The Berean Expositor
Volume 14 - Page 30 of 167
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Marah before Elim (Exod. 15: 23-27).
pp. 35 - 37
Stamped upon the whole course of the purpose of the ages is the lesson taught in our
title, Marah before Elim. It is found in the expressions "No cross, no crown", and
"Suffering before glory". Man was created a living soul, and was of the earth earthy. In
the resurrection man shall possess a spiritual body, and bear the image of the heavenly.
The earthly period of man's life is set in the school of experience and of the knowledge
of good and evil. Israel, as we have seen, went down into the bondage of Egypt before
they entered into possession of the promised land. In all cases, whether of creation,
Israel, church or individual, the remedy for all the ill is found in Christ.
As we read the song of Moses and the response of Miriam in Exod. 15:, we feel the
glow of triumph and the sense of victory. It is something in the nature of an anti-climax
that meets us in verse 22:--
"And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea . . . . . and they went three days into
the wilderness, and found no water."
We are conscious that such would be a severe test. Three days' journey in the vicinity
of the Red Sea without water would be well-nigh intolerable, and by the end of the third
day the sense of triumph that had burst forth into song became dimmed with the feelings
of mistrust:--
"And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they
were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured
against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?" (verses 23 and 24).
Here is the first murmuring of the people after leaving Egypt, a murmuring that was to
grow and produce the fearful fruits of unbelief:--
"The waters covered their enemies: there was not one of them left.
Then believed they His words: they sang His praise.
They soon forgat His works: they waited not for His counsel" (Psa. 106: 11-13).
Here in this Psalm the transition is as sudden as it is in Exod. 15: The scene of
Israel's failure at Marah is said to be the result of forgetfulness. As remembrance of the
bondage of Egypt and their deliverance from their enemies receded, so the sensual
remembrance of the land of bondage revived. This people, who so quickly "forgat" the
Lord, could say:--
"We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the
melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick" (Numb. 11: 5).
This "remembrance" is fatal to the overcomer. Those whose remembrance is thus
expressed perished in the wilderness. Lot's wife could not leave the doomed city without