Summary: A message about getting out of ruts, of being decanted like wine (emptied from vessel to vessel) The dangers of stagnation, and the upward call of God in Christ.
Shake it Up
De 1:6 "The LORD our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying, 'You have stayed long enough at this mountain.
De 1:7 'Turn and set 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 Negev and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.
De 1:8 'See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them.'
Meanings of the word mountain:
Moses is preparing them to enter the promised land, and in so doing he recounts a specific incident in their past which also has relevance to their present situation. You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It's time to move on. In like manner he is telling them the 40 years in the wilderness has come to an end, you have circled this wilderness long enough it is time to move on.
I want to use that idea to talk about the need for growth and change in our lives. We will also look at a couple other passages and discuss the need for God to shake things up. Particularly the need to get out of ruts. Spiritual ruts, personal ruts, relational ruts. We have today an illness in and among Christians that I call "Tread Mill Christianity." Sure we are moving about; involved in a number of things, but all we are really doing is going nowhere.
So in the text before us God tells them it was time to leave the mountain. They had spent a year getting instructions on the law, and how to build a tabernacle for God to dwell in. It was time to move on there are other lessons to be learned. Some Christians never leave this first mountain, because they keep falling into the same sin, it is time to leave that mountain.
There are two basic meanings of mountains in scripture the first is:
An obstacle, A hindrance, A challenge, A situation of impossibility, Difficulties, Problems
You have been living in fear too long
You have been struggling with anger too long
You have been depressed too long
You have been unemployed too long (market conditions or stronghold*)
Some unemployment is a reflection of market conditions some is because a person has given up
in defeat and now won't even try. Every possibility is shot down before it is explored, because, "I already tried that." You need to get out of that rut and leave that mountain.
You have been bound by a sin too long
You have been discouraged too long
You have been prayerless too long.
Does It seem that you are not making any true progress.
In fact, if you were totally honest with yourself could you say you are pretty much where you were five years ago?
It would be really tragic to look back over the past five years and realize that you are in fact not as far along as you were five years ago. You have actually gone backward.
Some people's lives seem to be going nowhere, they are in a rut. Life has become routine.
It is sad to watch someone who is going nowhere.
For almost 40 years the children of Israel were circling the same wilderness. They were moving, the only problem, they were moving in circles.
Finally the Lord spoke to Moses and declared, "You have circled this mountain long enough."
It is time to move on.
I want to help you with that today.
Before we get to that I want to talk about the other meaning of mountain in the scripture, and talk briefly how people have been living at that mountain too long also.
The first meaning was obstical or problem, the other meaning of mountain is a special place of communion with God.
Moses face glowed on the mountain. Jesus was transfigured on the mountain.
He will make my feet like hinds feet and cause me to walk on my high places. (Habakkuk, one of my favorite scriptures talking about high places of fellowship with God)
God took Moses up to a Mountain and showed him all of the promised land and His vision for the Jewish nation. Mountains are a place of revelation and communication from God.
So mountains speak of places that are especially blessed.
The Jews in their wilderness wanderings came to a place called Elim, which was not a mountain, per se, but what we would call a place of mountain top experience. There was an abundance of food and water there.