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When Bitter Waters Are Made Sweet Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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July 21, 2021 1:00 am

When Bitter Waters Are Made Sweet Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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July 21, 2021 1:00 am

The grass is not always greener on the other side of the mountain—or the other side of the Red Sea. Once Israel left Egypt, the real troubles began. The long trek started, and the desert sand took its toll. Inevitably, life has its disappointments. In this message we discover strategies to triumph over them.

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One reason for us, looking to Jesus longer remember the grass is not always greener on the other side of the pyramid. Once Israel lived in Egypt.

The real troubles began the long trek starts in the desert sand takes its toll. Inevitably, life has its disappointments today strategies to win over the church in Chicago this morning to win with Dr. Sir was clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line after Luther. Many of us might not be happy to know that God can and does lead his people into the wilderness, rather than into a land of plenty day that's really true and I can't emphasize that enough for those who are listening today. The fact is that there are those who are in the desert and they probably think that they are out of God's will.

But God leads people into the desert as a matter fact is, will discover he leads people to bitter waters, but in the midst of that there is hope. I've written a book entitled getting closer to God is actually based on these messages.

Lessons from the life of Moses for a gift of any amount. It can be yours. Here's what you do go to RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 nine going to be giving you that contact info at the end of this message. For now I want you to just listen carefully as God leads the children of Israel into a very tight place. A place of disappointment and bitterness, but even there he is with them.

I think it's true to say is that the word disappointment is a word that is in all of our vocabularies.

In fact, the greater our dreams, the greater our visions.

The greater the possibility of deep and unrelenting bitterness and disappointment.

Sometimes it's disappointment because of people we expected better when we married, for better and for worse or for worse. We thought that there was going to be much better than there was worse so disappointment comes in those relationships. Sometimes there's also disappointment in the circumstances. I like to tell the story that is familiar to me because when I was a teacher at Moody Bible Institute many years ago as a young secretary. Her name was Debbie 21 years old bright girl bright young woman and very helpful and cheerful, but she had cancer and we were praying that the cancer would disappear and as she went into some very special treatments that was experimental at the time and and she recovered and she came back to work and we were just rejoicing.

We were so happy we were celebrating because Debbie was back and had a few months later the cancer return. She died at the age of 22 but I often thought to myself while that expectation. Why were we thinking to ourselves that this young woman would be healed. Why did God allow us to think that maybe this cancer would disappear because all those expectations did in her return to work. All that they did was heighten our hopes and make the disappointment even deeper and then sometimes were disappointed with God. I know a man whose wife gave birth to a stillborn child and he was so angry. He said God is worth no more than a plugged nickel chow mein. He was angry with God.

The bitterness of disappointment. The children of Israel experienced bitterness and heartache and disappointment they were going across the wilderness, they crossed the Red Sea got it done a miracle. They sang a wonderful song of redemption of hope and help an anticipation and their faith in God was high but how long does it take you to lose your faith in God. Will they were wandering in the desert and the Bible says they were very thirsty and they were free days without water. I'll tell you that's all that's a long time to be without water in a desert. As a matter fact if they hadn't had some water with them, most assuredly, they wouldn't have lived for three days so we can imagine the pressure we can imagine how angry they were and how frustrated they were. And then they come to an old way since this is in the fifth teen's chapter of the book of Exodus Exodus chapter 15.

If you have your Bibles turn with me because we are going to take three snapshots of Israel in the desert free quick pictures of them what they experienced in their bitter disappointment.

First of all we do discuss their bitter disappointment chapter 15 verse 22 then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea and they went into the wilderness of sure they went three days in the wilderness and found no water when they came to America they could not drink the water of merit because it was better therefore it was named America the people grumbled against Moses, saying, what shall we drink you can imagine at the mothers and fathers saying to their thirsty children just a little while just a little further. They didn't have the mild measurement in those days, but we would say just two more miles and where there will be able to drink and they get to the water and it is so bitter you say old, but no matter how thirsty, no matter how bitter it is you're so thirsty you'll drink it. No, you can't drink it, in fact, the very place where they came to is still known today. You can read about it in archaeological books and they will tell you that even there at that particular place.

The water is so brackish it is so bitter that you can't drink it so the children of Israel began to grumble at Moses and they began to complain. Why is it that you let us hear we might as well have stayed in Egypt and they begin to think to themselves is God with us, or isn't he now let me ask you why does God lead them to the place of eagerness the word Amera in Hebrew means better. That's why it was called NARA because of the bitterness. Why does God lead them there. Why all this anticipation and this deep disappointment. You'll notice that the text says in verse 25 that there the Lord tested them. It says in the last part of verse 25. There the Lord made for them a statute and rule and there he tested them, saying, if you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes and give ear to his commandments and keep all of his statutes. I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord God. God says I'm testing you to see what is in your heart. There is nothing that reveals our heart more clearly than a bitter experience a deep disappointment and so the children of Israel, they were concluding that God had abandoned them and their temptation was to pin all of their hopes on water to pin all of their hopes on the fulfillment of their thirst and and they just thought about it and of course they needed it. If they were going to live and they got there and the disappointment was very keen and very, very deep because they could not drink the water and thoughts as I'm finding out what's in your heart. So what is in your heart.

