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Sunday, May 26, 2013

                  MOVE AWAY FROM YOUR MARAH

WHAT IS MARAH?
Marah is that which brings unfulfilment to your Christian life.  David said “Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again and shall bring me up again from the depths of the earth.  Thou shalt increase my greatness and comfort me on every side” (Ps. 71:20-21).  God wants to comfort every Christian on every side.  He wants to give you a full blessing.  But not every Christians are enjoying this.  Marah stops God from operating in your life to full capacity.
Marah is something that stops you from launching into the fullness of the blessings of God.  Marah is bitterness and everything about Marah is bitterness (Exo. 15:22-23).
Naomi had just returned to her Country (Bethlehem) after several years of staying in Moab.  Her fellow-citizens wondering at her accosted her and said ‘is this Naomi’?  Of course, they knew she was Naomi, after all she has not done plastic surgery.  But she replied out of the bitterness of her heart and said, call me not Naomi; call me Mara (Ruth 1:19-20).  The living bible translates Naomi as pleasant.  So Marah is that which brings unpleasantness to your life.  Marah blocks the vision of a man.  Marah stops you!  It hinders your growth in the Lord.
  
HOW DOES MARAH COME?
Marah can come through several means:
(1)    By your own doings.  If you fall into sin and you’ve repented whole-heartedly but you’re not sure God has forgiven you, you can dwell in Marah: you keep blaming yourself, and the spirit of self-pity keeps troubling you saying ‘Are you sure that God has really forgiven you?  And thus you’re moving round about in circles.
   
I sinned against the Lord during my undergraduate days in the University in 1992.  I repented sincerely and slept that night without being sure God has forgiven my grave sins.  God woke me up at about 3a.m. and I summoned up courage to go and praise the Lord.  Having praised God for about seventeen minutes on one of the fields on campus.  I opened my little Bible to render a song out of it, but I couldn’t read because of the darkness: the moon suddenly appeared in its full brightness shining directly on my Bible and me.  And as I was leaving the filed (having sung the song) the moon suddenly disappeared behind me.  Then God said to me “Unto the upright ariseth light in the darkness’ (Ps. 112:4a): That experience changed my life for better. But you need not see an angel before you believe his words! Be loosed from the grips of self-pity!  As long as you have confessed and forsaken your sins you can be sure God has forgiven you.  I
write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.  And I also have to let you know that God shall wound the head of his enemies and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses (1Jn. 2:12, Ps. 68:21).
   
God does not want His people to abide in Marah.  As recorded in Numbers 33 verses 1-8 paraphrased, you’ll discover the Israelites went out from Egypt with a high hand passing through Pihahiroth, Migdol and Etham.  When they afterwards got to Marah, they pitched there (Num. 33:8).  My friend, you need not pitch your tent in Marah if you know what Marah indicates.  God wants to move you away from Marah, because as long as you remain there, you will not be able to flow in the fullness of God’s blessings.  That’s why the bible says ‘Let all bitterness, and wrath, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice (Eph. 4:31).  If bitterness doesn’t have an ill effect upon you.  God will not put that Scripture there, okay.


(2)    Marah can also come as a result of your experiences in life.  May be your business is not moving fine.  Do you know God allows the devil to have his way at times to test our love for him?  My friend, are you serving God because of what you’re enjoying as a result of serving him?  God wants to try your heart! Some of you have failed examinations many times over. Oh yes, some of you have suffered seeing the death of your child; and you begin to wonder if this God is really worth serving. Listen to me, Habakuk’s joy was not based on what he was enjoying from God (Habk. 3:17-18). The psalmist also experienced contrary things as recorded in psalms chapter 44 and was so to say discouraged. But can you hear him say in verses 17 to 19 … our heart is not turned back. Neither have our steps declined from thy way. My friend. When things are working contrary will you draw back from following the Lord?


