Anglican Morning Devotion, 14 July 2021 Anno Domini
A Ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” (Exodus 3:1-6; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The Mountain of God is mentioned more than once in Holy Scripture. In fact, mountains are a recurring theme in both the Old and New Testaments. But the first mention of the Mountain of God is that of Mount Horeb. This same mountain is referred to at times as Sinai, but both as the Mountain of God. It is the events associated with the Mountain of God that distinguishes the two separate references. Horeb is the Mount of Grace and Mercy. It was the Mount upon which Moses, on the backside of the desert, encountered the Burning Bush and God’s Call to service. Moses was not called of God in the palaces of the Pharaoh, but rather on the backside of the desert. When Moses approached the Bush, God commanded, “put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” When we approach the Lord in worship, we, too, should do so in reverence for the ground before the Lord is Holy! God further counselled Moses that when he had led God’s people out of Egypt, he would serve God on this mountain. “When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)
Having crossed over the Red Sea out of Egypt on dry land, the Children of Israel journeyed south to Elim and on to the Wilderness of Sin before Mount Horeb. Having been led out of bondage by a strong arm of the Lord, it was not long before the murmuring began against Moses and, ultimately, the Lord. But God provided Manna for the people which continued in the Wilderness. It is sad to consider the great mercies of God are often so soon forgotten. We seem never to be short of reasons to complain, but too often forgetful of the mercies of God. Not long after this miraculous provision of Manna, the people traveled to Rephidim and were in want of water. Again, they complained against Moses and the Lord. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. 6Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” (Exodus 17:5-6) That Rock of Horeb represented God’s greatest gift of Grace – His only Begotten Son! “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)
The Law was given on the Mountain of God as well. In this instance, God refers to the same Mount as Sinai. But it is the gracious nature of God represented by Mount Horeb. All who attempt to earn their salvation by good works are crushed by the rocks of Sinai; but all who seek God’s grace in Christ, apart from their own merit, find it in the mercies of God by that Rock of Horeb (our Lord Jesus Christ). “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.” Gal 4:21-25 (KJV)
Too often, men seek salvation by works and not of grace! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10) Please note: We are saved by grace that is a free gift. But we are saved by grace UNTO good works which should follow as evidence of the new birth in Christ!