What is in my heart when we go through bitter experience. How do we handle disappointment do we see God, or do we not interestingly what the Lord would say to us is that God and your relationship to him is even more important than water on, says God says your relationship to me is more important than the immediate need and that is so pressing that if you don't have water you'll die. But I am even more important to you than that at the right hand of God. There are blessings for evermore. So the children of Israel experienced their deep, deep bitterness at NARA. There's a second snapshot that we should take of them.

And that is the unexpected surprise. The unexpected surprise. You'll notice that the Lord does not leave them. Moses cry is on to the Lord. Verse 25.

You'll notice that expression that occurs so often in the Old Testament, particularly factors a book, but written to show that crying onto the Lord is even different than praying when we pray we are so formal.

We ask God for certain requests we say certain things about God, we give him glory. And that is certainly proper and right, but when you cry unto the Lord, then your desperate you're saying God if you don't intervene here where in trouble.

I mean, you think of Moses, 2 million people lured first state. All of them blaming him for the heat of the desert and so Moses cries up to God. Earlier we noticed that when he crossed the Red Sea cry to the Lord God to intervene. It's a sign of desperation and God loves desperate people see only desperate people pray one of the reasons that we find that so few people attend a prayer meeting is because they are desperate, or maybe they think to themselves, even if I prayed. Prayer wouldn't change anything. So it's either lack of desperation or unbelief, but but Moses cries to the Lord in faith and the Lord shows him some thing the Lord opened his eyes and showed him a law or a piece of wood.

Some translations say, a tree, and he threw it into the water and the bitter water became sweet. Now, after he threw the log into the water. He probably invited Israel to drink and you can imagine all the skeptics saying it's just as bitter as it ever was. How can a log being thrown into the water. Change anything. So those of you who have a scientific bent. I need to ask you what is the connection between the throwing that log into the water and the bitter water turning sweet answer is there's no scientific connection, I sometimes people of thought, well, you know, this log had certain properties and it neutralized the poison we can't even begin to go there because there's no way that you could take this particular always says that is so bitter and make it sweet one long do it even if it had these nutrients, God did a miracle and God says Moses you obey me and you. Trust me, and the circumstances of life will become more favorable, and I will meet your needs. So there.

God met the needs of the people and everyone had water to drink. You can imagine what this did to the large crowd the spirits of everyone were revived and they began to believe in Moses again. They began to trust in God. Again, they began to remember the faithfulness of God. In the past and they they realize that God is a big God is a God of miracles. He can take the bitter experiences of life and he can make them sweet and sometimes what he does is he changes the circumstances and sometimes he changes our hearts in such a way to accept those circumstances so that even if the circumstances don't change our hearts change and we realize that there is a blessing in the place of bitterness that happens often, particularly to those who trust him and crapped him one day there was a teenage girl, unmarried, who bore a child bitter experience bitter experience for her bitter experience for the family you go through all that is involved in having a child under those circumstances and God enabled her to take care of the child and nurture him and eventually he became part of a family and today he's a spiritual leader. I happen to know who I'm talking about who's who's well-known whose preaching the gospel in sharing the good news to multitudes isn't that good of God.

I mean he can take the bitter experiences of life and from that bitterness he can indeed bring blessing God does that, you may be here today with a different kind of the bitter experience may be a marriage gone bad. Sometimes difficult to see sweetness and that though I've noticed that to those who are faithful and those who cried to God and those who receive it as a test from his hand.

Even the mayor of the bad or even failed marriage is not fatal because God is there taking the bitterness and mixing it with sweetness and blessing. Don't ever estimate God's ability to take the bitter experiences and make them a blessing God's in the business of doing that all the time he's taking people like all the rest of us with all of our sins and failures and and he's using us and he's blessing us in spite of ourselves. That's the grace of God. There's 1/3 experience that the Israelites had and that was of course the lessons the unforgettable lesson the unforgettable lessons that God intended.

And I've already hinted at the major lesson is God's intention that these experiences not make us better, but make us better through it all, God leads us, God directs us.

God guides us and in the end we come out being especially blessed and better. One day a man by the name of Job had a terrible terrible experience. Some the news came from different parts of the land and all of the news was bad, he lost his cattle. He lost 10 children in a wind storm and his wife. God bless, Mrs. Joe, let's not be critical of her but she did say curse God and die.

