There is something special about standing on a high point, looking out over the world. Several years ago I stood on Pike’s Peak which is 14,110 feet above sea level! I understood the song America, the Beautiful, the lyrics of which were inspired in Katherine Lee Bates after she climbed that mountain and looked west to more peaks and east to the great plains. She then wrote “O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain!” When I lived in Western Massachusetts there was a rocky bluff north of town called Monument Mountain, really more of hill, but the climb to the top allowed a person to take in the beauty of the Berkshires. Whether it is Everest, Pikes, or Monument – enjoying the view requires an effort. There is a climb involved.
Life brings us valleys and mountains. When we are led by the Spirit, we can be certain that He has wonders to show us, but getting to the heights demands something of us. Do you want to know the wonder of the mountain top experience? Do you want to find the perspective on life that is unique to standing on in a high place, looking back, gazing forward – seeing the majesty of the Lord? In those places, we can find God revealed as we have not known Him before. We can see things in ourselves that were previously hidden. But, will we make the climb? The shadow of the mountain, seen from the valley below, can be intimidating!
The Lord summoned Moses to a mountain because He had a revelation waiting for him. “Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. And the glory of the Lord settled down on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from inside the cloud. To the Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the Lord appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. Then Moses disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights.” (Exodus 24:15-18, NLT) On Mt. Sinai, in God’s Presence, Moses received the Law, the plan for the Tabernacle which was the center of Israel’s worship: revelations great and wonderful. He was a changed man after that ascent.
John, too, had a revelation in a vision from a mountain top! “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” (Revelation 21:10-11, NIV) From the height of his visionary mountain, John saw the strange and wonderful things that he wrote down for us in the book of the Revelation. And for centuries Christians have read those words and fond hope, the assurance that “God wins!” – the promise of God’s victory over sin and suffering.
In the classic, Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory about our journey to the Celestial City, John Bunyan wrote of the Delectable Mountains that afford the pilgrims, Christian and Hopeful, a view of their final destination. His insight is clear and instructs us well. From the heights of the mountains we have to climb along the way, we catch glimpses of God’s glory that draw us along.
Are you living in the shadows of the valley right now?
Does some peak stand ahead of you, daring you to scale its heights?
Or are you in the climb, feeling exhausted; seeing only more difficulty as you look ahead?
Keep climbing! God gives strength to those who call on Him. Walk it out, faithful just for today, if that’s all you can do. There will be revelation waiting at the summit!
Here’s a word from the Word. It’s a promise for those climbing life’s mountains.
“A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.
I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121:1-2, NLT)
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV)
Abba, I thank you for the mountain top experiences
That reveal new things to me.
As I live in the shadow of the mountain, Lord,
It is sometimes overwhelming to think of the climb
That is ahead.
Steady me. Teach me to walk with You,
Letting you set the pace, trusting in You
For the strength I need for the journey.
Jesus, grace me with patience and endurance.
Spirit of God, sing the song of the pilgrim to me
Oh lead me to Your holy place. Amen