The contents of Exodus were
so dramatic they were mentioned more than 140 times in the
rest of the Old Testament. When Christ came to earth, He
repeatedly claimed that the writings of Moses were full
of references to Him. In the Book of Acts, more than a third
of Stephen's speech, leading to his martyrdom, was devoted
to events in the Book of Exodus. The Book of Hebrews shows
us how the signs and symbols of Exodus pointed toward Jesus
Christ. We also know from church history that there are
over 450 references to the Book of Exodus in the extant
writings of the early Church Fathers of the first two centuries
following the original apostles. All of history has been
mesmerized by the dramatic nature of this book-the birth
of Moses, the bondage of the Hebrews, the plagues that fell
on Egypt, the slaying of the Passover lamb, the deliverance
from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the giving of the
Ten Commandments, and the building of the Tabernacle.
In many of the Exodus events
and miracles, we can see Jesus Christ. One commentator wrote:
"With regard to God's dealings with Israel between
Egypt and Canaan, every miracle He performed on their behalf
provided a fresh type of Christ." Today's passage gives
us a poignant example of that.
1. The Test.
In the first part of Exodus 15, the people were rejoicing
over their miraculous crossing through the Red Sea. In the
last part of the chapter they were again trapped, this time
in a waterless desert. Why would God deliver them through
parted waters only to allow them to suffer from lack of
water in the desert?
Can you imagine hundreds of
thousands of people wandering in the desert for three days
with absolutely no water for their animals, their children,
or themselves? But it was even worse than that.
Just when they thought they
were goners, someone near the front shouted, "Water
ahead!" With an enfeebled burst of energy, the hoards
of Israel bolted toward the lake, tongues hanging out, cups
ready, children eager to lap up the cool, life-sustaining
Imagine their disappointment
when the first ones there spewed the water out, faces filled
with disgust. The water was brackish, salty, and undrinkable.
The disappointment was staggering.
Why did God map out such a
route? Why would He allow such a terrible disappointment?
The answer is hidden away in a little phrase in the last
part of verse 25. Notice these four words: There
He tested them.
The Bible says that God sometimes
tests us. He puts us in difficult or perplexing situations
to see if we've learned anything from past experiences.
He wants to develop and mature us to see what we're made
of spiritually, and to develop our faith (1 Chron. 29:17;
Prov. 17:3; Ezek. 21:13).
Tree. The people failed the test. Instead of trusting
God, they grumbled against the Lord. But when Moses cried
out to the Lord, "the Lord showed him a tree. When
he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet"
(verse 25). Why a tree?
As missionary Amy Carmichael
said, "We all know what the Tree means. Nothing less
than the powers of Calvary can turn our bitter waters into
The tree in Exodus 15 was a
prophecy, a type or symbol of the Cross of Calvary that
turns the waters of our lives from bitter to blessed. Acts
5:30 says that Jesus was killed by being hanged on a tree.
Galatians 3:13, referring to Christ, says, "Cursed
is everyone who is hung on a tree."
First Peter 2:24 says, "(He)
Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that
we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness."
The Cross of Christ turns our
bitterest moments into blessings. It is the Cross of the
Lord Jesus Christ, like a tree thrown into a toxic pool,
that transforms the waters of our lives into sweet, optimistic
The Bible says that God gives
us beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Isa.
Perhaps today you need the
Cross of Christ in your life. You need the power of the
death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus to transform your
bitter ponds. It is the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ that
transforms, that redeems, that turns our bitter lives into
O, can it be, upon a tree,
The Savior died for me?
My soul is thrilled, my heart is filled,
To think He died for me!