Healthy Mind and Body
Loving Father, the way to You can be through the gateway of praise. All honor and praise to You, wondrous God.
Read Exodus 15:19-27
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Our God is Lord over all. He can accomplish his purposes through means or through direct intervention. Either way, we need to give him all the glory.
What a sharp contrast this passage contains! It begins in public celebration. Miriam has a ministry as a prophet, bringing the word of God to the hearts and minds of people. Here she leads a dance, encouraging bodies to respond in joyful excitement at God’s rescue. A few days later the mood of the people comes crashing down. Trudging through desert, they have exhausted their supply of water. Hopes rise as they see a pool ahead of them, then fall again as it proves too bitter to drink.
There is a mystery about the piece of wood used to sweeten the water (25). Maybe Moses is performing a purely symbolic action, reminiscent of the plague where the water of Egypt was undrinkable (7:14-20), while God is performing a miracle. Or maybe Moses, with years of desert experience, knew about some property of trees: God guides him to the right branch and chemistry does the rest. Either way it was a sign of God’s provision which the people could recall and wonder at in the comfort of the next oasis with its springs and shady palms (27).
Linked to this sign comes some teaching. The people are firmly reminded to pay attention to God’s words and look for what is right in God’s eyes (26). Morality based on “doing what is right in your own eyes” is a recipe for gradual deterioration of the community, as the book of Judges demonstrates (Judg. 17:6,21,25, NRSV), God’s law, when it unfolds at Sinai, will cover things to do with physical health and hygiene as well as health of mind and spirit. The Lord is our healer (26), but a great deal of his healing work is mediated through life in a healthy and law-abiding community.
What recent experience of “sourness becoming sweetness” have you had? What lessons did you learn? In verse 26 God makes a promise: what promises has he specifically made to you?
Mighty God, I celebrate Your power and might. You are a turn-around God, full of endless surprises. I ask for patience as I wait on Your hand on my life.
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