The first two verses in Psalm 121 read, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” (NKJV) A keen observation of nature can sometimes help us in the spiritual realm, too. I’m thinking of five different biblical mountain experiences that can help us in our understanding of the nature of God. So, let us pack our bags and do some mountain climbing.
In Genesis 22, God tested Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Early the next morning they were on their way up Mount Moriah. You’ll remember that this was an only son, and through him Abraham had been promised to become the father of many people. Isaac’s birth was itself a miracle because of the age of his mother Sarah. Soon Isaac was bound and laid on a pile of sticks and Abraham’s arm was up, prepared to slay him. But the angel of the LORD stopped him. A ram, caught in the thicket, was slain instead. Mt. Moriah teaches us about the mercy of God—not getting what we deserve.
In Exodus 19, Moses is called up to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20. This was a frightening event. There was lightning, thunder, and a thick cloud overshadowing. In receiving the laws of God, it was a time for Israel to learn the importance of the holiness of God. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God. Mt. Sinai helps to teach us about the holiness of God.
In I Kings 18 and 19, Elijah prepares to face the false prophets of Baal and to demonstrate who is serving the real God. A large sacrifice was prepared. The test was whether Baal or God would answer with fire and devour the sacrifice. The false prophets went first, but couldn’t get Baal to strike a match. Then Elijah repaired the altar and poured water all over the sacrifice. When he called on God, the fire fell! Why all the water? Maybe he wanted to have gravy with his meat! This great contest teaches us something of the power of God.
Mount of Transfiguration
In Matthew 17, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up to an exceeding great mountain and was transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah also visited them with their presence. This was a great experience, and Peter wanted to start building some mountain cabins and stay up there. But Jesus wasn’t quite ready to give them their mansion, yet. The Mount of Transfiguration teaches us about the majesty of God
Near the close of each of the gospels Jesus is crucified. “For God so loved the world” is a verse we all know. What happened on Mount Calvary is the undisputable proof of the love of God. Mount Calvary helps to teach us of God’s love.
Yes, there is help from the hills. They help to teach us about the mercy, holiness, power, majesty, and love of God. There is more than one kind of classroom. Take some time to learn from the hills.
Jim Myer, CBC Executive Board member