“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.'” (Psalm 91: 1,2)
“Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 36: 6,7)
God's Holiness is like a mountain....an imposing mountain. For sinners (like me), it is a formidable and confrontational mountain. It is a mountain we cannot scale. We can neither climb over it nor can we “conquer” it. We cannot move it. It is a mountain we cannot “get around”. We cannot ignore it, “wish” it away, water it down or dissolve it in philosophical or religious speculations (try desperately as we might.....)
Before God's high and immutable Sovereignty and Holiness, we are...quite appropriately, I believe ... brought low and humbled. That's just the way it is. And that's just the way it ought to be.
In the Old Testament scriptures, we are told about the trials and tribulations of two of the most prominent and important personalities in ancient Jewish (and all of human) history.... Moses and the Prophet Elijah.
We are told that when these men experienced profound disillusionment, disappointment and discouragement, God brought them, separately at different times, to a desert mountain, a mountain called Sinai (also called Mt. Horeb).
It was there on this mountain that God gave each of them new life and new purpose. He revived and revitalized them there, and He did so by revealing Himself , His nature and His plan to them more fully and completely. And He did this in a most intriguing way.....
God “hid” both of these men in the side of Sinai, the Holy Mountain. In Elijah's case, this “hiding place” is referred to in scripture simply as a “cave” (1 Kings 19: 9-12). And there with the prophet safely in that cave, God “passed by” (v. 11) . And as He passed by, He communicated audibly to Elijah in a “gentle whisper” (v. 12).
In Moses' case, the hiding place is identified for us as a “cleft in the rock” (Exodus 33: 21- 22). On this particular occasion, God communicated visually to His servant. This time as He “passed by” (v. 22), God gently protected Moses by cupping His hand around him until only God's non-consuming attributes, His Love and Mercy, could be seen.
It is interesting to note that the word translated “cleft” (Exodus 33:22) is derived from a Hebrew word meaning “pierced” ( like a wound...?).
The word translated “cave” (1 Kings 19: 9) is derived from a Hebrew word meaning “to wake” or to “open the eyes” (like a revelation...?)
God chose to provide these two men with a deeper understanding of who He is from the unique vantage point of the “cave” (in Elijah's case) and the “cleft” (in Moses' case ). And God did so in the overshadowing context of His Holiness. That is, He did so on the mountain. He did so from the high place of Mount Sinai/ Mount Horeb where He also gave mankind The Decalogue/The Ten Commandments....the Holy Law.)
Desert Mountain, Wound of Grace
Lord, we see Your Holy Mountain
In the distant desert light;
Teach us, Father, of Your Grace there...
Give the spirit-blinded sight.
Take us high into Your Mountain...
Place us in that wound above.
Teach us, Lord, Amazing Grace there
And of Sacrificial Love.
Help us find the Mountain's fissure,
Help us find this Wound of Grace.
Grant us there your Holy Presence;
Help us, Father, see Your Face!
Let Your Glory pass before us.
Put us in Your Hiding Place!
Perfect Lamb of God provided
Refuge for the human race.
Help us find that Cleft provided
Like the empty Garden Tomb.
Doubting Thomas, put your hand there...
Enter here the second womb.
Give us shelter in that Mountain...
Teach us how to dwell therein.
Nurture us by Truth's provision
So we may be born again!
Show us there sweet Mercy, Father...
From that wound please help us see!
Resurrect each broken spirit...
Cleanse us for Eternity.
“The fall of humanity is admittedly difficult to fathom; however once it is admitted into one's world view, the enigmas of the human condition are explained and the human landscape is illuminated as never before.” --Douglas Groothuis
“[God's] ...sovereignty is only tyrannical if it is unbounded by goodness. Holiness is terrifying if it is untempered by grace; omniscience is only taunting if it is unaccompanied by mercy; and immutability is only tortuous if there is no guarantee of goodwill.” --Ravi Zacharias