PSALM 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by The LORD and he delights in His way
Two paintings in our collection show a view of steps. The first by the late Ian Purvis shows steps in a Mediterranean village lane going uphill, and a painting by myself of the Calvari Steps in Pollensa, Mallorca, is of the scene looking down to the cathedral.
Our Fellowship meeting recently dwelt for a time on mountains in Scripture, their meaning and spiritual significance.
Reading Hebrews 12, there appeared to be a pattern over the chapter of ascending to the spiritual peak of Zion, and then an encouragement to hear the Lord's voice when we are living our daily lives in the valley below. Keeping our minds and hearts set upon the glorious heights above, of which we have tasted and been filled.
The chapter emphasises the allusion and talks of a literal peak from verse 18 ¶ For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
The Chapter concludes thus: 28 Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire.
He will burn away all that is not of Him within us - the 'refiner's fire' - eliminating the impurities.
The daily reality for us is in letting The LORD lead us down the spiritual mountainside to fellowship in His church (remain in His presence), and to lead us on our journey up and down the spiritual slopes of our lives - strengthening the bond of love with Him, until at last we come into rest in Zion, The City of the Living God.
PSALM 119:133 "Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me"
THE POWER TO DESCEND
Following this meditation on climbing the hill to Zion, we came across this paragraph in Oswald Chamber's 'The Love of God' which seems an effective coda to what we have already shared ...
"The test of spiritual life is the power to descend; if we have power to rise only, there is something wrong. We all have had times on the mount when we have seen things from God's standpoint and we wanted to stay there; but if we are disciples of Jesus Christ, He will never allow us to stay there.
Spiritual selfishness makes us want to stay on the mount; we feel so good, as if we could do anything - talk like angels and live like angels, if only we could stay there. But there must be the power to descend; the mountain is not the place for us to live, we were built for the valleys.
This is one of the hardest things to learn because spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mount."