A Short Study of Exodus 15:27

“And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.”
(Exodus 15:27)

A great wilderness lay between Israel and Canaan; a vast unfriendly, harsh land that stretched out before them across which they could not survive without the presence and power of God. This wilderness is in figure a picture of this world. What they experienced physically all believers experience spiritually. Spiritually there is nothing in this world to sustain, nourish, or preserve the child of God. Everything he needs must be supplied of God and come to him by sovereign irresistible grace. It is exactly the harsh environment of this wilderness that brings to the believer’s heart the sweet experience of grace. Elim offers nothing to the intellectual; just palm trees and wells. Elim offers nothing to the mystic; its waters and trees were just waters and trees. But, oh, to the man whose tongue cleaved to the roof of his mouth, to the sojourner whose back had been burnt under that blazing son; to him those seventy palms and twelve wells was nearly Canaan itself. Looking at Elim as a place of refreshing in the wilderness I see it manifest in figure three ways.

First, I see this blessed place of rest in the wilderness represented in Christ. “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) It is Christ Himself who is our rest. It is His blessed person that refreshes the heart and satisfies the soul.

Secondly, Elim and its refreshing wells are represented to us in this gospel age as the local assembly. God’s church is the pillar and ground of the truth. He has put them strategically so that all who journey through this wilderness, on their way to Canaan, are sure to drink from its wells and rest in its shade.

Thirdly, Elim is represented in our day by the regenerating, renewing, and converting work of the Holy Spirit of God. All of the refreshing waters of Christ are drawn up for us by His presence and power.

It is the wilderness experience that makes Elim’s water so precious. Never till we are weary and heavy laden will we appreciate Elim’s rest. Thank God for dry sand and deep wells.

D. Pruitt

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