On The Mountain, and In The Valley
As you walk through the valley of the unknown, you will find the footprints of Jesus both in front of you and beside you. -Charles Stanley
The man who gazes upon and contemplates day by day the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, and who has caught the glow of the reality that the Lord is not a theory but an indwelling power and force in his life, is as a mirror reflecting the glory of the Lord. -Alan Redpath
Moses knew what it meant to be on the mountain top.
Exodus 24 records that “Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days… Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 24:15-18 ESV) experiencing the presence and glory of God.
Moses also knew the anguish of the valley.
He came down off of the mountain carrying the two tablets that God had given him – “The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.” (Exodus 32:16), only to find that the children of Israel had “made for themselves a golden calf, worshipped it… and sacrificed to it” (Exodus 32:8 ESV)
Moses was so distraught and enraged that he “threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.” (Exodus 32:19 ESV)
“Mountain tops” and “valleys.” Have you experienced the glory and presence of the Lord in one instant, only to turn the page and battle sin and brokenness? Anger…lust… fear… pain of loss… worry… anxiety. And you find yourself questioning the validity of the work that God had begun to write in your life, and on your heart.
What I love though about the story, is how God not only spoke to Moses on the mountain top, but He also spoke to him in the valley, telling him how to deal with the pain and problems he had encountered (Exodus 32:33, 33:1&5).
He is God… on the mountain. And He is God, in the valley.
Notice what Moses does next. He first dealt with the issues of sin and idolatry (rather harshly I might add – 3000 men died) (Exodus 32:28).
He then “rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone.” On the top of the mountain, “the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there.” (Exodus 34:4-5 ESV)
God then proclaims His glorious nature to Moses;
The Lord, the Lord…
A God merciful and gracious…
Slow to anger…
Abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…
Forgiving iniquity… and transgression, and sin…
“And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshipped.” (Exodus 34:8 ESV)
What’s interesting is that after experiencing the presence of the Lord, and worshipping, “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai… he did not know that his face shone because he had been talking with God.” (Exodus 34:29 ESV)
This reminds me of the passage in Acts 4 where the religious leaders “saw the boldness of Peter and John and, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 ESV)
If you haven’t noticed, the connection here is the presence of God.
Because of Christ, the Hebrews writer encourages us to “then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 ESV)
Practice being in the presence of God every day. It brings cleansing… and healing… and it will draw you to worship. His presence brings light to your darkness… hope to your anguish, glory to your valley.
That will turn your life around.