Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When Morning Gilds The Skies"1 (Lyrics)
I have been to the west coast of Mexico a few times, and the approach to Puerta Vallarta is always memorable. The airplane arcs over the grey dragon-spine of the Sierra Madre Mountains and circles over the sparkling sea to make its landing at the airport. It's awe-inspiring and delightful, a sight not to be forgotten. Mountains have been objects of awe and fascination over the centuries; no wonder the Scriptures speak of them to inspire and wonder!
Psalm 121:1-2 – I will lift up my eyes to the hills — from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. (NKJV)
The writer of Hebrews draws on the mountain imagery to illustrate the new covenant with God.
Hebrews 12:18-20a,22-24 – For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. For they could not endure what was commanded. … But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. (NKJV)
The revelation of God at Mount Sinai was central to the formation of Israel's worship of God, known as the old covenant. As the people approached the mountain, it was a scene of terror: a "no trespassing" sign, thunder, lightning, clouds of smoke, ear-splitting trumpet blasts, and earthquakes. The reaction, of course, was fear! Yet, none of these sights and sounds was enough to inspire holiness among God's people. Forty days later, they were worshipping a golden calf idol.
The other mountain, Zion, is a vastly different panorama. It's the beautiful city of God, of His heaven, not of laws or desolation, but for all of God's redeemed believers. The living God is described as the God and Judge of all, and Jesus as the Mediator of the new covenant, made possible because His sacrificial death satisfied the justice of God, making those who believe in Him holy and perfect before Him. The vision of Zion is not about "no trespassing", but a glorious invitation into fellowship with God.
Perhaps the idea of personal holiness seems foreign to you, as you have tried to earn and deserve acceptance from God. Have you drifted away because you decided that you could never be good enough to be accepted by Him? The truth is that His arms are open wide, inviting you to the mountain, the city of the living God, where Jesus has paid the price for you to be a welcome and honoured pilgrim. I pray that you will turn to Him today, accept His invitation, and live for Him.
Prayer: We praise Your holy name today, Lord, for the vision of Your heaven, which is open to us by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Zion. May we come to You with joy and adoration for the welcome that we find there. Amen.
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Thanks for the good word, Shirley.
Very encouraging, thanks and blessings Shirley!
In this Lenten season we approach God in reverence and gratitude for Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer.
Thanks, Shirley. When I lived on a mountainside in California, those verses in Psalms were on a plaque at my gate.
Blessings Shirley for this special writing today. The joy and glory brought into our lives by seeking and abiding by the Lord’s words is comparative to the feelings of views from a mountain top. Thanks for your encouraging words.
“We’re matching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion…” are the words from the old hymn that sprang up into my mind while reading your inspirational words today. Thanks for sparking my memory. Blessings to you as we March today.
Thank you for this devotional.
The ‘invitation’ is ever beautiful. The ‘prodigal’ is ever welcome back.
I have a son who teaches at University who has been immersed in the amazing spiritual movement that started in a chapel service on campus and has literally reached around the world. God is at work and prodigals are returning.
Good morning, Shirley,
A lovely reminder that we do not have to earn our way to the Mountain of Zion. We have a ticket purchased for us by Jesus.
Because it does not seem to work this way on earth, sometimes we find it hard to believe that it is true. Quite often if it is a good deal on earth, then it probably isn’t true as we see with so many of us falling for scammers.
However, Jesus is the real thing as you write. Let us all be joyful and have faith. Blessings.