I love hiking. I don’t really get to do it very much because of the lack of hills and available lung capacity, but getting outdoors and being with nature is always exhilarating. Your hike can take a completely different direction in just a few moments; one second you’re walking through a thick forest, the next you’re gazing over the top of a valley in a mountain range. It’s no wonder that for thousands of years, man built and put their trust in the natural grooves of the ground, with tacticians even changing their battle strategies to match the landscape (which is one of the reasons we’ve had such a hard time finding Osama). One of the most visible examples would be Masada, a 1.62 million square feet plateau located in Israel, overlooking the Dead Sea, and containing cliffs on most sides of several hundred feet. In 37 B.C., Herod the Great fortified this area for himself in the event of a revolt, and it eventually became the base of operations for the Sicarii, an extreme Jewish nationalist group during the Roman period. It is an imposing sight, one which has stood for over 2,000 years, despite the buildings and the inhabitants having disappeared.
It is because of this immovable nature of mountains, that Jesus concluded His Sermon on the Mount with a discussion of the foolish man and the wise man. The foolish, He claimed, would build His house on the sand, and watch as it disintegrated at every passing storm. The wise would make their foundation the rock, a steadfast anchor by which you can build off with absolute peace of mind. Thes allusions are references to His words, whether we will put our obedience in His words or in the tenets of man (Matthew 7:24-27). Despite this being a metaphor for our own lives, Jesus took this quite literally, as some of the most important moments of His life took place when He was planted on top of a mountain: His sermon on the mount (Matt. 5:1), before the selection of Apostles (Luke 6:12-13), while praying (Matt. 14:23), and on His transfiguration (Mark 9:2). Furthermore, when even Moses received the Law, it was on – you guessed it – a mountain.
While I would never advocate the only place that you pray be on a mountain somewhere, there is something to be said for the solitude and pure dependence on God that it allowed. Communication between just Jesus and God, or just Moses and God, allowed them to reflect only on His will, and His will alone. A foundation of shifty sands is an indication of a “double-minded man,” one who is “unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). These are willing to put part of their mind on God, and part of their mind on the world, thinking about how they can accomplish both. However, the people that went on the journey to be with God knew what they were after and had dedicated themselves to the words of the Lord, no matter what they may be (Exodus 19:7-8). No one climbs 14,000 feet because they just felt like it, but because there is something waiting for them at the top. In the human mind, it would be the accomplishment and conquering of struggles, but for the people of God, it is our isolation with God, and time dedicated to His understanding. The great news is, you don’t have to climb Everest to find God; the mountain of our lives is located on the coffee table, on the kitchen counter, or, maybe for some people, tucked away in a drawer somewhere. Seek Him out, and let His words rule your life.Last modified: January 22, 2019