The Mountain of God

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

"Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God" (Exod. 3:1).

Mount Horeb was not what it seemed. Though forbidding and barren, Horeb (also called Sinai in Exodus) was the gateway God used to reveal Himself to the Hebrew nation. It was here that the living God appeared in a burning bush to Moses. It was also here that the aged and stammering Moses was sent back to Egypt with miraculous authority to liberate Israel.

It was to Horeb that the Israelites came, following the pillar of fire at night and the covering cloud by day. On Horeb, God Himself inscribed Israel's laws on tablets of stone. Then in the midst of a blazing fire, a deep gloom, and a whirlwind, the terrifying voice of the Most High spoke audibly to His people, thus establishing His covenant with them.

Israel had other sacred places -- the tabernacle in the wilderness, the temple in Jerusalem, and various altars men erected to God -- but Horeb was unique. Horeb was where Moses and the Israelites met God, and it was where Elijah fled when all he tried had failed.

Horeb was "the mountain of God."

Redeemer God
As a geographic and historic place, Horeb was weighty with spiritual significance. Yet the reality symbolized by Horeb -- that God chose a desolate place and then drew desolate men to meet with Him -- is a truth that resonates yet today. Horeb's message is this: the Lord does not turn away from our desolation; He comes to redeem it.

Consider Moses, the great prince of Egypt. From his high estate, he is exiled for forty years in the wilderness. He marries into a Midianite family and assumes the role abhorred by the Egyptians: a shepherd. Yet it is precisely at Horeb that God meets with Moses and commissions him. The word Horeb means "desolation," and it is here that Moses finds redemption as he returns to Egypt empowered with godlike authority.

Or consider Elijah, the fierce prophet whose spectacular but failed efforts to bring revival burdened him with depression, fear, and discouragement. Elijah also comes to Horeb -- the loner, Elijah, who seemingly can't get over the idea that all the prophets are dead and he alone is left. Yet it is here that he discovers not only that there are seven thousand Israelites who are loyal to God, but among them is Elisha, a man who will receive a double portion of Elijah's power. He will bring an end to Jezebel's perverse reign and bring a season of revival to the northern tribes.

On Horeb Elijah discovers that his true call was not to lead a revival but to "go before" and "prepare the way" for greater things to come. Indeed it was this very spirit of Elijah that actually prepared the way for Jesus, Israel's Messiah, in the first century, and it shall again be the spirit of Elijah who prepares the way for the second coming of Christ. (See Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:11.)

Horeb in Your World
At Horeb we not only discover more about God but also finally begin to understand ourselves and what the Lord desires of us. Our lives simplify and truly focus on that which is most important. Beloved, you know you are at Horeb when God cuts you back to the root source of your spiritual life. Yes, you are at Horeb when you are inwardly repelled by the superficial distractions of modern Christianity and desperate for more of God.

You will not become a better person at Horeb. For Horeb is not about the perfection of self; it's about the abandonment of self. It is about the discovery that in us -- in our successes and our failures -- there dwells "no good thing." We do not have to perform but conform to the surrendered life of Christ.

Not everyone who walks with God goes through a Horeb experience. Some find God in worship; others knew desolation prior to knowing Christ and now know only thanksgiving to God for their salvation. Some may have actually been through Horeb but not identified it as such. At Horeb the morphine of religion wears off, and we can once again feel our pain. Reality manifests. We see ourselves in the light of God, and as we do, we fall upon Christ the cornerstone (Luke 20:18). Though "broken to pieces," we are finally fit to be used by God.

For those who are even now at Horeb, I urge you to let your soul open and your pain rise to God. He knows. He sees your heartache. He feels your sense of shame, bewilderment, and regret. Whatever He says, do it. When you leave Horeb, He will have brought you to a level you previously thought unattainable.

Recall the infusion of life that Moses and Elijah, the men of Horeb, each experienced beyond their season of desolation. Both experienced a type of the resurrection that is to come (Jude; 1 King 20). And in a mystery beyond our comprehension, it was these two Horebites who appeared in splendorous glory and spoke with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-3).

Horeb, once the place of desolation, is redeemed and revealed as a gateway to God. It is here, in brokenness and fearless honesty, where God brings wholeness of soul.

Horeb is the mountain of God. And once here, we are just steps away from the shelter of the Most High.

O living God, I bow before You. I confess my abject need of You. My guard is down, my actor is dead, and with him I fear my dreams are also gone. Yet you give dreams even to old men. You are the Resurrection. I cast myself upon You, O great God of my salvation. Draw me into Your holy shelter, and renew me.



Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, The Shelter of the Most High, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

1 comment:

  1. "Let your soul open and your pain rise to God. He knows. He sees your heartache..." Thank you for reminding me to bring my "desert" to the Fountain of Living Waters" who causes every desert to bloom...for HIS glory.

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