by Frans Bakker
And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? —Exodus 15:24
The waters of Marah were bitter. The purpose of that was that the people would not only learn to be dependent, but also that they would acknowledge their own sinful existence. They would learn that in the wilderness of affliction. When all things go well, then it seems that there is no enmity against God in the heart, but when things do not go well, one can be so frightened of himself because of the enmity against God erupting from his heart. This was the case with the people of Israel.
A few days prior to this affliction at Marah, the Lord had delivered them from Egypt’s house of bondage, and now they stand with clenched fists lifted up to heaven. But this is not done openly, for a religious man does not dare to do this so quickly. Instead, they murmur against Moses. All their troubles are Moses’ fault. When things go wrong in our life, we can so easily blame other people. But at the heart of the matter, it is nothing else but murmuring against God Almighty.
Do not judge now that the majority of the people of Israel were unconverted because a converted person can have the same inward wickedness. Those who are converted are not complete. They may think, along with the people of Israel, that after their conversion everything will be joyful. But they have to learn to know themselves as helpless ones who are still filled with enmity against God. They have to realize that they would never have arrived in Canaan if the Lord in His sovereign grace had not drawn them. At the same time they must learn to know the Lord as a God who has not only drawn them, but also as a God who in His faithfulness holds on to them, even when they become unfaithful. If God would draw them but not hold on to them, it would still be a lost case for them. No one is, therefore, finished with his initial conversion, for after the initial conversion the daily conversion starts. Do you understand these matters?
From The Everlasting Word by Frans Bakker, compiled and translated by Gerald R. Procee. Reformation Heritage Books and Free Reformed Publications, 2007. Used by permission. For further information, click here.