Thursday, May 07, 2009

This Mountain

"So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:14

"And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain." Exodus 3:12

"Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain." Exodus 19:17

A few weeks ago, I finished my cover-to-cover Bible reading that I started at the beginning of January. On average, giving that I was reading mostly only at lunchtime, and there were days I missed, it took about 100 days to do so. I've read the Bible through several time before, but this was the fastest I'd ever done so. It was very interesting, because as I read, the things from other books in the Bible were still fresh in my mind, so when I cam across things in the New Testament that referenced things in Exodus or Deuteronomy, I remembered them, and was able to better tie things together. When I finished my reading through, I had to decide what to do next, do I follow a different reading plan? Do I do it again? I decided to do that- start back at the beginning, and something interesting is still happening. As I'm reading the first few books of the Bible, I'm recollecting the things from the New Testament very vividly. I'll tell you, reading the whole Bible in a fast format really is helping to tie things together better, and I definitely recommend it if you have the opportunity.

One such thing that is a constant in both sections of the Bible is the concept of "going up the mountain". It's interesting that sometimes, the Bible is really talking about physically going up a mountain, but then other times, I have to wonder if it's a less-literal interpretation. There is a constant about going up the mountains- every time it's done, there is some form of worship and talking to God, or prayer going on. Most often, the time on the mountain is also solo. Moses went by himself, and Jesus went by himself, but in rare circumstances, those closest to the worshipper was allowed up the mountain as well. Which leads me to believe that many times in the Bible, when the idea of going up the mountain is discussed, they're actually talking about a secret place. It's a parable, a metaphor for quiet one-on-one time with God.

One of the things that struck me yesterday as I read was the two verses I posted above in Exodus. When the first one took place in chapter 3, Moses was on Mt. Horeb, and we see that God specifically says to him that they will worship on "this mountain" once they've been freed. Yet we fast-forward to the actual event in chapter 19, and they are not at Mt. Horeb, they are actually standing at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Two completely different physical mountains. But God called it "This Mountain". "This Mountain", I think, means a special place, a secret, quiet place where it's just you and God. And you are worshipful and reverent and in awe of The Almighty. And it's a place where you can talk to God, and He will talk to you.

"About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray." Luke 9:28

"Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." John 4:20

"Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself." John 6:15

"We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain." 2 Peter 1:18

I don't know about you, but This Mountain sure sounds like a wonderful place to be. Not only is it one-on-one time with God, but I also learned something very interesting about mountains in general recently. Did you know that mountains have a snake line? The snake line is an elevation where snakes cannot go past- they will literally die if they go past the snake line on a mountain, so snakes naturally stay below that line. So when we go up the mountain to spend time with our God, we can also rejoice in knowing that the snakes of this world cannot follow us there. When we purpose to spend that time with God, it's just us and God, and we don't need to worry about the devil following us there and trying to deceive us- he cannot go there.

This has me thinking. It has me thinking that in those times where is seems like we are under attack after attack, and it seems the devil is coming at us with full guns, that we should do our best to retreat to the mountain- to the safety and sureness of God. There, wrapped in His Peace, we can re-group and re-think and seek His Face and His Help in dealing with the enemy.

I think I like the idea of going up a mountain.

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