Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (Exodus 3:1)
The Hebrew words translated as “back of the desert” refers to the fact that he took the flock to the farthest side of the desert which brought him to Horeb. Many times we’ll see that Horeb and Sinai are used interchangeably which has led some to believe that Horeb describes the region where the mountain of God was.
Horeb comes from a root term that means, “to parch” or something that is ver “dry.” It can also mean “desolate” and even “destroy.” Considering it was in the desert, it’s pretty obvious why this place was connected to things that are dry and desolate. But Horeb is also related to a word that is translated as “sword” or other such cutting instruments. Tying the two ideas together, consider this; it was in this vast, dry wasteland that the Word of God was given to Israel and, as we know, the Word of God is likened to a sword.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrew 4:12)
From time to time, we might find ourselves in these “dry” places when we feel that we are wandering through a vast wilderness. Yet it in those experiences that we are more inclined to hear the voice of our Creator and receive the Word He has for us. Sometimes what He has to say “cuts” us to the core but it also brings healing, restoration and blessing to our lives. Let us not disdain the wilderness experiences in life but embrace them as an opportunity to hear the Word of the LORD and to be challenged to become the people He has called us to be.
Blessings and Shalom,