Lessons from the mountains (2)

“As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever” (Psalm 125:2). Sometimes the mountains are ominous and fill us with fear because of the unknown, or because they are so great and we are so small. But God also uses mountains as a picture of the refuge and comfort that He provides for His people. Jerusalem was placed on top of Mount Zion and was ultimately a picture of heaven. Jerusalem was also where God’s people gathered to worship and thank Him. It was where they could be closest to God in those ancient times. Psalm 125 was one of the Psalms that the children of Israel would sing as they approached Jerusalem for their once-a-year feast of the Passover, and as they climbed mount Zion, they would be reminded of the comfort and care that God gave to His people by looking at the mountains that surrounded Jerusalem. Just as those mountains protected Jerusalem from its enemies, so God protects His people from their enemies. He surrounds us with His love and care and protection, giving us the grace and the strength that we need to fight Satan, the world, and especially our own sinful nature. He protects us from being slaves to sin by His work in saving us through His Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. And there is where the picture is not perfect, as the reality is. Eventually Israel’s enemies did break through those mountains and brought Israel into captivity, destroying Jerusalem. But because we are protected by God, sin will never destroy or completely overtake us, God’s precious children. Yes, there are times where it may seem that we have fallen into sin and can’t find our way out, but don’t give up hope, Child of God. He forgives those who repent in a true and sincere sorrow for their sin, and He will lead each one of His own back to Him in His good timing. “I will lift my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121:1).

LK

Lessons from the mountains (1)

“When I look down from lofty mountain granduer…Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee! How GREAT Thou art!” This song ran through my head over and over this past week at the Edmonton retreat. We retreaters were taken into the Canadian Rockies for a few days, and all of us experienced the feeling of being so small and insignificant before the face of the God who created those lofty mountains. Driving up to them, we passed through the foothills, already amazed by their size. Then came the feeling of awe and wonder when the mountains loomed on the horizon in front of us. As we got closer and closer, the moutains that looked pretty big from a distance seemed to grow more beautiful and grand. So many thoughts come to mind when I saw those mountains. So many passages run through my head even now as I remember the awe and wonder that I had looking at those mountains. First, and maybe most obvious, was Psalm 23. With mountains come valleys, and that Psalm gives the child of God the comfort that “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art with me…” There are times in our lives when the mountains loom all around us. God places circumstances in our lives that make us place our trust in Him. Recently with the sudden death of a young man, and dear friend to many of us, this is especially true. Our lives here on earth are nothing but a walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Death looms about us, it is our final enemy. But even with the terror and sadness that death brings to our lives, we must always remember that God is walking beside us! Though we face other trials in the life, sickness, loss of a job, etc., He is with us always! That’s what gives us comfort. Then with that knowledge and when we truly believe that, the mountains we face are not as scary or as ominous. So never forget those comforting words. How great is the God who has loved us with such love!

LK