(3) Marah can also come through others.
Woe unto the World because of offences! For it must needs be that offence come: but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Mt.18: 7). Do you know that a lot of people have given themselves to the devil … even in the household of God (1 Tim. 5:15)? Judas Iscariot yielded himself to the devil to betray Jesus. Bible says in Luke chapter 22 verse 3 that ‘then entered Satan into Judas’…. Verse 4 says And he went his way, and communed with the Chief priests and Captains, how he might betray him unto them. Judas never thought about the repercussion of what he was going to do; he just jumped into it… as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life (Prov. 7:23). In the same vein, we have such people in the household of God. People who are sources of temptation to their brethren. Oh yes, there are people who lead brethren into Marah… right in the midst of the Church. Are you such a one my friend? God wants to move you from
that place. A sister who is a nurse/midwife by profession shared with me her bitter experience in the hands of her mother-in-law. This sister was pregnant and while carrying this pregnancy the old woman got angry with her. And for no just cause used her evil power to terminate the pregnancy of her daughter –in – law. The pregnancy dropped and for good six years she couldn’t take in again. That experience can bring her into Marah. People can bring you into your Marah. But God does not expect you to stay in Marah.
 

Another sister told me how she made a blood covenant with her boyfriend when she was an unbeliever, vowing to marry each other. And on the premise of that covenant the lady used her influence to get him a Job. Lo and behold, the man became rich and abandoned her to marry someone else. Thank God the sister is a Christian now. But I like to emphasise that we’re human even though we are Christians. And there’s a way you can bring what happened in your past into the present. And that can bring you into Marah. Learn to forget the past. Let there be no remembrance of those former things (Eccl. 1. 11) God wants you to live in your TODAY. Forget about the worries of yesterday. Forget about the cares of tomorrow. Live a day at a time.


(4) Sad to say. Christians also can bring people into Marah. We that are supposed to be edifying ourselves. A lot of times by our actions/ utterance and behaviors step on each other’s toe. And these things ought not so to be. A lot of us also commit secret sins. You do as if the unbeliever out there doesn’t know you as a Christian. Probably you’re secretly committing fornication out there and you think nobody sees you. You may be doing some other notorious things in an environment where unbelievers are the only ones seeing you. When they see you do those things they may feel there’s no point for them to accept Jesus. ‘If a Christian can do this, how is he better than me’? Their heat says. I tell you, the reason why some husbands have not come to the knowledge of Christ is because of the wrong behaviors of their so – called Christian wives in our different homes. The reason why other members of your family have not received Christ is because
you’re not living to reflect the light of Jesus in your house. Don’t you know that we are spectacles unto the world and unto angels? And that a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city?  (1cor. 4:9; Prov. 18:19). You cannot tell me that you’re a minister somewhere who committed fornication with someone’s junior sister. And you preached your sermon afterwards as you used to do (probably having repented). Even if fire comes out of your mouth while preaching the unbeliever will not believe you. They’ll just laugh you to scorn. Hence the need for us to be careful not to bring people into Marah.
       

Now what is God’s position about Marah?
1.    God doesn’t want you there. Look diligently … lest any root of bitterness springing up troubles you, and thereby many be defiled (Heb.12: 15).
2.    God will never help any Christian to get into Marah. Brother Paul wanted to launch into Marah. But God didn’t help him there. Our Lord Jesus (having saved Paul) wanted to send Paul somewhere as recorded in Acts chapter 22verse 17 to 21. There in verse 19 Paul remembered the kind of Atrocities that he had committed and hence was recounting these before the Lord Jesus. Obviously expecting Jesus to bring a blame upon him. But Jesus never talked about those past sins in his life. Jesus simply replied him ‘Depart….’. And I say unto you Depart!! Yes, depart my friend from thinking God could not have forgiven you because your sin was too great.
3.    God can take you out of Marah if you’re already there.