She said to her husband. Maybe she said that to them because she couldn't she couldn't endure his bitterness.

Just imagine 10 fresh graves on a hillside all in one day and so he's going through this and he's crying up to God and he's wrestling with it, but but Job didn't turn out bitter.

It was a bitter experience, but he turned out better and he said the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord you read the rest of the book of Job with all of those speeches that are going on all of the trouble that Job was experiencing his friends who didn't encourage him, but can damn them, but you read the end of the book of Job was a blast.

Don't ever accept bitterness.

Just as bitterness. I didn't intend to tell the story.

So I'm going to do it from memory and see if it comes out right right that's the agreement if it comes out wrong, you'll know I shouldn't of started to tell it but it's coming to mind. You know the neurons don't fire quite as quickly as they used to.

There was a Chinese man who owned a horse and the son and one day the boy was riding the horse and the horse through the boy off and the boy broke his leg so all of the man's friends gathered together and they said we want to comfort you regarding the evil that has befallen you the man said how do you know that this is evil, and then later on the some soldiers came through the countryside and they were looking for young men to go to war and they looked at his son and realize that he wasn't fit for battle and so they they allowed him to be to stay at home all of the men's friends gathered and they said we want to comfort you regarding the good that is happened to you and he said how do you know that this is good.

Well, the story goes on and on like that.

The point is this that we as Christians don't evaluate things simply on the basis of the immediate because we believe in a God who works all things to gather for good to those who love him. Even the bitter experiences can be used for blessing and to make us better Job learned that and we have to learn it as well. God always remain sweet and I presence there is fullness of joy by right hand there are pleasures forevermore and Jesus invites us to the living water that sustains us as we go through the difficult experiences of life will my friend, this is Pastor Luther and the story that I began to tell but obviously didn't remember had to do with the fact that later on it turned out that his son's staying home appeared to be good, but then it turned out differently and on and on.

The story goes, but let's not miss the point we don't evaluate things superficially do we you may be at your marrow today. Bitter water and right there. God can make it sweet, he can make it bearable. You know, the apostle Paul had that experience of the thorn in the flesh, and God says I'm not taking it away, but my grace is sufficient for you, and I think that what we learn from the life of Moses is that despite the ups and downs of life, God is there with us and that's my encouragement to you today. I've written a book entitled getting closer to God. Lessons from the life of Moses. It contains the content of these messages for a gift of any amount. It can be yours and then you can have the book you can underline it. You can share it with your friends.

We make these resources available for you to help you in your spiritual growth. Here is what you can do. Go to RTW Of course, RTW offers all one word RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 now perhaps I said that to quickly hope that you are able to get a pencil because I'm going to give you that contact info again. You can go to RTW or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 ask for the book entitled getting closer to God. Lessons from the life of Moses. Time now for another chance for you to ask faster, looser question about the Bible or the Christian life.

Many wonder if the sun will ever shine again in their lives. One anonymous listener wrote asking this at what point does the shame of our past go away so we can be the person that we want to be how and when can that happen.

Do we know when it happens on my friend you've asked a number of questions and I want to respond to them very briefly just to encourage you remember this when Jesus died on the cross he shamed shame as we read in the book of Hebrews. He himself bore our shame, you don't have to be a victim of shame. You know Shane means that we fear exposure will you are exposed to God and he accepts you and he loves you as his child. So, in light of the fact that you are loved by God. You don't need to think that somehow you need to wallow in the shame. Shame is something that Tim may be brought about because of something we do, but in my experience, it is often brought about because of what parents do to children. It's not all our fault. Shame often times is imposed by parents who shame their children or the child is brought up in an environment where there has to be complete silence about addiction and abuse God wants you to move beyond that you asked the question, do you know when it happens. Well, I think it happens incrementally. I don't think that there is just one big transition from a life of shame to non-shame, but there is growth there is a recognition that shame does not have to debilitate us has Shane humiliated you and humiliated Jesus has Shane been kind of scorn that you feel people of had toward you. Jesus experienced it come to the cross deal with your shame, but move on beyond it to a life of hope and encouragement, and if the shame returns you return to the cross where you affirm that Jesus bore it for you.

A word of wise counsel from Dr. Erwin lutes are. Thank you Dr. lutes are if you'd like to hear your question answered. Go to our and click on ask Pastor Luther or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. Salem Blvd., Chicago, IL 60614.

Attest to focus the test of faith. Today, Dr. Erwin lutes are part one of winning over disappointment. The seventh in a series of 12 messages about the life and times of Moses, a man getting closer to God. Next time more on bitter waters becoming sweet for Dr. Erwin looser, this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church

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