“And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.”
Miriam died, and the emotions of Moses’ family was probably a little raw as well as the children of Israel. Though Miriam held no leadership title, it is clear through the Scriptures that she had influence in Israel. Though her death was no excuse for the next actions recorded in Scriptures, I’m sure they played some part in their erring actions.
Israel came to a place called, Meribah. Meribah was a place where there was no water for Israel to drink. Because there was no water, “…they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.” Israel allowed the lack of water to turn them bitter towards Moses and Aaron, but in all actuality, they were bitter at God for bringing them to a place they did not want to be. The bitter actions of these people are the same actions that cause people to become bitter in their life. Let me show you three things that led to Israel becoming bitter.
First, Israel looked backwards instead of looking forward. Israel seemed to always compare everything to Egypt. They forgot the bondage that Egypt brought; all they remembered were the few good things they had in Egypt instead of looking at what God had provided for them on a daily basis. You are sure to become bitter if you constantly live in the past. You cannot live with a backwards vision and have a forward life of faith. The backwards vision always looks at what you used to have instead of looking at what God has provided for you in the present. Always remember that a backwards vision is skewed; our minds tend to remember the good and forget the bondage we had in the past. My friend, if you constantly compare everything you have today to what you had in the past, you will miss God’s present blessings and become a bitter individual.
Second, Israel looked by sight and not by faith. Israel didn’t have the faith to believe that if God could provide manna every day, that He also could provide water. The faithless life always leads to a bitter spirit. You cannot enjoy the Christian life when you are walking by sight. The Christian life will only be enjoyed by faith. When you live by sight, you look for immediate rewards through material things and positions instead of living by faith and realizing that God will bless you at the Judgment Seat. The only way you will avoid bitterness is to live by faith.
Third, Israel looked at man and not God. It is interesting that every time Israel had a problem, they always blamed Moses for bringing them out of Egypt. My friend, God brought them out of Egypt, not Moses. Their focus on man always gave them a bitter spirit. If you live your life focused on man, you will soon be disappointed and become a bitter person. When you stay focused on God, you will never be disappointed because He always satisfies.
Christian, these three areas are all tied together. If you look backwards, you will live by sight and stay focused on man which will result in a bitter spirit. If you have a forward focus, you will have to live by faith which will force you to stay focused on Christ. It truly comes down to which way you are looking. Let me encourage you to have a forward vision of faith by staying focused on Christ; this focus will keep you living the victorious Christian life.