Marah was a place of bitter water in the desert. Elim was a place of oasis with springs of fresh water and palm trees. God desires for us to move from the place of struggle and bitterness toward the promise of Elim. Will we listen to him and honour his words?
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.
When God led Israel through the desert, they came to Marah, where the water was bitter. The people complained to Moses and God responded in two ways: he purified the water, and he told the people if they listened to God and honoured his commands, God would spare them of disease and heal them.
There is a definite positive relationship in the Bible between following God closely and the blessing of God. We often do not view God as disciplinarian in the church today, yet the Bible is clear in the stories of Israel that the closer we walk with him the better our lives will go.
This isn’t prosperity teaching – God will not make us all millionaires if we have more faith and greater obedience. God will, however, bless his people according to his good pleasure and will when we follow him.
And then they came to Elim. Why Elim? Why then? Elim was an oasis. It was a refreshing haven with twelve springs and seventy palm trees. We can imagine how it compared to Marah – the place of bitterness. Why Elim? Why then?
I wondered at first if the people of God responded to the conversation at Marah and whether Elim was a blessing in return. I don’t see that, though. I see God stopping them at Elim to give them a taste of the good life. Here’s an example, people. This is the fruit of trusting me fully.
Elim is a motivation to trust and follow God.
Do you need an Elim? Has it been all Marah all week? Listen to God, and honour what he commands. With perseverance and conviction, do not waver from honouring God. He will bring you to Elim in his timing. In his blessing.