MOSES WENT UP THE MOUNTAINS
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
“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.
MOUNTAIN AT REPHIDIM
"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).
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
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
"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).