Meaning of Elim

Elim - The place where trees will grow rather large

On their journey to the promised land, and about one month from leaving Egypt, when God parted the Red Sea, the Israelites stumbled upon one of their best ever places to camp, rest, and refresh. This place was called “Elim” – the place of “large trees,” and most probably palm trees.

In light of their previous experience at Morah, a place of stagnant, bitter, and undrinkable water, Elim had twelve springs of fresh water and plenty of shade from the date palm trees to rest under. Comparing and contrasting to Morah then, what is Elim?

First, Elim isn’t what Morah was. Elim isn’t a place of “not enough.” Elim isn’t a place that offers something less than perfect to an exhausted and needy traveling people. I can only imagine the frustration, pain, and agony that overwhelmed the Israelites at the discovery of a “not good enough” place that could only offer undrinkable water to a thirsty and weary and disillusioned people. In its very nature Morah wasn’t able to offer a perfect gift to a needy people. Morah offered something that had to be worked on, tweaked, and adjusted and added to.

Elim is not a place of trial and bitterness. Elim is not a place of reminiscent afflictions, agony, and hopelessness; a place where one must handle the “not good enough” somehow and try and make it work. Elim isn’t a place where one is forced to find solutions to problems, answers to questions, and alleviate pain by working hard. Not a place of matters to resolve and requirements to fulfill in order to experience abundance and sufficiency. Elim is not the place to be reminded that one is imperfect and must work hard to address the lack thereof.

At Elim there is nothing to be proven, neither to God nor to another fellow man. There are no specific conditions mentioned to be met in relation to Elim in scriptures that an individual or a group of people must meet in order to be blessed and have none of the diseases and plagues be put on them as it was the case of Pharaoh. At Elim one is offered rest and abundance freely.

Second, Elim is what Morah wasn’t.  From the get go, the place of large trees “Elim” is a place of natural blessings. A place where the people of Israel had nothing to tweak and change to make it better and suitable to their needs. Elim is a perfect place for a weary people. A place that offered more than enough.  Plenty of fresh water and shade to rest in. Truly the best place to camp for a while. Everything that was needed by a needy people this place offered and offered plentifully. If the twelve springs of water somehow represented the twelve tribes of Israel traveling through the desert, that would mean that every single tribe was provided for in good measure. No tribe was being left out and no one from the presence of God will remain unsatisfied. All one blessed in every way in God’s perfect way. 

And this is what we believe to be the case at Elim Christian Church, where in God’s presence at his provided oasis no one will be left out from his provision and blessedness.