After God delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh's army, the people traveled first in a south-easterly then in a north-easterly direction through the wilderness desert and rocky mountains of Midian. Suffering three days of thirst, they arrived in the Desert of Shur and found bitter water at Marah. By God's hand, Moses threw a piece of wood into the water and the water became sweet. Thirty miles later, the Hebrews arrived at the Oasis of Elim with its twelve springs and seventy palm trees. God gave them a reprieve from the desert dryness and heat.
Northeasterly, they moved to the Desert of Sin. The people ran short of food and became rebellious. But God sent blizzards of fresh manna and clouds of quail. God fed a million men and their families daily bread. On the Plains of Rephidim, the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites. In the day long battle, Aaron and Hur at the top of the hill held up the arms of Moses to pray, while Joshua and his soldiers fought for victory against their desert enemies.
Meanwhile, the water ran dry (Ex 17:3).
Without water again, Moses appealed in prayer. In this tremendous miracle, God sent him to the west side of Mount Sinai, also called Mount Horeb, where Moses struck a monolithic rock, sixty feet high, with his staff. Water gushed from this rock down the side of the mountain flowing like a river to form a reservoir, some two to three miles in length. This provided water for the desert encampment (Ps 78:16).
Local desert people call it Jabal Musa,
the Mountain of Moses.
The sight of Mount Horeb's black mountain peak in the distance is awesome. The peak is actually burnt from when God descended to the mountain in a blaze of fire. There is no other mountain in the region colored like it. This mountain today is known as Jabal Al Lawz, towering 8465 feet as the tallest mountain in Midian. It is located about fifteen miles east of the ancient city of Madian, now Al Bad.
The mountain is not a volcano, nor is it volcanic rock. The rock is a red metamorphic granite, externally burnt. Broken open, the rocks display pink coloration. In the noon day sun, the burnt black rock turns a hue of sapphire blue. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke bellowed up from it like a furnace as the whole mountain trembled violently (Ex 19:18).
Moses Placed Markers Around the Mountain
On the east side of Mount Sinai, the twelve tribes of Israel encamped on a 10,000 acre plain, the Desert of Sinai. Around the mountain, Moses placed markers every 400 yards as limits to the people not to go near the fiery mountain (Ex 19:12). Coming down toward the foot of the mountain, one observes the remains of Moses altar showing the pens for the livestock connected to the altar, itself. The Hebrews sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, sheep, goats, and cattle (Ex 20:24).
Surrounding the altar are the remains of twelve, smooth, white stone pillars. Moses arose early in the morning, built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve strong pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel (Ex 24:4). When Moses with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the elders, ascended the mountain, they saw the blue hue of the rocky summit in the noon day sun, explorers still see today. Under their feet the ancients described something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself (Ex 24:9-10).
The Ten Commandments!
The scriptures tell how Moses endured a forty day fast, talking with God. When the Lord finished speaking to Moses, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony (Ex 31:18). The Hebrews, impatient for the return of Moses, returned to their familiarity with Egyptian gods and celebrations. They fashioned a huge altar to a golden calf god and inscribed the rock base of the altar with several other Egyptian cow gods (Ex 32:4).
Other noticeable particulars of the area include the presence of acacia trees to build the ark, almond trees to fashion Moses staff (Num 17:8), and an abundance of quail visiting the area from the Red Sea. One most unusual finding is the presence of many small rocks with footprints etched on them. The Hebrews took literally God's instructions to claim the land, "Every place where you set your foot" (Deut 11:24). Dead center in the front of the mountain is the significant cave of Elijah, fifteen feet high and twenty feet deep, where the prophet waited while God passed by him (1 KG 19:8-9).
The miracle of the Desert Crossing is God took care of more than a million people for forty years with no other visible means of support. As Jesus said in the imperative, "You must have faith in God!" (Mark 11:22). Reference: "The Search for the Real Mount Sinai." Reel Productions, LLC, DVD, 2006.
Bill Hunt dedicated his marriage to discovering God's 100 million miracles in life. As a Christian Writer, administrator, and career educator, he writes true miracle stories and Christian teachings on FaithWriters and CornerRetreat.blogspot.com.
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