Exodus 15: 22-25
So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet.
The things we love are the things that make us happy. Seeing the love of God through Jesus in the Bible not only brings happiness but it brings a joy to the soul, an inner contentment that is independent of circumstance, often bringing a smile with it. The thoughts that bring a feeling of disappointment and bitterness for the things we condemn ourselves for or due to another’s actions can all too quickly suck the life and happiness out of us.
In Colossians 2 Paul explains that shadows of Jesus are hidden in the Old Testament with the substance of Christ being revealed in the New Testament. The tree in the passage above from the Old Testament that God told Moses to throw into the bitter water is a shadow of the cross. The cross is the sure, reliable foundation that we can keep coming back to that will make the bitter waters of our life sweet again.
Hebrews 12: 14-15
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble,
Waking to ‘happiness-draining’ thoughts after a not so restful sleep with the word, ‘disenfranchisement’ swirling around my mind, I did my best to put these thoughts aside and focus again on better things. As I sat at a café reading about the sacrifices God explained to Moses would give the Israelites a way out of having to receive curses from the law, a little girl in a floral pink dress was eyeing the cakes in front of me with her Dad. I couldn’t help but smile and for some reason I instantly thought of pink ice cream. I didn’t see what she chose to eat but the combination of the sweetness around me and on the pages I was reading that really show the sweetness of God’s heart, I felt my heart relax and the bitter thoughts melt.
In Hebrews 12 above, walking outside of the grace of God causes a root of bitterness to spring up in our lives.1 Whilst it is often so easy to walk outside the grace of God and therefore into bitterness, the Bible says the amount of grace that we can find in Christ to counter all bitterness is so much greater. In Ephesians 3:8 it says the riches of Christ are unsearchable, meaning we will never know enough about how far and how rich the grace of Jesus extends over us. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross on our behalf, God can extend all the sweetness in His heart towards us that He wants!
Psalm 139: 17-18
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand
And He will love you and bless you…
Isaiah 58: 8
The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Matthew 10: 29-30
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
There is therefore NOW no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus
Bitter thoughts may come and tempt us into anger and resentment, but we can remember God’s sweetness towards us in these moments. He doesn’t condemn us. Right NOW in the moment of any bad thought and sin, there is NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. This is the sweetness of God’s grace.
The different facets of God’s personality and character and the riches of His grace that are unsearchable are an inexhaustible list. Let us continue in the grace of God and receive His love melting all our bitterness; for His thoughts are precious towards us, they are innumerable. He loves, blesses and watches over us, even knowing how many hairs are on our heads! God bless you.
1. How Believers Fall from grace. Joseph Prince 2011.