around today.

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“Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah). So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”” – Exodus 15:22-24

This is a very familiar story…at least what took place right before this.  Moses just led God’s people across the Red Sea.  Pharaoh & his army  were flooded.  God’s people were loving life.  They were rejoicing, singing songs and felt as if nothing could go wrong.  Can you relate? Ever had those moments where everything is going great? Everyone loves you, you get a promotion, the people you run into are nice, people let you cut in front of them on the freeway…you know what I mean? Well, they were definitely having a mountain top experience.  Then three days later…everything changed. They went without water for three days and began to grumble.  They even turned on Moses.  Just a few days before, they loved him.  Reminds me of how people welcomed Jesus by laying palm branches before him but a week later those same people were yelling “crucify him.”

This is where it gets good so pay attention.  As the story continues, Moses went before the Lord in prayer.  God shows Moses a tree, which he then throws in the water and it became sweet or ‘fit to drink.’  In one translation it says that he “pointed” to a tree.  Notice how God didn’t create a tree, but it was already there. The tree is a representation of Jesus and what he did for us on the cross.  If we put Jesus (tree) in the center of our situation (sea), he’ll take care of the bitter waters (situation) and make them sweet. Are you putting Jesus in the middle of that stress, that marriage, that difficult financial situation or your most immediate need right now? I encourage you to make him the center.  Even with the situation that you feel will never work out…we serve a God who specializes in the impossible.

Moses & Red Sea

The chapter ends with them coming to Elim and this is the final thought I want to leave you with today.  There are two aramaic words for ‘Elim.’ The first root word is “mighty” and the second word is “a place of rest.” It can also be translated into a place of shade or provision.  When you allow God to be the center of your bitter experience, He’ll bring you to a place where you’ll have victory.  There were 12 springs & 70 palm trees where they camped.  Why 12 & 70? Well, if the tree points to Jesus, the 12 points to his disciples and 70 points to the crowd that followed Christ.  This points to ministry or God’s House. Look around the camp where God has placed you at today, you’re not alone. People stay weak & feable when they don’t plug into church and they try to do things on their own.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” – Hebrews 10:24-25

You’re victory is waiting for you. Let your bitter experiences make you better.  God did it for Moses, I’ve seen Him do it countless times in my own life and I know He’s going to do it for you too.  If you’re reading this it’s because God is not finished with you.  He still has so much more for you to experience in life.  Let that bitter taste leave today and let God set you up for sweet victories in your future.

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A Bitter Taste…

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” – Hebrews 12:15

Over the past couple of blogs, we’ve been discussing the 7 Things to Remember When You Have a Pit Experience. We’ve already unpacked a few of them; 1. Are You Ready for Change Yet? 2. Attacks Will Come. 3. Losers Focus on What They’re Going Through. & 4. How do You Respond to People? I hope each of them have really left you challenged, provoked and inspired to become all God has called you to be.  I take the time to share each of these thoughts with you because these have all been experiences that I have gone through in my own life.  What I’m sharing with you are principles that I have learned in my walk with God, they’re not things that I have gotten from a book.

Today I want to focus on just one of the 7 Things to Remember When You Have a Pit Experience.  This would be number five of the bunch.  And I want to spend an entire blog dedicated to this particular subject because I feel this is something that will really hit home with everyone. So, let’s get to it: #5. Don’t Become Bitter.

We have to be careful not to get bitter when we’re in a pit experience.  I’ve seen bitterness trip people up in their walk with God.  And when I talk about bitterness, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you become angry or hateful.  A lot of times bitterness has a way of not being an outward expression but an inward cancer.  If left untended, it could lead to depression, withdrawal and even no longer using your gifts & talents to build up the Body of Christ. It might be caused by the feeling of being overlooked, feeling something wasn’t fair and a list of many other things.  But you have to be careful with bitterness because it has many shades to it.

Those who created the pain of your present do not control the pleasure or the blessings of your future unless you let them.”

Hebrews 12:15 reminds us not to allow any “seed” to sprout up in the soil of our souls.  A seed starts out really small…almost unnoticeable.  But the bad thing when it comes to bitterness…if you let it grow, it’ll keep growing.  It’s like weeds in your front or back yard.  Even when you don’t have grass…weeds will stay green and continue to flourish unless you deal with them.  That’s why it’s so important to deal with bitterness at it’s root.  A good way to identify bitterness is when people begin to complain.  Bitterness usually starts with complaining…they’ll start to verbalize negativity.

The Bible gives a great illustration on this subject in the book of Matthew 20 when a landowner made a deal with a worker to do work in his vineyard for a set price.  The landowner then hired other workers who worked only an hour.  At the end of the day, he paid them both the same amount. The ones who were hired first “grumbled” or became bitter.  The landowner even said, “Am I not being fair? Didn’t we agree on this price?” In other words, sometimes God is asking us, “why are you bitter because someone else was a recipient of my grace & mercy?”

Many people in the Bible got bitter. Here’s just a small list; 1. Job 10:1 (Job complained over a situation he had no control over), 2. Genesis 27:34 (Esau sought forgiveness with bitter tears for giving up his birthright), 3. Exodus 1:14 (God’s people went through bitterness of heart), 4. Ruth 1 (Naomi changed her name to ‘mara’ which meant bitter. She even blamed God.), 5. 1 Samuel 1 (Hannah was bitter because she couldn’t have a child), 6. Ester (Hamman was bitter towards Mordecai). 7. Jeremiah (He got bitter towards God’s people where he didn’t want to use his gift of prophecy. 8. Peter (He became bitter with his own failures).

We’ll continue with this thought tomorrow. Today I just wanted to paint a picture of bitterness and how many of us can so easily come to a place of bitterness in our own life.  But we won’t stay here…it does get better for those who choose not to stay bitter.  We’ll get rid of that bitter taste tomorrow.