Bitter Made Sweet

Bitter Made Sweet

<Ex 15> 22 Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the Lord made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them, 26 saying, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, your healer.”

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they encamped there by the water.


Bitter water.

  • Thought found something good, but it’s disappointing.
  • Perplexed: even when follow God, still get bitter water?
  • Bitter water that God let us taste is better than deceitful sweetness of sins.
  • God led them to the bitter water; it was not by chance.
  • So won’t take grace for granted.
  • At Marah, God showed them a miracle; in Elim there was none.
  • God’s gives sufficient grace to sweeten bitter trials.
    • Naomi’s example.


God brought the Israelites to Marah to test them.

  • God doesn’t design tests to fail us.
  • But so His people understand their own weakness and sinful nature, and recognize their need for Him.
  • Trials reveal what is in our hearts better than good days.
  • Faith of the people still weak, takes time and many trials for them to build their trust in God.
  • Test reveals how much of our old self is still in us.


“I am the Lord, your Healer.” <v26>

  • Jehovah Rapha.
  • God will do to His people what He did to the bitter water.
  • God can heal us spiritually.
  • From bitter and foul sinful nature to Christ’s aroma.
  • <2 Co 2> 14b …uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life


God’s gracious providence.

  • Pairs of contrasts [can put in table]:
    • Beginning: ‘no water’ VS End: ‘abundant water’
    • Bitter water VS Sweet water
    • Israelites’ grumbling VS God’s grace in sweet and abundant waters
    • Egypt’s plagues VS God’s promise not to let the same fall on Israel if they obey Him
  • God’s grace especially amplified by His people’s sinful grumbling.
  • In His providence, God sometimes led His people to bitter, or sweet, or abundant
  • Circumstances may change, but God’s grace never changes.
  • We need both Marah and Elim moments.



  1. If God tests your faith today, how will He find it? How can you pass the test better than the Israelites?
  2. Have you ever experienced God making bitter trials sweet for you? Pls share.
  3. How has God been healing your sinful nature and sweeten your life with the aroma of Christ?
Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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