What are the side effects of Marah?
1.    A soul can be lost to hell forever as I shared earlier (Prov. 18: 19).
2.    One of the common side effects of Marah is that you lose appreciation for God. It becomes difficult for you to praise God and rejoice in Him as you used to do when you first received Christ. Complaints is characteristic of Marah. Can you imagine Israel murmuring against Moses because they found no water to drink (Ex.15.22 24)? They forgot about the past miracles God wrought for them. They murmured in defiance of the scripture which says Do all things without murmuring and disputings (Phil. 2:14).
3.    Marah also blocks the Vision of a man. I know a lot of Christians with zealous desires to mean much for God. But their vision became blocked because they dwelt in Marah. Lots of us have wonderful testimonies of the goodness of God to us. A man had an illicit sexual intercourse with a lady in 1984 while doing his N.YS.C. Program in Abuja. He contacted a veneral disease (chancre) that was gradually chopping off the tip of his genital organ. He suffered as the day went by until the Lord healed him in a Christian meeting without him using drugs. Oh how many of you out there have experienced God as such. You come to church every Sunday and when the altar call is given for you to be born –again you yet harden your heart. I pray you don’t run out of God ‘s mercy.
That brother refused to give his life to Christ despite the touch of God on him. And as he was walking along the street of Jericho in Ibadan when all of a sudden a snake came out of the bush and rose up to hit the shoulder of this 5feet 6inches tall brother. The snake wanted to strike him dead. There and then, he heard an audible voice speak to him “move 2 steps backward”. And I am sure God must have sent his Angel to succour him. He moved 2 steps backward and the snake fell down. The snake rose up in fury wanting to strike him again. And as he said, as that happened, he subconsciously uttered the phrase ‘In the name of Jesus’; and then the snake fell down and ran for its dear life. Now, could you believe that this man did not give his life to Christ until 1986 when after a Christian sister gave him a tract the Lord asked him ‘what else do you need’? So I am asking you the same question today. What else do you need? A lot of you don’t know
that even if God has not done such a great thing in your life the fact that you sleep and you wake up is a beautiful testimony. Bible says In Psalms chapters 3 verse 5 behold we sleep and we wake for the lord sustained us. If the lord has not been sustaining you probably the witches would have killed you. A lot of you feel pressed down on your bed. Oh yes, a lot you are being pursued by cows in your dreams, or someone wants to stab you in your dreams. And when they’re about getting you, you just wake up, and you think its ordinary! You better accept Christ before they finally get you down.
The testimony of the brother above is quite beautiful. But I tell you, whatever God has done in your life, if you dwell in Marah for a single moment your vision will be blocked. That’s why God does not want you to dwell in Marah.
Now let me show you an example from the Scriptures. Turn with me if you will to read Genesis 21 verse 14 to 19. Well you may not understand what happened herein until you read Genesis chapter 16 verse 4. We are talking about Hagar. If you read subsequent verses up to verse 8 you will find that the angel of the Lord came unto Hagar and spoke to her. Now listen to me, a lot of you have experienced wonderful things in your lives as Christians. Oh yes, there’s been many times the Holy Spirit has spoken powerfully to you and you have waved off his word, when he’s passing across a hard message to you. Hagar’s experience was different. She came into contact with the raw manifestation of the power of God. In those days, it was a spectacular thing for anybody to see an angel. But Hagar saw these things. The angel of the lord said unto her in verses 11 and 12:
Verse 11: Behold thou shalt bear son… Verse 12: And he will be a wild man……
For the angel to have said he will be a wild man, it means the child couldn’t have died at age 14 because God said he would be a man. That’s why God is always careful in promising a lot of us because he will want to assess your Christianity. He will try your heart many times to see how faithful you are. So that when he promise you a Mercedes Benz in the next two weeks. You don’t go into sin on the basis that God had said. Because God cannot fail so you think you can sin a little. His promises will always be fulfilled. I tell you. God will want to see what kind of person you are. So God said…. This child will be a man. So, nothing could have made it to fail because it is his word. But because Hagar dwelt in Marah for some moment of time. Her vision was blocked. She forgot all about the promises of God. Who told her that that child was going to die when the water was spent in the bottle? And she was there crying bitterly against God. Now, notice in
verse 17 that God didn’t attend to Hagar’s cry … but God instead heard the voice of the lad.
Probably it’s because you’re dwelling in Marah that God has not healed you despite the fact that countless ministers have prayed for you. Maybe if you from your heart release the fellow you're nudging bitterness against you’ll be healed without anyone praying for you. So God heard the voice of the lad, and, called unto Hagar out of heaven to re-emphasize his promise. God subsequently opened Hagar’s eyes to see water (Gen. 21:19). I tell you. There is no way your eyes can be opened to the provisions of God as long as you dwell in Marah. You will just be there, complaining and grudging. That is why the Bible says in job chapter 17 verse 7 ‘my eyes are dim because of sorrow’ .Are your eyes dim? Is your vision blocked? Psalms chapter 6 verse 7 also says Mine eye is consumed because of grief? Marah is responsible for the dimness of the eyes of Christians. They cannot see too far. They cannot launch into the depths with God. Have you, or, are you
pitching your tent in Marah? God wants you to get out of there today.
Now what happens to the person that brings you into Marah? Do you remember what happened to Korah when he rebelled against Moses out of bitterness (Num.16: 1-4)? Probably some of you have been wondering why a brother you’re so to say better than, has been selected to lead the Worship in your church. Oh yes, you’ve been hurt to see brethren that are not as good as you being offered to preach instead of you, and you begin to nudge bitterness against them. Korah did that and got judged by God for his actions. My friend, if someone brings you into Marah, allow God alone to sit as judge. God thus judged Korah as the earth opened up to swallow him alive (Num: 16:33).
Listen to me brother, grudge not one against another, lest ye be condemned,  … for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (James 5: 9, 3:16) Probably because of your dwelling in Marah when someone in your compound offends you, and you see the clothing of his children upon the line when it’s about to rain, you just take your own and go inside your room. As far as you are concerned, if rain beats the hell out of those clothes, you’re not moved. Simply because you’re offended. God doesn’t want you to do that. Are you listening?

