By Francis Frangipane from his book titled “The Shelter of the Most High”
Israel had many sacred places — the tabernacle in the wilderness, the temple in Jerusalem, and various altars men erected to God — but Horeb was unique. Its name meant “desolation.” It was on Mt Horeb that God revealed Himself to Moses and it was to Horeb that Elijah fled when all he knew to do had failed.
Horeb was “the mountain of 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 there 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.
At Horeb God refines us. Our lives simplify and focus on those few things which are most important. Beloved, you know you are at Horeb when God cuts you back to the root source of your spiritual life, and you are inwardly repelled by the superficial distractions of modern Christianity. You become 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 knew desolation prior to their salvation and now know only thanksgiving to God. 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. He feels your 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.