Thursday, June 10, 2010

Go To The 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

This verse comes at the very end of Abraham's journey to sacrifice his son Isaac. As we all know, Abraham was told to sacrifice his son, and he went to do so, and just as he was about to do it, an angel of the Lord stopped him, and showed Abraham a ram caught in a nearby bush, and instead of sacrificing his son, Abraham sacrificed the ram. God provided for Abraham that day. As I'm writing this and thinking on this today, I'm thinking about that mountain. "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." What do you need this morning? This week? This year?

Abraham obeyed God, plain and simple. God told him to sacrifice his only son- after God promised a multitude of descendants for Abraham. And Abraham obeyed fully- we may never know his actual thought processes here. Did he think God would raise Isaac from the dead? Did he think that God would stop him mid- process and provide the ram that he did? Did he think that God would provide another son to carry on the family line? No one will know until we can get to heaven and ask him, but the point is that he obeyed- regardless of the cost. He trusted and believed in God's promise to him that his descendants would number the stars, and he obeyed when God said to give up his one and only son. In his faithfulness to God, he went into the wilderness, and he met God on the mountain, and there, God provided for his needs.

The mountain is where God is calling each and every one of us to go. He wants to meet with us there on His Mountain- in that special place where it's just us and Him. Yet so many of us seem to fear going to the mountain- going to that secret place where we spend one on one time with God. And why is that? What is that fear? Well, I'll tell you what my fear is- my fear is that when Abraham went to the mountain, he was told to sacrifice his one and only son. If I were to go to that mountain- what would God ask me to sacrifice? What will I have to willingly surrender to God in order to gain that intimate relationship? That's what holds me back.

And yet... and yet I'm drawn to it. And yesterday as I flipped through my Bible, going to a completely different verse in Genesis, my Bible opened to this verse, and this verse today literally jumped off the page and drew me to it. On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided. I just keep seeing that, and I keep hearing that repeated in my head. Then that makes me wonder- what will be provided? In Abraham's case, God provided a sacrifice and allowed him to keep his precious son. What would it be in my case?

When I was thinking on mountains, I also found these verses in Micah:

"In the last days
the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and peoples will stream to it. 2 Many nations will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths." Micah 4:1-2

That made me think of that old song sung many years ago. "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the Lord".

And then I started thinking about Abraham again. Was he glad as they journeyed toward that mountain? Was he afraid? Was there trepidation or sorrow? I think there is a key here about approaching the mountain of the Lord. I don't think God wants us to come to him out of reluctance, but out of a genuine desire to want more of Him. When we approach Him, it should be with gladness of heart, with joy, and with reverence. I think expectation as well.

Expectation? Well, it says right there in black and white that On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided. When we come to the mountain, when we come to that secret place where it's just us and God- we need to come with great expectations. At the very least, we need to expect that we will never be the same after our encounter with God. I bet Abraham was never the same after that experience- and for that matter, I bet Isaac was never the same either. Imagine that boy- imagine being tied up by your father, laid out on the bire, and realizing that YOU are to be the sacrifice to the Lord. And then God intervenes. Abraham and Isaac, from that moment forward were completely changed.

Expecting change from God is good- expecting that soul tie to the Lord is good. But I also expect that when my Bible says that On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided- that the word "it" can be replaced with just about anything. What is it you need? I asked that earlier- do you need healing? Do you know someone who needs a healing? Do you need provision of a home, a vehicle, or do you need provision of finances? Do you need a heart healed of hurt? Do you need to find the ability to forgive someone who trespassed against you? God wants to provide, but in order to provide, we need to go to the mountain. We need to purpose our hearts, leave everything behind- stay our minds to focus on him- and go to the mountain of the Lord. With an open heart and a heart full of joy and gladness, we can come to Him, meet Him on His Mountain, and He will provide what we need. Sometimes, all we need is rest- and He will provide that too.

"Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain." Psalm 48:1

Great is our God- and His mountain is Holy. It's time for us to meet Him there. There is no sacrifice that He will ask of us that will be too much for us.


Carolynn W. said...

I just want to let you know that your blog is such an inspiration to me! I stop by every always share such thought provoking, insightful looks into the Word of God. That is so encouraging! Thank you for sharing with us!

Erika W. said...

Wow, thank you Carolynn for your kind words and encouragement! I think the whole point of Bible blogging is to be thought provoking. Anything that makes you think about the words in the Bible- and especially gets you to open it up and read- more is a really good thing.