The Red Sea, Marah, And Elim
This week, The Milwaukee Courier welcomes back its column, Pulpit News and Pews, By Mercedes Neddle, where we feature sermons and information from area pastors weekly. This week’s featured church is New Testament Church and the sermon comes from Pastor Julius R. Malone.
Sermon by Pastor-Teacher, Julius R. Malone
Red Seas are those obstacles we encounter in life for which we see no solution. Marahs are the bitter experiences we face in life. Marahs may occur after we have seen God’s delivering power. Elims are those sweet moments in life when all is well.
Through Moses God led His people to all three places (cf. Ex. 13:17, 18, 21, 22; 14:1-2; 15:22-23, 27).
The people were not out of the will of God. They camped at the Red Sea in obedience to the word of God (cf. Ex. 14:1-2). Red Seas and Marahs do not always mean we are out of the will of God.
No one is exempt from Red Seas and Marahs (Ps. 34:19; John 16:33; 1 Pet. 4:12; 5:10). Job, Joseph, Jeremiah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, our Lord Jesus, and many others experienced trials or Red Seas and Marahs.
Some Reasons For Red Seas And Marahs (Ex. 14:10, 15; 15:25):
First, God may permit Red Seas and Marahs to draw us to Himself. Many in the Bible were drawn to Jesus because of problems. Some examples are the leper (Matt. 8:1-3), Jairus (Matt. 9:18), the Syrophenician mother (Matt. 15:21-28). Although trials may drive some, they are frequently used by God to draw.
Second, God may use Red Seas and Marahs to deliver you from that which held you captive (Ex. 14:13-14).
Third, God may use Red Seas and Marahs to disclose His glory (Ex. 14:3-4, 17-18, 31). Remember God does everything for His glory and for our good (cf. Ps. 19:1; Isa. 43:7; 1 Pet. 2:9). We should do everything with God’s glory in mind (1 Cor. 10:31).
God may also test us to disclose us to ourselves. The lack of faith of many was disclosed at The Red Sea and at Marah (Ex. 14:11-12; 15:25).
Fourth, God may use Red Seas and Marahs to develop us (Ex. 14:31). James tells us that trials produce patience (James 1:2-4). Paul tells us that God comforts us in all of our afflictions to develop us into comforters of others (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Peter tells us, “After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation (1 Pet. 5:10, New Living Translation).
Reactions To Red Seas And Marahs:
First, the people complained because they lost their focus on God Who was with them on the journey in a pillar of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Ex. 13:21-22; 14:11-12; 15:23-24).
Second, Moses reacted with prayer. In response to the prayer of Moses, God made the bitter waters sweet at Marah, and God led the people to Elim, which was an oasis in the desert (Ex. 15:24-27).
How To Respond To Red Seas And Marahs:
First, pray (Ex. 14:15; 15:25; cf. Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Thess. 5:17). Second, keep your focus on God (cf. Heb. 12:2). Third, remember God has purposes for every Red Sea and every Marah. Fourth, when God is leading, there will be Red Seas, Marahs, and Elims on the journey. Fifth, when you are at a Red Sea or Marah, remember: There is a termination date on Red Seas and Marahs (cf. Ps. 30:5; 34:19; 1 Pet. 5:10). If you are in the will of God and are obeying the Word of God, there is an Elim ahead. Observe that God did not leave His people at any one of the three places.
Julius R. Malone