Two Mountains

“You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm. But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.” -Hebrews 12:18, 22-23

My spirit soars when I sit at the base of the snow-capped Sierras. Even though they’re grand and glacier-scarred, their beauty makes them approachable. I don’t feel that way about Mount St. Helens, the volcano at the northern edge of the same range. That mountain blew its top years ago, and an eerie plume of smoke still rises from the crater. There’s nothing approachable about Mount St. Helens.

The twelfth chapter of Hebrews reads like a topography of mountains. Mount Sinai burns with fire and is surrounded in darkness and lightning. Even Moses was afraid of it. But then there’s Mount Zion, a place of angelic joy and happy assembly. This mountain is one glorious destination.

Two mountains. Two views of life. One depicts a God of gloom and doom. The other represents a God of joy and forgiveness. How often we find ourselves living in the frightening shadows of Mount Sinai, confronted by our inability to live up to the demands of a Holy God, consumed by guilt, and backsliding in despair. That kind of lifestyle paralyzes you with failure after failure.

Don’t pitch your tent at the foot of that fearful mountain. Brush up on your topography and walk in the direction of Zion today.

“May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life” (Psalm 128:5).

Lord of Mount Zion, I give You my striving and straining. I give You my defeat and despair. May I place my trust in You and discover along the way that Your dwelling place, Zion, is where I long to be.
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