Moses and the mountains
In scripture, mountains represent two things….impossible difficulties, which only God can surmount (and we all have those in our lives)….
….and places of close, personal dealing with God; where we grow intimately closer to Him.
Moses had several such experiences in the mountains.
Exodus 3:1-3 “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.”
Here Moses “turns aside” from his everyday routine……and meets God.
He hears His Voice in a bush which burned, without burning up….on a mountain.
This was his calling….”come close to Me, and go for Me…..and deliver My people from the bondage of Pharaoh”.
Moses is given God’s Word….and told…”return unto thy people”.
(Our calling is often among the people around us…whether in our own home or church, or town…..though it may lead elsewhere.)
Moses did that….bringing them by God’s Word, out of Egypt….and across the Red Sea, on dry ground.
Three months later:
Exodus 19:1-3 “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.
….and there Israel camped before the mount.
And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying….”
Again Moses hears God’s Voice,….this time with a promise for His people….
Exodus 19:5-6 “Now therefore , if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine:
And ye shall be unto a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. Those are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”
Sinai was where God entered into a covenant relationship with Israel….there they became a nation, not just a family.
Four times Moses went up into the mountain:
(Exodus 19:19-20) When God came down on Mt. Sinai, Moses was called up in the mountain for instruction to the people.
(Exodus 24:12-13) God called Moses the first time to receive instruction for the Tabernacle and to get the Ten Commandments written on stone….these tablets he threw down and broke, when the people sinned, worshipping the golden calf…Exodus32:19.
(Exodus 32:30-33) Moses went up to God in the mountain to intercede for Israel, because of their sin with the golden calf.
(Exodus 34:1, 4) God called Moses up to the mountain to receive a new tablet containing the Ten Commandments….and saw His glory.
Each time God spoke to him, giving Moses His pattern for access to Him.
(And often our mountain experience is when we have new insight from God for our lives….which brings us into a closer relationship with Him.
Like Moses we have often prayed…..”I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.”
But we notice, Moses had to leave the people at the bottom of the mountain….and even Joshua, his minister….was left at a low level.
He had to travel up….alone. Most of the time, we too, need to leave the crowd, to gain closer union with God.)
The next mountain Moses climbed was about thirty nine years later….that mountain was mount Hor, for it was time for Aaron, the high priest (Moses brother)…..to die.
Numbers 20:25-26 “Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor:
And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.”
All three went up the mountain, but only two: Moses and Eleazar, now as high priest, came down, to continue to minister.
It was time for Aaron to die….and that shows that there is a time for all of us…whether sickness, or accident….death will come to those we love. He was not alone….Moses and his son were there….and God, of course….to take his hand.
And they mourned for Aaron for thirty days.
(Sometimes our mountain experience is grief…..grief is one of those things that is very hard to deal with…for often we do not know how it will affect us.
I have seen solid people fall apart….in grief.
I have seen the faithful….question God for a time.
I have seen children, bewildered….because parents lack the courage to speak about these things [instead of giving hope and confidence in God to these little ones, they give vague answers….which are not answers.]
Some cry and mourn out loud….and others silently.
Some grow angry that there was not more time….thinking of things unsaid, or things undone.
But grief….is our heart’s feeling, when a loved one goes away [in the Hebrew it means “to carve”….and their loss will “carve a place for them that is empty…unfilled in us”.]
It hurts us, for we will miss them, and their voice….speaking to us.
But, like all “hurts”….there is our Beloved Physician, Jesus Christ…..who fills their loss with good: good memories, good courage, good peace….
…..and it is good, if we like Moses and Israel here….take time to mourn.
“Mourn” means to pour out your hurt (that means the hurt is gone, but not the memories)…and for us Christians….we should pour it out to God.)
The next mountain that Moses climbed was Pisgah.
It was on the far side of Jordon….for he could not go into the land because in his anger he disobeyed God, the second time he brought water from the Rock.
(The Rock symbolized Christ….giving life giving water to His people. Moses struck it once in Horeb (Exodus 17:6)….this showed that all the blessings we receive, are because Jesus was smitten for us.
…..the next time he was to bring water from the Rock, Moses was to speak to it…showing Christ Jesus in ascension glory, giving blessing to His people, from heaven, when we ask.
But Moses, in anger struck the Rock again….having a fit, and disobeying God.
After all God had showed Moses, his temper-tantrum barred him from Canaan. Deuteronomy 32:51)
On Pisgah, God showed Moses the land:
Deuteronomy 3:27 “Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes: for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.”
Deuteronomy 34:1, 5 “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho: and the Lord showed him all the land…
So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.”
This time the mountain brought him, not just to see the Lord’s glory….but the Lord Himself in heaven.
His work was done….now his ministry he had accomplished by shepherding the second generation, would be blessed….but without him, for under Joshua (who was Moses helper. Exodus 24:13) all Israel went in to possess the Land.
(This is a great mountain….for when we die, as Christians, we are in the hands of God….our spirits and souls go with Him….but our body stays here(Deuteronomy 34:6) for a while….one day it will be raised to a glorified body, as well.
Moses work was done….and he had prepared others to go on…..are we preparing for our final journey….and for others to go on without us?)
But there is one more mountain for Moses: and this is a Hallelujah one!
Luke 9:28-31 “And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He (Jesus) took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering.
And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elijah:
Who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.”
Jesus is praying on the mountain, and His Father sends Him Moses, representing the Law….and Elijah, representing the Prophets to talk to Him….
……about “His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem”.
Moses finally got into the Land, in his glorified body,….standing on a mountain, talking to the Son of God/ the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, face to face.
And what other subject would they have?….but the great work Christ would accomplish for Salvation at Jerusalem….what a conversation that would have been!
(And this mountain show us that, in heaven, we will be able to talk to Jesus face to face….in our glorified bodies….and with other believers.)
The “mountain” experiences of our lives are there to bring us closer to the Lord…to give us a desire to grow even more closer.
What of us? Are we “turning aside” from our everyday lives, to hear God’s voice…even on the more difficult mountains of experience?
Are we seeking a closer view of God, no matter what others feel about Him?
God has mountain experiences for us….do we want them?
Moses did….and had them….do we?