Where do you sense your heart harboring bitterness right now?
Read // Exodus 15:22-27
22 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. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”
25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink.
There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”
27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.
As I was reading this passage, I was struck not by my usual emphasis on how the Israelites embody much of our own tendency to become dissatisfied when life becomes hard but with God’s description of Himself in the midst of it: “I am the Lord who heals you”.
In Hebrew the words are, אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה רֹפְאֶֽךָ (Yahweh Ropecha). The Lord is a healer, a mender, a physician not just physically but spiritually. This passage stands out at the beginning of Israel’s wilderness journey because it presents the foundational issues and character of both the Israelites and the Lord. While bitterness and strife are inherent to our condition as human, it is God’s character and disposition toward us to heal, to restore, to mend our spiritual condition and bring us back to Himself. It’s not just what He does, it’s who He is.
We see this affirmed in the passage for today when God commands them to be faithful to the instructions He’s giving them. These aren’t arbitrary declarations from a God bent on abusing His power. They are paths of life meant to lead us into the arms of the only one who can heal our deep core of bitterness.
“Lord, heal me from the bitterness that threatens to consume me. Lead me in your paths of righteousness for your glory. Amen