Bitter Sweet

“And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed 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, 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.” (Exodus 15:25-26 KJV)

What about this tree made the bitter waters sweet? During Israel’s powerful Exodus from Egypt and continuing trip into the desert, God was dripping with illustrations to show His people something about Him. Yet, what is particular about this tree? How does the properties of the wood from this tree yield water that is drinkable that once was not? Our first clue is that this tree was pointed out specifically to Moses, “…and the Lord shewed him a tree”. Have you ever had bitterness so fierce in your own heart that it took a conversation with God before He could point out the particular solution to you? Has the solution ever seemed as ridiculous as throwing a tree, not just any tree, but that tree into the water? Bringing your cares to Him and laying them at His feet seem to be where the solution finding starts. What happened after the tree was thrown into the water? Did the bitterness in that water go away? Note that this is not my story nor your story, but in this story as it is recorded before we were born; did the bitterness go away? What God told them to do, as ridiculous as it may have seemed, did work. Maybe because of the properties of the tree and maybe not. Either way, obedience and trust were key ingredients in the sweetening process. Somehow even today the bitterness of the death that Jesus suffered on a tree makes the bitterness that we encounter in what we think is a desert fundamentally change the water, that we are so thirsty for, sweet.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 KJV)

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