v20: Miriam was the sister of Moses (and Aaron)
· Took the timbrel (like a tambourine) – Right worship leads to right behaviour. We need to be very careful that our worship is not motivated by the flesh (person focussed rather than G-d focussed)
· All the women went out – there was a response. Here we see a distinct separation between the men and the women. In Zechariah 12:12-14 we again see this distinction made between men and women (lamentation is also a form of worship) There is no confusion here as to who is male and who is female (Genesis 1:27, Romans 1:22 – this is what is happening in our generation – we are told to believe the opposite of G-d’s created order)
v21: Miriam is leading the women in worshiping G-d for His victory at the Red Sea
v22: Moses brought Israel: After the worship Moses caused the children of Israel to continue to travel.
· Three days journey was the original request for the Israelites to leave Egypt (Exodus 5:3). The three-day journey had been reached, and they were supposed to celebrate a festival to the L-rd.
· Water is life. They are in a dire situation. But remember: G-d, through Moses, is leading the people. He would not move them to defeat but to a place of provision- even supernatural provision.
v23: There is a play on words. “Marah” means “bitter”. This name is emphasised in this verse.
· What is G-d doing? He is always, purposefully, trying to grow us spiritually (teaching us to be more dependant and reliant on Him)
v24: Instead of asking G-d what He was trying to teach them they began to complain about their situation. They demonstrated their lack of faith in a G-d who had shown Himself faithful.
Never doubt the faithfulness of G-d.
v25: Tree: Through a tree everything was changed – that which was bitter became sweet. Why? Because a tree was placed into the situation.
· Water is synonymous with life. When we behave naturally in a situation (out of our flesh) there is going to be a bitterness to what we do. (This is why so many relationships just deteriorate over time. We sow bitterness into situations). But when we cast the tree (of life – aka the cross) into our human situation it produces sweetness. The Cross is the tree that has the power to bring change into our situations.
· This was not a test/temptation to get the people to sin (James 1:13-15). As believers, G-d will put us through various spiritual tests to see what is in our hearts (Deuteronomy
8:2) These tests reveal to us things we didn’t know – affirming what is right and marking out what is wrong, so that a righteous change can be brought about. These tests help us to (hopefully) grow in our faith.
· The water was supposed to have a positive effect on the tree, but in actuality it turned out that the tree had a positive effect on the water (supernatural turn of events)
v26: This verse sums up the first test that G-d gave them. Would we pass this test?
· Heed the voice – listen in order to obey.
· Give ear to His commandments – to do what He has commanded.
· I will put none of the diseases: This is G-d’s promise.
· The L-rd who heals – He is our doctor, our healer. G-d’s desire is to heal, bring restoration, wholeness, in every aspect of our beings. This does not mean that every time we have a health issue it is because of disobedience – but one would, never-the-less- be wise to explore that possibility. We are living in a world that has been affected by sin. Part of the consequence of that is disease, sickness and demonic influence. Most of us will probably encounter sickness in this world, because there is sickness here. Calling Himself “healer” means that the person has a sickness that needs a cure. G-d has the power to keep us from disease, but He also has the power to heal us from disease.
v27: Twelve wells of water: 12 is a number that relates to Israel. G-d could have led them straight to Elim where there would have been a well(spring) of water for each tribe (abundant water), but He choose to take them to (and through) Marah first. G-d wanted to first teach the people how to find sweetness from bitterness. He wanted to teach them that He always has a solution for their problems – it’s usually right in front of our noses! We should live with an expectation of G-d’s provision.
· 70 palm trees – the number 7/70/700 etc, Biblically, speak of sanctification. G-d wanted to sanctify, make holy, these twelve tribes (His people).