The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.”
There have always been mountains in the story of God’s people.
God called Abraham to a mountain. Asked him for his heart there. Asked him to lay it bare on an altar. And when he did, God showed Abraham His own tender heart caught in a thicket. Waiting to take his place.
God called Moses, too, to a mountain. Marked the ground as holy in His burning presence. Asked him to take of his shoes. Moses climbed the mountain often. Got God’s plan to guide the people home there, etched by the finger of his holy hand.
And Elijah ran to God’s mountain. Blinded by fear and grief, God guided him there, and nourished him along the way. Scared, hopeless, spent… Elijah ran to find the God of Fire again….He found instead, the God of the small, still voice – the same voice that set the earth into motion.
… and Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
Yes, God meets us in the mountains.
I love climbing mountains. I love the journey and all the effort – knowing the payoff at the top is worth the journey on the way.
But this morning, as I think about my life and lives around me and wonder about mountains … I just feel confused. Mountains can represent such opposing ideas:
that of the giants in Life – or a place to find God.
A place to listen for the small still voice – or one to raise a knife at its readied altar.
And lately I hear the Mountain’s calling me. Challenging me.
Pulling me: “Come to the mountain of God. Get a vantage point. See all that God has promised for you. Come here His small still voice.”
Pushing me: “Now go. You have stayed long enough. It’s time for dreams to be walked out, mountains to be laid low and obstacles obliterated. It’s time for ground to be taken back.”
Lately, it seems that no matter which way I look, I’m either coming or going, ascending or descending and it’s hard to even know which way is up…
And lately, that no matter which way I walk, I’m either basking in the grace of the mountaintop high or being asked to leave; ascending to glory, or being asked to place my heart on the bloodied altar waiting at the top.
Lately, I’m either trying to desperately just to hear his voice, or manically whipping out my mustard seed to try to toss this roadblocking monolith to the sea.
And then come the questions:
What’s your giant now, Jane? What mountain needs removal? What altar needs an offering? What bush burns before you needing barefoot care?
What mountain of God will give you the vantage point you need to see his Promised land spread out before you?
… What mountain have you stayed too long?
Questions. Questions… a whirlwind of questions.
And just like that, I suddenly understand this mountain madness … because always in a whirlwind – ALWAYS – I’m asked to stop.
STOP. Long enough to hear his answer.
STOP. Long enough to hear his heart.
STOP. Long enough to hear – really hear – the very breath of his whisper that says:
that I am God.
I’ve got this.
I’ve got you.
Rest now – even if it’s this one small moment… rest.
There will be time enough for casting to the sea.
Jesus. Right now, just your name is my prayer. And I will be still until I hear your voice.