“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths” (Isaiah 2:3).
I used to do a lot of hiking, and I’ve been missing it more and more. Las Vegas is in a valley, but we have mountains all around us. When it snows, Mount Charleston looks incredibly inviting, but oh so often I put it off. “Next time!” I tell myself. “I’m busy right now, but next time I’ll be able to get out of this valley!”
Here’s the thing about valleys, though: you don’t see the big picture. You become focused on what you’re doing. I used to work in the wilderness, and there is a huge difference when you’re on a mountaintop than when you’re in a ravine. From a mountain, you have a perspective that nearly threatens to take your breath as you behold the awesome majesty of the world. Land and direction make a bit more sense as you can see everything at once, maybe even things you didn’t see before. There’s also a sense of security; being higher up gives the advantage of a better view so it’s easier to see danger as it approaches. Security, majesty, perspective—it’s little surprise to me that people in the Bible often went to a mountain to seek the Lord.
Moses may have had the greatest of all hikes. When he climbed Mount Sinai, he was in the physical presence of the Lord, as close to God as he could possibly get without getting killed (Exodus 33). It was there that the Lord gave Moses His commandments. Meanwhile, back in the valley, the people grew fearful. They didn’t know what was happening, so they sought their own solutions to the situation. If they had perspective, maybe they would have known to wait.
God invites us to enjoy His presence, to join Him on His mountain. So often I get carried away with the details and get bogged down in the valley of life. I look to the mountain and think that I’ll get there eventually, but I continue to labor in the valley. When I finally get to that blessed mountaintop, I always ask myself, “Why didn’t I come here sooner?”