remember THAT | Deuteronomy 4.14-20
And God commanded me at that time to teach you the rules and regulations that you are to live by in the land which you are crossing over the Jordan to possess.
You saw no form on the day God spoke to you at Horeb from out of the fire. Remember that. Carefully guard yourselves so that you don’t turn corrupt and make a form, carving a figure that looks male or female, or looks like a prowling animal or a flying bird or a slithering snake or a fish in a stream. And also carefully guard yourselves so that you don’t look up into the skies and see the sun and moon and stars, all the constellations of the skies, and be seduced into worshiping and serving them. God set them out for everybody’s benefit, everywhere. But you—God took you right out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to become the people of his inheritance—and that’s what you are this very day.
Deuteronomy 4.14-20 | MSG
Dry, blighted, blasted, barren, wasted, desert.
Welcome to Horeb.
The word “Horeb” actually embodies all those descriptors. No one names their retreat center “Horeb.” And yet that is precisely where God continues to show up.
We are much more keen for dessert. Yes, Dessert God – sign us up for that one! Most of what passes for religion does. Sweet desserts. Lots of whipped, airy, cream.
Sometimes people ridicule the God of Scripture as the “Sky God.” But he’s not. He’s the Desert God. And here’s the beautiful thing. He turns that desert into a fertile field. Our earliest memories are often our earliest, most traumatic moments. We all have Horebs in our past. Our task is not to sugarcoat them, nor to level them.
The key is allowing those dry, blighted, barren, wasted desert spaces to be transformed into beauty in the present, and to launch us into ever unfolding future wonders.
Oh yes. Remember that.
What has been your dry barren Horeb, your fiery Egyptian furnace? How can you see beauty and possibilities unfolding from it today? Or are you still looking? (Or are you still at Horeb?)
Living God, meet me in my Horeb. Meet me in all my Horebs. Give me eyes to see “the fourth One” walking through the furnace with me; let me see him carrying me out and with gentle push, launching me into wonders. Through Christ.