There He made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them, and said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:25-26)
The Hebrew word translated “statue” is understood, according to rabbinical belief, to speak of things that is beyond our human comprehension. The tree cast into the bitter water was part of such a statute. In these cases it is almost always a mysterious command intended to point us to the Messiah. Furthermore, in this case at least, it is a statute intended to remind them of how God provided for them in spite of their faltering faith.
He showed them that, not only can He deliver them through the “bitter” waters of the sea but can also deliver them from the “bitter” waters of the desert. There is no limit to His power and authority, and so, if He can perform the one, why doubt Him for the other? And because His authority is supreme to all others, live according to His instructions and statutes; if you do what is right in His eyes, what happened to Egyptians won’t happen to you.
Man is tried by the gifts of God and by the lack of them. In other words, when He bestows blessings upon us, are we grateful recipients or spoiled children who live with a sense of entitlement. If He withholds gifts, are we grateful for what He has done and confident He will provide in our lack or do we complain and accuse Him of abandonment.
In this verse, He reminds His people of all generations, “I am your healer” – literally, “I am your physician.” If God allows sickness and suffering to touch His people, it is not to destroy but to provoke them to believe more than they have in times past. The suffering He allows to affect us is intended to purge us of unfruitful habits and sin, thus healing us. Therefore, let us thank Him for the abundance and the lack, knowing that, in all things, He has our best interests in mind because He is our healer.
Blessings and Shalom,