A while ago I read Exodus 3 where Moses is on Mount Horeb tending his father-in-law’s flock and he comes across a burning bush. What a sight that must have been. A bush on fire but not burning up. God called to him from the midst of the bush and thus began the first of many conversations Moses would have with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I read the passages where God revealed to Moses what He wanted him to do. “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”
God wanted Moses to return to the same place he had fled from after he killed an Egyptian. I can imagine Moses’ heart skipping a beat and the fear he felt. He fled from there because his life was in danger. However, the Pharaoh who sought to take Moses’ life died. God heard the cries of His people and wanted to deliver them. It was time for Moses to fulfill his destiny.
Initially and not surprisingly, Moses had misgivings and questioned why he should be the one to go and speak to Pharaoh. He seem to have trouble believing that he could accomplish these things. God’s response jumped out at me. He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” He said three things that were meant to cast away Moses’ fear and strengthen his faith. 1) He promised that He would be with him. Moses would not go before the Pharaoh alone. God would be right there with him. 2) Moses will bring the people out of Egypt and 3) he and the people would serve God on that same mountain Moses was standing on.
God was telling Moses that his mission would be a success. He would succeed in bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt. He would bring them to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God to worship the God who delivered them from their bondage. And the answer to Moses’ question “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” God was giving Moses a sign. He was basically saying to him, When you have brought the people out of Egypt and brought them here to this mountain to serve me, that’s your proof that I sent you. This is your proof that my hand was in this–I was with you just as I promised.
True to His word, God was with Moses when he went to speak to Pharaoh, as the plagues fell upon the land and when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea. Moses and the people witnessed God drown the Egyptians in the same sea that moments ago had parted so that the children of Israel could cross on dry land with the water on either side of them. The people make it out of Egypt safely and they are brought to the Mount of Horeb. They stood before the Lord their God when He said to Moses, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’
Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai. It was there God spoke to them out of the midst of the fire. They didn’t see Him. They heard only a voice. It was there that God wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger on two tablets of stone and commanded Moses to teach the people statutes and judgments so that they would observe them in the land which they were about to cross over to possess. It was in Horeb that God made a covenant with the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 4:10-15; 5:2).
Mount Horeb is another reason to trust in God and in His promises. When He calls us to do something big, our automatic response is to panic and come up with excuses why we can’t do it. God promises to do the same thing for us as He did for Moses. He will be with us. He will not call us to do something and then leave us to do it on our own. He will provide us with the resources. He will see us through. And even when we can’t see the end result we must have faith in the One who sees the beginning and the end.
What a thrill it must have been for Moses when He brought the people out of Egypt and to the mountain where he first encountered the God of his fathers. Sometimes God leads us right back to where we started. And it is at that moment that we can fully appreciate the journey.