Exodus 15:22-26 Ingratitude is the silent and insidious destroyer of the soul

Exodus 15:22-26 Ingratitude is the silent and insidious destroyer of the soul

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.

There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. 26 And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

Background

While en route to the promised land, Chapters 15 to 17 describe a series of temptations that God employed to test the people. Here, at the waters of Marah, the people upon discovering that the water is undrinkable murmured. They were so privileged, having been miraculously delivered at the Red Sea. But the dire circumstances had caused them to turn on Moses. Despite their ingratitude, God healed the waters and gave them an object lesson: obedience and gratitude brings blessings, and disobedience and ingratitude brings judgment. As we know it, ingratitude leads to further corruption preventing them from entering the promised land. Today’s devotion teaches us: Ingratitude is the silent and insidious destroyer of the soul.

Observation

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.

After experiencing a miraculous deliverance at sea, the Israelites entered the Desert of Shur. Travelling southward, the Israelites went without water for three days only to chance upon a body of water that is unpalatable. While their disappointment was understandable, their grumbling and ingratitude was not acceptable. The change in attitude is mind boggling in the light of their recent deliverance at the Red Sea. The bitter waters had very quickly caused them to forget God’s goodness causing them to impugn Moses. God responded to Moses’s cries by instructing him to toss a piece of wood into the water. This gesture like previous ones works in initiating angelic powers that made the water drinkable.

There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them.

By the waters of Marah, the Lord gave the people a warning, an object lesson that not all is smooth from hereon. If they do not obey the statutes, their life will be like the bitter waters of Marah, infested with diseases similar to what God has brought onto the Egyptians. But if they give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord, He will heal their diseases just like He healed the waters of Marah.

Truth

Ingratitude is the silent and insidious destroyer of the soul

The Lord, knowing full well of the dangers of ingratitude used the waters at Marah to test them. Indeed, they were found to be an ungrateful people who had only their self-interests at heart. Having forgotten all that Moses had done for them, they turned on Moses the moment they realised that the waters were undrinkable. The Lord healed the waters and made for them a statute in hopes of reforming their minds. Even as Moses delivered them out of Egypt, it became clear that he had to contend with an unthankful people, who will not hesitate to kill him to get what they want. For 40 years, the people murmured, being unthankful for the bread and meat they received daily without having to work for it. Soon the sin of ingratitude leads to irreparable corruption and they were prevented from entering the promised land. Scripture had made an example out of them that no immoral, ungrateful or discontent person can enter the kingdom of God.

Why is it important to be grateful and contented?

God has so designed creation to thrive when its inhabitants are humble, righteous and thankful. But when men become arrogant, unrighteous, and ungrateful, they are cut off from God and from all His blessings. So God commands in His word about being thankful reminding us to be grateful and contented at all times. As long as a person or people remain thankful to God, they retain a sensitivity, an access to His throne of grace. Thankfulness and contentment toward God requires faith to acknowledge Him as the sovereign Ruler and Provider of all things. A thankful person will say in his heart, “God’s grace is sufficient for me!” But when we are ungrateful or discontent toward God or others, we take for granted all that we possess and become our own gods. Jesus’s healing of the 10 lepers gives an example of how highly God values gratitude (see Luke 17:12-19). Of the 10 lepers Jesus healed, only one returned and he was not a Jew but a Samaritan. Jesus showed His disappointment at the ingratitude of the majority and asked, “Were not all 10 cleansed? Where are the other nine?” When God sees thankfulness and contentment, He releases even more grace.

Man’s moral condition in the last days

2 Timothy 3 describes man’s moral condition in the last days, and one characteristics is ingratitude and the other is greed (v.2). Many ministers encourage their members to ask God for all kinds of things without being contented or thankful for the things they already possessed. They complained about just having one car instead of two. Or that their house is too small as compared to their relatives’. Little do these ministers know that by preaching a prosperity gospel, they are spreading an insidious disease of ingratitude and greed among their members. Like the Israelites, such ministers and their followers will wither outside the kingdom of God.

Application

List the things that you currently possess that are most important for abundant living. E.g. health, a good child, faithful friends and a truthful church community. Begin by thanking God for these things. Thankfulness opens God’s hands to release even more grace into our lives.

Dear Lord, I thank you for giving me things that are crucial for abundant living. I do not ask you for more except for divine wisdom, and authority so that I can be a blessing to others. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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