Home   e-Library       中文 
e-Library Home |  Browse By Category |  Study the Bible    
 (Living Waters 1986 Spring)
Moses Went Up the Mountains
TOC | Previous | Next


Derren Liang

In the Bible, mountains typify spiritual plateaus and the highest spiritual significance.  Abraham went up MountMoriah to sacrifice his only son; Elijah fought against the false prophets on Mount Carmel; the transfiguration of Jesus was on the top of the mountain; the HolyCity, New Jerusalem is to descend on the mountains.  The life experiences of Moses centered around several mountains of which not only lie was changed, but the Israelites were delivered also.  Today we can learn from Moses' experiences on these mountains in our spiritual journey to the heavenly kingdom.


“Moses led his flock to Horeb, the mountain of God.” (Ex 3:1) Moses denied himself on MountHoreb.

Being well trained for forty years in the palace, Moses was self-willed and confident of his own might to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt.  But, he was still in the flesh and not ready to be a noble vessel of God, even thought he forsook the palace and its fame and riches.  Therefore, Moses had to be trained in the wilderness for forty years to become a humble, patient, spiritual leader.  "Who am 1?" (Ex 3:1 1) Moses responded to God's calling for he recognized himself as merely a man unworthy and incapable of carrying out this noble task.  With the promise of God, "I will be with you," Moses was able to accomplish this entrustment by the power of God.  To deny oneself is the fundamental pre-requisite for God's abidance.  As a vessel worthy of use, God's power, God's will and God's divine character was manifested through Moses for God's glory.

To ascend to MountHoreb is the prime lesson for those who are determined to live for God.  After one is refined through hardship to deny himself, great works will be entrusted to him.  Jesus said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself." (Mt 16:24).  Therefore, for the sake of following Jesus and taking up the responsibility given by Him, we need to go up to MountHoreb to be disciplined.


"Then came Amalek and they fought with the Israelites at Rephidim." (Ex 17:8).  The Amalek, the descendants of Esau, typify the lusts of the flesh.

Because many elderly and weak Israelites were killed in the wilderness, the Amalek became the enemy of the Israelites.  Moses fought and defeated the Amalek which typifies our fight and victory over the flesh.  The lust of the flesh defeated the first man, Adam; it also defeated the mighty soldiers David and Samson; it defeated the wise King Solomon, and Judah, the disciple of Jesus; it defeated Noah's generation, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and it is defeating our generation today.  Due to the desires of the flesh, we lose the freedom to do what is right, which cause us to be enemies of God.  Thus, we lose our part in the Kingdom of God (Gal 5:21).  Subduing fleshly desires is the key to avoid committing sins.  Paul pummeled and subdued his body lest, after preaching to others, he himself should be disqualified (I Cor 9:27).

"Moses.. went up to the top of the mountain. Whenever he held up his hands, the Israelites prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalek prevailed.  " (Ex 17: 10-1 1).  The lust of the flesh and the Holy Spirit are enemies.  Whenever we raise up our hands to pray and be filled by the Holy Spirit, we can overcome our fleshly weaknesses, but whenever we lower our hands and become negligent in prayer, we are easily captured by the enemy of the Holy Spirit and become men of flesh.  Paul was often at war with his flesh, but through prayer, he was victorious.  In order not to lose our spiritual lives, we need to go up to MountRephidim to battle our flesh and be spiritual men.


"Moses ... and seventy of the elders of Israel went up and they saw the God of Israel.  " (Ex 24:9-10).  To be able to see God is the climax of man's spiritual experience. "...and the people stood afar off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.  " (Ex 20:21). 

Without holiness, no one can see God.  The Israelite people stood far from God because of their impurity, but Moses was able to draw near to God because of his holiness.  To live a life without sin will enable to reach God through our prayers (Is 59:12).  We then can abide with God and He with us in unity and receive the grace reserved for us after we pass through the "curtain" to the mercy seat in the Holiest of Holy.  Job was able to say, "Now my eye sees thee" (Job 42:5) after his self-righteousness was removed through trials.  Through the advancement of our spirituality, we shorten the distance between God and ourselves.  It is a great elevation of our faith when we are able to experience Him in our daily lives and not just acknowledge His existence theoretically.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he did not know the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (Ex 34:29).  Moses changed after talking with God face to face.  Stephen, after he was transformed by the fullness of the Holy Spirit, had a face like an angel.  When man has deep communication with God in His Word and His Spirit, he will reflect the divine character of God and thus magnify the glory of God.

"...had not Moses stood in the breach before Him to turn away His wrath from destroying them." (Ps 106:23).  The Israelites angered God and created a breach between themselves and God by building a golden calf to worship.  On the basis of God's unfailing love, His unchanging promise, and His everlasting glory, Moses went up to Mount Sinai to intercede for the Israelites for the forgiveness of their sins.  God is looking for men who can stand in the breach when there is a decline of faith, love and fervency in belief, when there is disharmony between workers which hinder the development of the holy work (Eze 22:30), when God's people sin, to obtain mercy and grace for the revival of His Kingdom.  Therefore, in order to see God, to nurture divine characters and to stand in the breach before God, we need to go up to Mount Sinai.


"Moses went up from the plains of Moab to MountNebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho." (Deut 34:1).  After many hardships and at an advanced age, Moses finally led the Israelites to the border of Canaan, the promised land of milk and honey in which the Israelites believed and had for generations hoped to obtain.  In our spiritual journey, we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).  Even though we cannot see the promised HeavenlyKingdom now, we believe in God's promise.  This belief enables us to endure all sufferings in life, even unto death, and to strive diligently without delay crossing the sea of bitterness towards that promised land of peace.  We now believe in the HeavenlyKingdom and one day we shall behold its glory.

"I have let you see it with your eyes." (Deut 34:4).  When Moses looked back on MountNebo, it was a great and terrible wilderness though which he had traveled for forty years; when he looked ahead, it was the promised land of Canaan.  Similarly, the life of King Solomon was filled with pleasure, but when he looked ahead, it was nothing but emptiness.  The Apostle Paul endured great tribulations in a life of servitude to God, but before he was called to that beautiful shore, he was singing songs of victory expecting the crown of righteousness.  In order to enjoy the satisfaction of viewing the promised land on Mount Nebo, you must be determined to walk with God in the wilderness for you reap what you sow (Gal 6:7).

The journeys in the wilderness in the life of Moses started from MountHoreb, passing Mount Mount Rephidim, up to Mount Sinai, and ended on MountNebo.

The journey of our faith should be the same as that of Moses.  Beginning from MountHoreb (totally broken to oneself), passing through the mountain at Rephidim (overcome oneself), then to Mount Sinai (intimate spiritual communion with God), finally climbing to the top of MountNebo (longing for the reality of the HeavenlyKingdom).