Summary: We often talk about Mountain top experiences, this message looks at what it takes to get there
Have you ever been high? I mean really high? I have and I have discovered that it adds a certain clarity to your vision, there is very little like the experience of standing high above the crowd and being able to see for miles. What did you think I meant?
I was an army brat and we lived for three years in Germany. While in Europe we had the opportunity to travel to a half a dozen different countries and one of the highlights of that time was our trip to the Swiss Alps. I was a little disappointed, I was six and thought we were going to see elfs and instead it turned out to be mountains. Oh well, but even as a child I remember being mesmerized by how far you could see.
While we were living in Australia one of our favourite places to take visitors was Mount Glorious, and with a name like that you would assume that the view would be spectacular and it was. I mentioned last week that in 1981 my summer job took me to the magnetic North Pole and while there was no great amount of height we were at the top of the world and because of the lack of curvature the views were absolutely breath taking.
In the scripture that was read earlier David says Psalm 18:33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. Some of you might be more familiar with it in the King James Version where it says Psalm 18:33 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.
It seems like throughout the scriptures that the highpoints often happen on mountain tops. It was on Mount Sinai that God met with Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments. It was on Mount Ararat that the Ark came to a rest when the flood waters subsided. It was on Mount Carmel that the prophet Elijah faced off against the priest of Baal and proved to them the power of God. And Jerusalem is often referred to as God’s Holy Mountain.
Time and time again we read references in the Psalms to mountain tops and high places and David asks the question in Psalm 24:3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?
In the New Testament we are often told that Jesus went up to the Mountain to pray and we read in Mark 9:2-3 Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. In churchy terms that is called the Mount of Transfiguration. We are told in Matthew that when Jesus ascended into heaven it was from a mountain top, and in Revelation 21:10 John writes So he (God) took me in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
And people often talk about Mountain top experiences meaning a high point in their life whether it is spiritual, relational or in regards to their career.
Martin Luther King Jr. said “I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land.”
This morning we are going to take a few moments and look at “The View From the High Place”
1) It’s Not For Everyone Let’s go back to Psalm 24:3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? From that question we can assume that if the question is who may? That there is another group of people who may not! Psalm 24:3 is actually a rhetorical question, which is one that you aren’t really looking for an answer for. Kind of like “How dumb do you think I am?” Or “Can you believe I did that?”
So David goes on to provide an answer to his own question. Psalm 24:4-5 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their saviour
We live in a society that is very universalist in it’s spiritual view, that is: many people, including many people in churches think that just about everyone will get to heaven and because of that just about everyone will share the same spiritual blessings. In other words, you don’t really have to have a relationship with God, you don’t have to acknowledge your sinfulness or accept the forgiveness offered by God in order to get your share of what He has to offer. As long as you’re not really bad everything will be all right. And by really bad they mean serial killer bad. As someone said a while back, “we have condensed the Ten Commandments down to ‘Thou shalt not kill.’” And that is relative, for some it means we shall not kill accept those convicted of murder, whether they are guilty or not and for others it means we shall not kill accept for pre-born children.