Exodus 15:23

Robert Hawker

My soul! let thine imagination take wing, and flee thou, this evening, beside" the waters of Marah;" and while thou sittest down by the stream, see whether thou wilt be able to gather some of the many improving lessons the Holy Ghost brings before the church, concerning that memorable transaction wrought there for Israel. We read in the history of that people, that they had just before sung the song of salvation, on the borders of the Red Sea, when Israel saw that great sight, themselves redeemed, and the enemy swallowed up; and they were now on their march toward the promised land. Three days they had travelled into the wilderness, and found no water; and when they came to Marah, though water was there in abundance, yet they could not drink of it, for it was bitter. In this situation they cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed the people a tree, which when east into the waters made them sweet. Such are the outlines of the history. Pause, now, my soul, and see what improving reflections thou canst gather from it. The Lord thy God hath brought thee also out of spiritual Egypt, he hath led thee through a new and living way, even the red sea of Christ's blood; and thou hast begun thy song of salvation also, to God and the Lamb. But when, like Israel, he is bringing thee through the wilderness, where dispensations suited to a wilderness may be supposed to abound; how art thou manifesting thy faith and submission? Reader, what is your answer to such a question? Methinks I would hope better things of you, than I dare say of myself. But I too often find, when the waters of life are like the waters of Marah; when what I proposed for my comfort turns out to my sorrow, and I discover a worm in the very bud of some sweet flower I have been rearing up for myself with great care; I feel rebellion rising within. I blush even now in the recollection of how often I have been tempted to call in question the divine faithfulness, and, like Israel, have taken offence, at some little difficulty I have met with, which afterwards I have discovered, was purposely put there by the Lord himself, to manifest his watchfulness over me, and how sure my dependence upon him might have been placed. Reader! doth your heart find but too much correspondence to this state of mine? Let us both then do as Israel did, when at any time our waters are like the waters of Marah, cry unto the Lord. Let us put the cross of Jesus into the stream, be it what it may, (for that is the tree which the Lord sheweth his people,) and never doubt, but Jesus's cross, though to him more bitter than gall, yet to us will prove the sweetener of all our crosses. Yes! thou dear Lord! thou didst drink the cup of trembling even to the dregs, that in the view of it, thy redeemed might take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. Thy cross, if cast into a sea of trouble, will alter the very properties of affliction to all thy tried ones. In every place, and in every state, while my soul is enabled to keep thee in remembrance, and "thy wormwood, and thy gall;" the wilderness of all my dispensations will smile, and blossom as the rose. I shall then learn to bless a taking God, as well as a giving God, for both are alike from the overflowings of thy mercy; and, like the apostle, I shall then have learnt the blessedness of that state, "to glory in tribulation, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."


Robert Hawker

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