I’ve always loved the mountains. Growing up in Florida it was a special adventure to vacation each summer to some mountainous location. The first view of those mighty peaks invoked a sense of awe and wonder, reminding me how small I was in comparison. And while beauty abounds, there is also a cautious approach to mountainous terrain, knowing it is not to be trifled with. Still, anyone who has hiked to a summit knows the risk, but also the reward — the breathtaking view and immense satisfaction.
Mountains- A Biblical Theme
Given the awesome wonder of mountains, it is not surprising they are a theme found throughout the Bible. The Bible speaks on mountains in various ways, from seeing them as a place where God dwells to a reminder of God’s almighty sovereign reign (Psalm 99:9, Psalm 104:13-15). We know the mountains were made by God and at His command they would crumble to the sea (Psalm 97:5). So it is not that the mountains are immovable but rather how they point us to the One who is. We come before the mountains and see someone greater than ourselves, causing us to lift our eyes upward. In fact, this is what all of creation was made to do. Creation was made by God to help us see God.
Yet, the majesty of mountains and the views they provide gives us a special understanding of God’s place of supreme authority and holy Ruler of all. The Bible often speaks of mountains as God’s dwelling place. He came as a cloud of fire on Mount Sinai to deliver the commandments and the Psalms remind us that God is seated high above us on His holy mountain, carrying out all His good purposes. Jesus also ascended to various mountaintops to teach and pray, perhaps desiring to have His followers see life from a different vantage point.
God dwelling on His holy mountain reminds us that is He altogether higher and different from us. Still, the Bible also tells us that access to this holy God is possible. But it is not by trying to climb upward. We do not have to strive or be strong enough or good enough to be with our Creator. Rather, the Ruler of the mountains climbs down to us.
Jesus’ Descent Provides A Way
The law came on a mountaintop to show us our sin — that we were separated from God — but Jesus descended the heights of heaven to provide a way for us to ascend to God’s enthroned summit. Through His death and resurrection His righteousness covers us completely and rejoins our lost relationship to God. He plummeted to the valley of all valleys as He was crucified. And He joins us even in our own valleys now, lifting our weary heads to look beyond our circumstances toward His mountaintop kingdom. His humble stature is willing to be cast down and yet He finds joy in being our Good Shepherd who leads us through all of life’s ups and downs. And lest we be fooled to think He is weak, may we be reminded that He is the One who formed the mountains and upholds them. His heart is for us and He desires that we allow Him to carry us to the peak.
Our Future Home
Revelation paints a picture of the union between God’s higher holy inhabitance and His creation. The city of Jerusalem, sitting high on God’s holy mountain, will become one with the New Earth as all nations united in Christ will worship Him forever. God will dwell with us and we will be satisfied completely. However, the satisfaction doesn’t come from the view, but through the presence of Christ with us! Unlike, the frightened Israelites who stood cowering below Mount Sinai, we can freely and joyfully approach the Almighty atop the mountain, all because of the blood of Christ.
Next time you see mountains or come across them in scripture, perhaps you will be stirred to worship, knowing God deeply desires we dwell with Him on the heights. Perhaps you will also be reminded to stop striving to reach God and submit to Jesus who has already made a way. Worthy is the Lamb of God who descended so we could ascend and who welcomes us into His kingdom of eternal joy.