“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem… For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.” “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Micah 4:1-2,5; Matthew 7:13-14
It is one thing to walk, and quite another to climb. The first is rather easy and can be done without much (if any) thought or effort–it’s simply what we do in order to get somewhere. But climbing ‘above the hills to the highest of mountains’ takes planning, resolve, energy, effort, and strength; it never “just happens.” Walking is the wide way, climbing is the narrow.
My husband and I love to hike, and climb. Hiking on level paths is invigorating, and enables us to take in the beauty all around us, but climbing requires more strategy, concentration, skillful steps and balance and sweat, with an upward focus. The journey is exhilarating, expectation for the summit motivating, and the views are always worth the extra effort taken to get there.
In our lives, we can walk as most, in the name of our god– our children’s wants and demands, our educational and vocational pursuits, our desired agendas of fitness, recreation, indulging, ‘connoisseuring,’ or we can choose to walk in the name of our the Lord and climb His mountain, that He may teach us what can be understood only on the heights. Why do I choose to stroll in the lowlands when God bids me ascend? What apathy or complacency do I need to shrug off in order to climb unencumbered to learn God’s ways? What low, confined, and worldly views do I need to trade for glimpses of freedom and light broad perspective at the mountain top?
Lord on high, You have established a high place for us and bid us come. Prompt and compel me to climb, each day, to sit with You in the heights, learn of You, and beckon others to come to know Your ways too.