Read: Psalm 24:3-5
“3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. 5 They will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of their salvation.”
I’ve been preaching a sermon series on “Moving Mountains”. Throughout the Bible many important stories occur on “mountain tops”. Moses was called by God on a mountain top through the burning bush. Moses also received the 10 Commandment on a mountain top as well. A number of Jesus’ ministry encounters took place on Mountains too. The Transfiguration, the Sermon on the Mount, His encounter with the woman at the well, His feeding of the 4,000. Anyway, it seems to be one of those universal truths – anthropologically holy places are associated with mountains.
Ancient people believed that the mountains we the home of their “gods”. In many cultures people look to the majesty and awe of mountains in an attempt to connect spiritually with the Divine. It’s even in comic strips: someone claims a mountain to ask a meditating “wiseman”, what is the meaning of life? But if He knew the answer why would he be sitting up there searching for it?
So, a few points about mountains. First, they are awesome, think “purple mountain, majesty”. Second, mountains require considerable effort to climb. You have to be committed and you have to be intentional. Third, climbing a mountain takes you out of your comfort zone. Perhaps it is when we are ready and willing to move out of our comfort zone that we are most open to receiving what God has to say to us.
When I was in college my pastor made the point that this psalm actually points to grace. He questioned if anybody can climb a mountain and still have “clean hands”. The opening line of the psalm does suggests that it is a difficult task, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place?” Yet grace gives us a holiness that we do not have on our own. Hebrews 4:16 points to that truth: “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” In your quest to know Christ and the word of God may you have mountain top experiences, and may they take you back to the valley below among the people, that you may be blessed to be a blessing.
Shalom, Pastor Rob