Life is a mixture of experiences - some sweet and some bitter. The Bible abounds in examples and stories of people, and it tells us that without faith we can never please God. We must learn how to trust Him, and trust is developed in private, but it's always shown up in difficult experiences we have in life. So difficulties are an opportunity for us to grow because they reveal our heart condition.
How many thought, as a Christian, you thought that things would all work out easy, and go well for you aye? [Laughs] How many found it didn't work out like that at all? Quite disappointing at times, so let's have a read, and I want us to read in Exodus, Chapter 15 in Verse 22: so Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out to the Wilderness of Shur, and they had three days in the desert without any water. That's pretty tough isn't it aye?
The Bible abounds in examples and stories of people, and it tells us that without faith we can never please God. We must learn how to trust Him; and trust is developed in private, but it's always shown up in difficult experiences we have in life. He says: they came to the waters of Marah, in other words they found some water, but they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. That's why they called the name of it Marah, which means bitter. And the people complained against Moses, saying: what do we drink? And 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; and there He made a statute and an ordinance, and there He tested them. So this was a test. This was something God was using to grow and develop them.
He said: if you diligently head to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give air to His commandments and keep His statutes, I'll put none of the diseases on you, which I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord which heals you.
So the first thing to see, life is a mixture of experiences - some sweet and some bitter. These people had just seen one of the most amazing miracles of God. They were being pursued by an army, and they saw as Moses lifted his rod up, they saw a wind come up that parted the waters; and then as they crossed over those waters, the waters collapsed; and all the soldiers, who had held their life in slavery for hundreds of years, were destroyed. So they saw this tremendous - isn't that a great experience of God - and they tasted freedom, and it was sweet. Then three days later they're burned out, and drying out in the desert; there's no water, no supply, tongues sticking to the roof of their mouths.
So it's like on one hand they had this tremendous experience, and you would think hey, God has done this for me. I expect Him to treat me real well, and next thing you know they're in this very, very difficult situation. It's true in our life, we can have great experiences with God in a meeting, or great breakthrough with God in our life, but then it's followed by an unexpected disappointment, setback or difficulty, and this is pretty challenging. You ever been without anything to drink for a day? Imagine being in the sun, the blazing sun for three days, and you've got no water, and then finally the water you get, it tastes bitter. You can see that water. They probably broke into a run. They all ran to the water. They get in the water, start slopping it up and aarrgh! spitting it out like that.
So what they had was a bitter experience, a disappointing experience. I wonder how many of you tonight have faced an experience which was quite disappointing, that was quite a bitter experience, something that happened that actually was like a setback in your life. You never expected something like that would happen. Often we find that we have these experiences, they just come into our life unexpectedly; but here's the second thing. Difficulties are always an opportunity for you to grow, so currently some of you may be facing a difficult experience, a difficult season or experience. You may be in a relationship, maybe a financial issue, it may be a personal issue, or it may be just a season you're going through, a lot of difficulty in your life. You pray, and it doesn't seem like God comes through for you. It's what's called a bitter experience.