Long Enough at the Mountain

“The Lord our God said to us in Horeb, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negeb and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.  See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.’” Deuteronomy 1:6-8

Israel’s magnificent deliverance from Egypt was a remarkable feat of God. Their behavior following was, in contrast, remarkably terrible. Although they had witnessed the power and tenacious love of God for their nation through the Red Sea, they turned self-ward and lost their high view of Him. They complained, blinded to His good purposes, and by default let their shallow faith atrophy. And they grew comfortable in that soft place. One generation passed away, having failed to impart courage and vision to the next. (Exodus 12:33-41; 13:21-14:31; Deuteronomy 1:19-46)

But not all perished, and not all were weak. Moses, Caleb, and Joshua kept the torch burning, and it was now time to move. (Deuteronomy 2:13-18)

There is danger to becoming too comfortable. We settle on mountains of ease and lovely views, and allow heavenly perspective and boldness to wane. Vision gets tucked in to sleep, sliding into a dream and never progressing to action. Our ears prefer lullabies over fresh calling of God, so the will to obey relaxes, and zeal snoozes. Not only do we miss out on experiencing the wondrous works of God and the blessings of obedience, but we fail to inspire those who come behind us, rendering ineffective another generation. (Psalm 78:4; 84:12; 145:4-7)

On what mountain have we stayed long enough? The mount of financial ease and complacency where we’ve grown callous to the needs of others? Of protected living where we’ve lost all bravery for risk? Perhaps even of a daily habit with the Lord that has become rote and meaningless? What new land of generosity, ministry opportunity, or freshly inspired use of unique gifts has the Lord set before us? What change in our daily schedule would afford more time for deep thought, showing affection, renewal of spirit? When will we set out down the haughty hill of self-centeredness and managed control in pursuit of God’s good plan and place?

Whom has the Lord placed behind us who needs vital encouragement to go on? Whom can we influence and point to God by putting away ingrained apathy, or crassness, or resentment, and taking on new land of godliness? How can we take the best from mountain experience to equip us for conquering spiritual enemies and embracing biblical promises? The Lord who calls always equips, His presence our constant companion and His Word our guide. (Joshua 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Lord, keep me brave, and astute to Your calling, settling and moving on always at Your command and for Your glory’s sake. (Numbers 9:17)

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