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December 18, 2023

I was planning to end the posts on the subject of overcoming disappointment and hope deferred with last Friday’s post, moving onto another topic this week. But I have received such positive feedback, and so many are being encouraged, I have decided to do a couple more posts on this theme before moving on. The title of today’s post is:

Rock of Ages

Our Review

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, loss, heartbreak, disappointment, etc., in the form of a mountain - Horeb. The very name 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.

Left unchecked, hope deferred produces heart disease, as the opening verse tells us. And just as physical heart disease kills the body, spiritual and emotional heart disease kills the soul. Hope evaporates, faith is lost, we no longer dream, and in many ways, our lives become sterile. We exist, but don’t really live.

God can help us overcome life’s disappointments - hope deferred - before they lead to this state. However, if you have already progressed to this level of spiritual heart disease, as Moses had, He also knows how to heal and restore your spiritual heart. Christ actually included it as part of His mission statement: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18 KJV).

Moses eventually discovered that 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) Sinai!! His plans are for your complete victory: "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).

Water From the Rock

One of the more spectacular events associated with Horeb occurred in Exodus 17. After leaving Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, and journeying for a few days, Israel had now arrived at Horeb. In desperate need of water, Moses implored God for provision, and the Lord said (my amplified version), “Take your scepter, Moses—the old, weather-beaten staff I fashioned for you on Desolation Mountain—and strike this rock, ‘the rock in Horeb” (Exodus 17:6).

Moses, by now, accustomed to Yahweh’s outlandish use of this staff and His unlimited power, did so. He smote the rock and, sure enough, water began gushing forth, a great enough flow to satisfy tens of thousands of people! An underground river must have surfaced. You never know what surprises God has buried on this mountain until you need them.

A River of Life

First Corinthians 10:4 tells us this rock represents Christ, who was smitten for us. The water that flowed from Horeb’s rock pictures the river of life that flowed from Jesus, the Rock of Ages, at Calvary. Just take a moment and ponder that. The forgiveness of sin, the healing of broken hearts, eternal life - all of the benefits of our salvation are pictured by this event on Horeb. It is fair to say that not just in spite of Horeb, not just when we leave Horeb, but out of Horeb itself, a river of life will flow.

God redeemed this barren, dry place and transformed it into one from which a life-saving river flowed. He did this to give us a picture of how He would one day transform the "horrible" Cross into the most powerful symbol of hope in all of history. Our hope-deferred pain is no match for Him. He will conquer it, just as He did sin and death on the cross.

Isaiah speaks of rivers in the desert (Isa.43:19-20). Wanting a river in the desert seems almost foolish, like Abraham and Sarah hoping against hope for a child when they are in their nineties. But go ahead and hope, because we serve a miracle-working God, and Isaac was born! You can leave Hope Deferred Mountain with a greater dimension of the power and anointing of Holy Spirit, as shown in the following miracle:

“Poor health haunted Dr. A. B. Simpson, and a physician told him he would never live to be forty. This diagnosis underscored the physical helplessness the minister knew all too well. Preaching was an agonizing effort. Walking was painful, and climbing even a slight elevation brought on a suffocating agony of breathlessness.

“In desperation, sick in body and despairing in spirit, Dr. Simpson went to his Bible. As he studied, he became convinced that Jesus intended healing to be part of the redemption of humankind's total being. He prayed, asking Christ to fulfill all the needs of his body, until his life's work was done. Every fiber in him tingled with the sense of God's presence.

“During the first three years after this healing, he preached more than a thousand sermons, conducting sometimes as many as twenty meetings in one week. For the rest of his life, he was noted for the amazing volume of his sermonic, pastoral, and literary work.

“Simpson lived to be seventy-six, but his work has lived after him. The Christian and Missionary Alliance, which he founded, is still a potent spiritual force today; his books are still being published and blessing millions of people.”(1)

At his place of desolation, Dr. Simpson grabbed the “scepter” of authority found in God’s Word, and it opened for him the river of life. Not only was he healed, but the spigot he opened is still flowing and impacting lives today. Whatever may be the source of your despair or discouragement, I assure you God has overcoming power available for you. He can still bring water from the rock. Drink from His provision through Christ, the Healer of broken hearts.

Pray with me:

Father, thank You for transforming Moses’ “Failure Mountain” into a picture of Calvary. Thank You for using a rock found thereon to symbolize Christ and the water that flowed from the rock to picture Your river of life. Our devastation is no match for You! You conquered it at the Cross, using pain to conquer pain, loss to conquer loss, and death to conquer death. Who is like You!!!!

We have placed our faith in the Rock of Ages. From His wounds flowed all that was needed to transform every Horeb into victory, every loss into gain. We ask for this now for those needing healing. We speak to diseased hearts: be healed through Christ’s provision! Hope again! Believe again! Dream again!

And we have staked our faith also on the fact that this river heals nations. Your mercy at Calvary, still seen on the Mercy Seat of Heaven, forever established victory over judgment. We believe and release that faith now with our words, declaring that cleansing, healing, and restoration are coming to America. The river of life will flow, and millions will find truth, life, and liberty. Government will be cleansed from the stench of its sin; education will be delivered from ignorance and lunacy, the church will be cleansed from her complacency and religious anemia.

Other nations and groups will also experience this merciful flow. The Middle East will experience it, Asia will drink from it, as will Europe, Africa, South America, Australia - all the earth will experience Your glory, as the waters cover the sea. Open the spigot of heaven, flowing from the Lamb on the throne, with full force! Flood the earth with Calvary’s flow. In Jesus’ name!

Our decree:

We decree that a flood of mercy is coming from heaven’s smitten rock!

Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me

“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

let me hide myself in thee;

let the water and the blood,

from thy wounded side which flowed,

be of sin the double cure;

save from wrath and make me pure.”(2)

Click on the link below to watch the full video.


  1. Adapted from The Best of Catherine Marshall, ed. By Leonard E. LeSourd (Ada, MI: Chosen Books, 1993). 



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