NOW WHAT DO WE DO?
God expects you and I to move into our Elims (Num 33:9) My friend. God wants to move you to the place of his abundance if you will move away from Marah today. Israelites were the ones looking for water in Exodus 15 and they got bitter water. But here in Elim they not only found water, but they had plenty of them: they had abundance. They had supernatural comfort. Will you also move away from your Marah today? Allow God to have his way in your heart so he can launch you into your Elim. One of the reasons I think God does not open our eyes to see what goes on in the spiritual realm is so as not to draw us into Marah. To some of you who are oppressed, probably that’s the reason why a lot of times you are oppressed in your dreams, God doesn’t open your eyes to see the witch responsible for your problem. Because he knows if he does, you will count her as an enemy and take the battle to the physical. Lot of times God fights the battle for us in the
spiritual realm without us being conscious of it. Now, most people will never get to where God wants to take them if they don’t watch how they speak.  A brother who was to be employed in the oil sector brought news of his employment to his family, and was telling his wife of their imminent move to the Eastern part of Nigeria from their Northern abode. Their housemaid (who was a queen of the coast in the spirit realm) overheard their conversation and simply went and placed a stone upon his employment letter in the spirit realm. And so till today the brother’s employment letter never surfaced … and he lost the job. Will you be careful about your utterances? Will you ask God to help you tame your tongue? There are some things God will never allow you to speak. That’s why the Bible says in Hebrews chapter 6 verse 3…. And this will we do, if God permit. I tell you, there are certain things that God will never permit a believer to say. He that hath
knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding  (Proverb 17: 27 – 28). A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snares of his soul (Proverb 18:7). Are you in Marah my brother? Please remove from there right now! One of the practical ways of getting out of Marah is to meet those who grieved you and settle your differences.  May God help you as you do  so.                                                               

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Bro. 'Yinka Adeyemo
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