Horeb Isn’t Forever
Proverbs 13:12 (NASB): “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. Knowing this, God sculpted and shaped a vivid picture of hope deferred in the form of a mountain - wouldn't you know it would be a mountain! Rugged. Barren. Its very name, Horeb, means "desolation, a waste place, barrenness, dryness" - all perfect synonyms of hope deferred.
This is the place where Moses ended up for much of his forty-year exile, shoveling dung instead of bathing in royal hot tubs (Exodus 3:1). There can be no more severe case of hope deferred than what Moses experienced, having lost his royal inheritance and, it seemed, his destiny. I realize "it ain't over 'til it's over," but after disappearing for forty years, a dream is usually over.
But thankfully, like many mountains, Horeb had treasure hidden within it. Not only would this barren piece of rock be a picture of exile-induced heart disease, but it would also become a glorious example of conquered hope deferred and healed heart disease. In fact, the transformation of Horeb became so complete for Moses and Israel, its power so harnessed by the hand of God, that this mountain became known as "the mountain of God" (Exodus 3:1). From Horeb, “desolate, barren, waste place,” to “the mountain of God!” Sinai! It just doesn't get any better than that!
Forgive my play on words, but Horeb didn't remain horrible for Moses, and it doesn’t have to for us today. He found gold in Mount Horeb, and so will we. We, as individuals, can see its devastation transformed and we can see Horeb overcome for our nation, as well. God wants to transform the Horeb seasons of our lives so that one day, all we’ll see when we look back at them is Him. "I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope"' (Jeremiah 29:11 NASB).
This became especially real to me a few years back when I found myself in a season of hope deferred, much of which had been caused by rejection and betrayal. While seeking the Lord for comfort one afternoon, He threw me quite a curve. "I need you to embrace the pain," He spoke very clearly.
What a strange and seemingly cruel statement to hear from a loving Father, who supposedly had great plans for my welfare and a future filled with hope. I did not realize, however, that God wanted more than simply to remove my pain; He also wanted to use it.
God never wastes our pain; before He removes it, He makes it serve us. Horeb will become our gym, and the pharaoh who sent us there, our trainer.
And ultimately, like God, whose nature we inherited, we will win. He always wins, and so can we.
I want to be very clear that God wasn't telling me that betrayal is good, nor that He caused it. God doesn't cause evil, but He does make it serve Him— and us. He needed me to embrace the pain, not so I could hurt, but in order to grab it, wrestle it to the mat, and claim my prize!
God doesn't call evil good, as some people are prone to do. Pain isn't good; it tells us something is wrong. Death is an enemy. Emotional wounds can break our hearts. God doesn't make light of our pain, and He isn't playing weird mind games with us, trying to convince us that bad is good.
He is saying, however, that no matter how great the wound and deep the pain, He knows how to heal and transform it. And not just into scar tissue. He will use its lessons to make us better, healthier, richer, wiser, and better positioned for a fulfilling future. Horeb isn't terminal!
“After suffering severe burns on his legs at the age of five, Glenn Cunningham was given up by doctors who believed he would... spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair...
“The doctors examined his legs, but they had no way of looking into Glenn Cunningham's heart. He didn't listen to the doctors and set out to walk again. Lying in bed ...Glenn vowed, ‘Next week, I'm going to get out of bed. I'm going to walk.’ And he did just that.
“His mother tells of how she used... to look out the window to watch Glenn reach up and take hold of an old plow in the yard. With a hand on each handle, he began to make his gnarled and twisted legs function. And with every step, a step of pain, he came closer to walking. Soon, he began to trot; before long, he was running...
“‘I always believed that I could walk, and I did. Now I'm going to run faster than anybody has ever run.’ And did he ever.
“He became a great miler who, in 1934, set the world's record of 4:06. He was honored as the outstanding athlete of the century at Madison Square Garden.”(1)
Someone once said that pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. Glenn Cunningham moved on from Horeb. We can, as well!
Pray with me:
Father, our nation has become Horeb, a “barren, desolate, waste place,” spiritually speaking. Our government is defiled, dishonest, and incompetent; our education system has become nothing more than a propagandizing arm of evil; our system of justice is unjust; our borders are open - we are like an ancient city without walls, and our cities are filled with violence. We kill our babies, mutilate our children, and no longer know the difference between men and women. And we are proud of this.
You would have every right to destroy us and shake the dust off of Your feet as You leave. But You would rather transform Horeb into something good, bringing wisdom from the pain and good from evil. You have said You were going to save us, and we believe You. Just as Moses’ place of exile became “the mountain of God,” we, too, will see Your glory flashing from this barren place.
So, we prophesy to the desolate land, “You will live again.” We prophesy to the children, “You will be taught of the Lord and transformed into passionate lovers of God’s presence.” We prophesy to our government, “You will once again come under the influence of God.” We prophesy to our education system, “You will no longer be led by fools and propagandists.” And we prophesy to our justice system, “You will have righteous judges as before.”
“America, you will live and not die, and once again declare the works of God.”
We decree that America is returning to the Lord, and to her destiny.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Barry Spilchuk, compilers, A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul, (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc., 1996), pp. 76-77.