Oh, how human we are! Praising one day and grumbling and bitter the next. The children of Israel were gloriously delivered out of Egypt by the mighty hand of God. There was singing and dancing and celebration. They even made the most wonderful proclamation, Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Their spirits are soaring like an eagle. God you are glorious. God you are a wonder working God Who deserves our praises.
And then we read that the providence of God leads them on a three day journey into a wilderness where there was no water. They eventually come to a body of water, stoop down to drink to quench their thirst, only to discover that the water was bitter and undrinkable. So do the people sing about God being glorious, and wonder working and deserving of our praises? No, they murmur against Moses! In reality, they are murmuring against The Lord.
Moses cries out to The Lord Who shows him a tree, which when cast into the bitter waters, they will become sweet. Now catch this next point beloved. God said to Moses that all of this was a test. Question, was it a test for God, or was it a test for His people? Obviously, the test was for God’s people. A couple of things come to mind here. What does grumbling or murmuring accomplish? It is verbal poison and dishonors the glory of God. Paul tells us that grumbling and murmuring was the cause of some of God’s people being destroyed. A murmuring disposition is a hallmark of an unconverted soul, according to Jude.
Lastly, what are we to do when the cup of the providence of God is one of bitterness? The writer to Hebrews tells us to beware of the troubling and defiling effect of bitterness. Is there any hope or help from God when I am drinking a cup of bitterness? Yes, there is a tree called Calvary. And on that tree, Jesus Christ bore the bitterness of sin, that we might drink the sweetness of His grace.
Beloved, life can be bitter at times. Life does not always seem “fair.” Just ask Asaph. But when you are in that place of bitterness, look to the tree of Calvary and drink the sweetness of God’s love and grace for you. The only cure for bitterness is the sweet cross of Jesus Christ. When the venom of bitterness assaults your soul beloved, apply the sweet tree of Calvary.