In a few days will be the 7th anniversary of my father’s martyrdom in the Philippines. His favorite verse and life calling came from an odd little verse. It is found in Matthew 28:16. It speaks of a mountain. There are many mountains in the Bible. Israel is a land of mountains; some tall and some short, but there are very few flat places in the whole nation. Even the desert is full of mountains. Most remain nameless and unknown, yet some are very special.
In every country, mountains have special significance according to their size or events that happened there. Consider some of the mountains that are significant in the Bible:
1) Abraham: Mt. Moriah Later called: Salem (peace) Jerusalem: “Founded on Peace”
“2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.” (Genesis 22:2-3)
Abraham did not know what would happen. God had promised to make him the father of a great nation and through him bless all the peoples of the world. Then God told him to go and sacrifice his son on the mountains where he would show him. And what was Abraham’s response: (v.3). “Early the next morning. . . he left! Immediate obedience.
In Abraham’s obedience God provided a substitute sacrifice, like he did for us in Jesus Christ. Abraham then named that place “14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:14)
2) Moses: Mt. Sinai (also called ‘Horeb’) means: “Shining”
God spoke to Moses from this mountain many times. It started with the burning bush episode (on Mt. Sinai), but over the forty years of wandering God often called Moses back to the mountain to speak to him. Moses had to go up the mountain to meet with God. God told him, “3Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel:
4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (Exodus 19:3-6)
God continued the promise made from Abraham, though his descendents, and all the way to Moses.
3) Deborah: Mt. Tabor Means: “to be fragile” or “broken”
Do you remember the name of the General of the Army who was afraid to obey God? Probably not. It was Barak. But do you remember Deborah? She took his place in the history books because of her obedience.
They were commanded by God “Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor.” (Judges 4:6) There Barak defeated the enemy army, but Deborah was the one who killed Sisera (their king).
Later in history, it was this very same mountain, which we call the mount of transfiguration where Jesus was glorified.
4) Gideon: Hid in the mountains surrounding the Midianites: Mt. Gilead; which means “Rugged”
The Lord called Gideon from obscurity and called him “mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12)
Then the Lord called him to form an army against the Midianites and Amalekites. He started off with 32,000 men. Quickly God reduced it to 10,000 and later to 300 (those that lapped like dogs were selected, those who knelt were not chosen). God chose the worst of the worst. God gave them an overwhelming victory in the mountains. They continued to pursue the enemy until there was no one left. Again, victory was given on a mountain.
5) Elijah: Mt. Carmel Carmel: Means “Fruitful” or “Plentiful”
Elijah was a prophet of God, yet the rulers of the time worshipped Baal. God called Elijah to a mountain to challenge the false gods. He was challenging the authority of the nation, yet also the authority of demons.
After he offered a prayer to God on that mountain, God proved himself to the false gods and Baal and his prophets were defeated. (1 Kings 18)
6) Jesus: Mt. Calvary (near Mt. Moriah) also called Golgotha and means “skull”; a symbol of death.
Jesus knew that this would be hard mountain to climb. (Matthew 26:39) “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” On that mountain Jesus bared the sins of the world and died for all our sin. He died so that we could be free.
Have you ever climbed a mountain? Is it easy or hard? It is Hard.
God often spoke to people in the Bible telling them to go up mountains to accomplish something. Could it be accomplished in the lowland? Yes, but God wanted them to be on a journey. He wanted to test their obedience and commitment.
There is one more mountain that I want to tell you about. This one is very special. You all know the Great Commission. We are to go into the whole world and preach the Gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). This is a continuation of what God wanted Abraham to do: Go and bless the nations! Abraham went. Moses went. Deborah went (because another wouldn’t). Gideon Went. Elijah went. Jesus also went up the mountain.
It cost them tremendously to obey and go up the mountain; but much of their struggle we will never know because what they accomplished on those mountains was so great. The hardship they went through to get there is forgotten because the prize so surpassed the sacrifice.
If we all know the Great Commission, why is it that still so many do not DO the Great Commission?
Here is the reason I think the Great Commission is not done by everyone. Look at this odd little verse (my Dad’s favorite verse) attached to the great calling of God for all believers:
Matthew 28:16 “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.”
First, they went to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. He could have given the promise to them anywhere. In a valley, or along a peaceful river, or near the sea of Galilee or in the temple in Jerusalem; But he had them climb a mountain. A journey had to be taken.
When they obeyed the first part: climb the mountain. . . then he gave them the second part : Go into all the world! God wants us to continue to be a blessing to the nations just as he used Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Gideon and Elijah before us.
What mountain has God called you to? What journey has God asked you to do? There can be only one response. Go Immediately. Go where he tells you to go, bless the nations and you will be blessed. Go climb that mountain he wants you to climb. You will not know what awaits you at the top of the mountain until you get there. You won’t know his promise until you stand on that mountain. But I can guarantee you that the journey you take to climb that mountain will be worth it.
They journey will be hard, but God will help you all along the way. Go in faith and obedience. Climb your mountain!