Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What are you SPREADING now?


Exodus 15:1-3 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to GOD, giving voice together, I'm singing my heart out to GOD--what a victory! He pitched horse and rider into the sea. (2) GOD is my strength, GOD is my song, and, yes! GOD is my salvation. This is the kind of God I have and I'm telling the world! This is the God of my father-- I'm spreading the news far and wide! (3) GOD is a fighter, pure GOD, through and through.

Exodus 15:22-24 Moses led Israel from the Red Sea on to the Wilderness of Shur. They traveled for three days through the wilderness without finding any water. (23) They got to Marah, but they couldn't drink the water at Marah; it was bitter. That's why they called the place Marah (Bitter). (24) And the people complained to Moses, "So what are we supposed to drink?"

Exodus 16:2-3 The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. (3) The Israelites said, "Why didn't GOD let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You've brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!"


Moses and the Children of Israel are excitedly worshipping the Lord for parting the Red Sea and delivering from their enemies, the Egyptians. I can just see them as they play music and sing praises loudly unto God. God has delivered them miraculously and they sing about His faithfulness, strength, salvation, and how He is a fighter! They "sang their hearts" out according to our text. They declared that they were SPREADING THE NEWS FAR AND WIDE.

Music played an important part in Israel's worship and celebration. Singing was an expression of love and thanks, and it was a creative way to pass down oral traditions. Some say this song of Moses is the oldest recorded song in the world. It was a festive epic poem celebrating God's victory, lifting the hearts and voices of the people outward and upward. After having been delivered from great danger, they sang with joy! Psalms and hymns can be great ways to express relief, praise, and thanks when you have been through trouble.

The Songs of Moses and Miriam are marvelous pictures of joy and praise, the celebration of God's mighty deeds, and the people's hallelujah to God's delivering mercy. Three days have passed now, THREE DAYS from singing their hearts out about God's faithfulness, and they have come to Marah. They are weary, despite the exhilaration they have so recently experienced. They are thirsty, but the water they have found is bitter.

The water in the oasis of Marah is contrasted with the springs in the oasis of Elim. Marah stands for the unbelieving, grumbling attitude of the people who would not trust God. Elim stands for God's bountiful provision. How easy it is to grumble and complain too quickly, only to be embarrassed by God's help! We must be patient for God's kindness and help. Don't let your negative attitude erode your trust in God.


I am always amazed as I read this encounter of how in three days the Israelites went from shouting, singing, declaring the goodness of God and spreading the news far and wide about the goodness of God to complaining against God and wondering if He had forgotten them. You see my friends, they are STILL declaring something about God far and wide but it isn't the goodness of God they are declaring, but they are now questioning God's goodness. Exodus 16:2-3 "The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness." How quickly we forget.

As the Israelites encountered danger, shortages, and inconvenience, they complained bitterly and longed to be back in Egypt. But as always, God provided for their needs. Difficult circumstances often lead to stress, and complaining is a natural response. The Israelites didn't really want to be back in Egypt; they just wanted life to get a little easier. In the pressure of the moment, they could not focus on the cause of their stress (in this case, lack of trust in God); they could only think about the quickest way of escape. When pressure comes your way, resist the temptation to make a quick escape. Instead, focus on God's power and wisdom to help you deal with the cause of your stress. Remember that, "I am too blessed to stay stressed!"

The question I felt the Holy Spirit as me today is, "What are you spreading NOW about God?" His goodness, faithfulness, strength and salvation? Or how mistreated you feel? People are watching and listening to what we are declaring. They are making up their minds about our God by watching and listening to us. I will think very carefully today with everything I say and do because I am spreading news about God far and wide...one way or the other. Which way will it be today?


"Lord, I am so thankful for your faithfulness, goodness, strength, salvation, and for being a fighter for me. It is easy to declare loudly and excitedly Your goodness when things are going well...when the Red Sea is parting and I am miraculously walking in Your victory. But when I go a couple of days with difficulty it is too easy to turn from blessing You to questioning You. For that I repent and am truly sorry. I will declare Your praise today because people You love dearly are watching and listening to me and making up their minds about You. I am will be one of Your Ambassadors today. In Jesus name, amen!"