Sheer awe was the feeling I had as I overlooked the Yosemite Valley from atop Yosemite Falls. That feeling was the payoff for a long, and I do mean long, hike. Hours earlier I had almost given up as I looked up at those ominous zig-zagging trails carved into the face of the granite wall. My knees already hurt, my body was worn out, but I had come this far. I convinced myself it was just a few more feet and that I could make it. And I did.
If you’ve never seen the Yosemite valley from above, then you’ve truly missed out on one of the most spectacular views on planet Earth (though I recommend driving to the top of Glacier Point in your car). It’s an additional 2,000 feet and saves you the six plus hours you’ll invest into the hike I took (wish someone had told me that). The view is amazing and you’ll thank me later.
I imagine a similar and even greater feeling of awe surged through Peter as he stood atop the Mount of Transfiguration. He watched as Jesus took off his humanity for a moment and let the brilliance of his deity shine forth. He saw Jesus sit down for a conversation with Elijah and Moses. He was certainly awestruck! “It is good for us to be here,” Peter exclaimed in excitement.
Of course it’s good for you to be here Peter! Jesus had told the disciples that greater things than these you would see. He had prophesied that you would see Heaven open up and angels ascending and descending on Himself. Peter had boldly proclaimed that Jesus was not just the son of man, but the Son of God. If they had been paying attention, they would have known that this spectacular moment was coming.
Peter had a brilliant idea, “Let’s build a tent, and camp out here!”
Then as quickly as it came, it went. Jesus robed Himself once again in his humanity and led them back down the mountain cautioning them not to share the event until later.
Jesus! Are you kidding? We can’t stay here awhile? Can’t we continue to bask in Your glory? Why not forget about everyone else and just remain? And don’t share this with the others? I don’t get this!
They missed something very important and something that many of us often miss as well…there was a purpose for this mountain!
My hike to the top of Yosemite Falls gave me a spectacular view I did not previously have, and now will never forget. Imagine what would have happened if I had chosen to remain on top of the falls. Sure I could have made it a few days… but sooner or later I’d have to come back down. Why? The mountain top is a place to visit, but not live.
I remember when I had my first encounter with the power and presence of God in the midst of revival. I was pastoring a youth group at the time. It was a powerful “mountain top” experience that forever changed me. I was overwhelmed! One night I made a foolish statement to my teenagers. I said, “We are going to the top of the mountain to experience God, if you’re not interested – there’s the door!”
Why was this foolish? Because God is not looking for lone mountain climbers! He is looking for leaders willing to go up the mountain alone if need be, and then come back down to lead the people to their own mountain.
Consider Moses. Moses had a mountain top experience where he spent weeks in the Glory Cloud. Yet Moses understood that there was a purpose to this mountain. It was an important destination on their journey, but it was not the final destination. Moses was given the option to remain with God and forget the rest of the Israelite camp, but he refused. He desired for God to come down with him to lead the people to the Promise Land. Moses wasn’t selfish, he was truly humble!
I have met to many well meaning people who believe that it is the ultimate experience to climb to the top of the mountain to experience the Glory of God and never come down from that experience. They miss the purpose of their mountain.
Thank God for the mountain! When Moses first visited the mountain he encountered God in a burning bush. His second trip there he encountered God upon a burning mountain. His last mountain he sat down for a face to face with the Son of God. God has mountain top experiences awaiting every believer willing to ascend the hill…but there is a purpose for that mountain.
God is not looking for those content to simply camp out on a mountain top! God is looking for those willing to ascend the mountain, get some glory on their face and come back down to walk with the people (for 40 years in the desert in Moses’ case).
I promise, there is a mountain moment ahead for you. Know that on that mountain God is looking to expand your vision and give you divine revelation for the journey ahead. And do not forget that as quick as that moment came, it will pass and it will be time for you to come back down the mountain to walk among the people in your life to help lead them toward their own encounter with God. Don’t miss the purpose for your mountain!