When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt through the Red Sea, he led them by a cloud during the day and by a pillar of fire at night. They would stop when the cloud stopped and move when the cloud moved. God determined their stops and starts and the length of time they stayed at any place.
Once they passed through the Red Sea and had victory over the Egyptian army, their first stop was Marah because the cloud stopped there. If you examine the passage, you will find that some distance away from Marah was Elim, which had 70 palm trees and 12 wells of water. However, the cloud did not lead them to Elim, but stopped at Marah. Marah was a place where the water was bitter and the people could not drink the water there. They began to grumble and complain. Notice that God did not lead them out of Marah but gave them a solution to deal with the bitter waters. He transformed the bitter waters into sweet waters so that the people could quench their thirst.
Ever wondered why the cloud stopped at Marah?
1. If the cloud had not stopped at Marah, the waters of Marah would have remained bitter for ever. Had it not been that God’s people were in need, the waters of Marah would never have been healed.
2. God chose to keep them in the situation and change the situation rather than take them out of it.
3. God healed the waters and revealed himself as the Healer. In fact, he promised them that He would keep them in divine health by not permitting the diseases of Egypt to come upon them. They needed to see God as the Healer because they had a long journey ahead through the desert.
4. God showed up in the midst of the trying situation. It was his responsibility not just to lead them out of Egypt but to take them to Canaan and he was not about to let them die. His faithfulness was on the line.
5. Marah was not the final destination. Canaan was the final destination; therefore anything that they encountered prior to entering Canaan was only temporary.
Has the cloud of God’s guidance in your life brought you to Marah? You find the waters of your circumstances bitter and are famishing due to thirst. God could have led you straight through to Elim, but he chose to bring you to Marah. Maybe it is your job, or your health or adversaries or lack that is causing the water to be bitter. Maybe it is unanswered prayer for a loved one or a trying circumstance or persecution or an unsaved spouse.
Be of good cheer! God, who has led you thus far, isn’t about to give up, nor will he let you die. He will show up, reveal himself to you in a new way and change your circumstances. Your situation is only temporary; your final destination is Christlikeness, blessing, health, power, victory and later, the presence of God in heaven itself.
The God who called you is faithful and He will sanctify you completely; and keep your whole spirit, soul and body blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.