The Spirit of Marah (Bitterness)
On the third day when the Israelites journeyed back to Israel after their Exodus from Egypt, they found themselves at Marah, thirsty and out of water. There was a well there, but it was bitter. The Biblical account tells us in Exodus 15:23 (NASV):
“When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.”
So we learn that Marah means bitter in Hebrew. There is another time the word translated marah is used. It’s in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (NASB).
“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.”
The Hebrew word rebellious in this passage is the same word as the one used in the above scripture. Marah. (Ma-ra)
Stubborn in the Deuteronomy scripture above in Hebrew is sa-rar which means “to rebel; be stubborn, be refractory.”
According to Dictionary.com, refractory means “hard or impossible to manage; stubbornly disobedient. Difficult to fuse, reduce, or work as an ore or metal. A refractory is a place for making bricks of various shapes used in lining furnaces.”
In case we don’t get the flavor of the meaning, synonyms for refractory are “obstinate, perverse, mulish, headstrong, intractable, disobedient, recalcitrant, ungovernable, unruly.”
As I have observed the elections of 2016 and the days following the inauguration of President Trump, it seems to me this description of rebellious and stubborn seem to fit a lot of people in our nation.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not out to stone anyone but I do believe the Bible when it tells us in I Timothy 2:1-2 (NASB), “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
Perhaps we have neglected our first priority to pray for all people and for those who are in authority. I wonder how things would change in our nation and around the world if we obeyed God’s priorities in prayer. Could this spirit of Marah (bitterness and stubbornness) be rendered ineffective in our nation through prayer? Then we could work together as a nation with one mind and heart. It’s worth a try, what do you think?
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