Imagine walking up a mountain alone. But it’s no ordinary mountain. The ground beneath you is shaking, and the entire mountain is covered in smoke. At its peak is a thick cloud with lightning and thunder. God descends onto the mountain in fire, and each time you speak to him, he responds in thunder. This is what Moses experienced in Exodus 19.
Now compare that experience to your last time in prayer.
Distracted, obligatory, ordinary—I doubt any such words came across Moses’ mind as he ascended the mountain. But some 3,000 years later, we rarely marvel that God permits imperfect humans into his presence.
How did the shocking become so ordinary to us? Is it even possible for our experiences with God to be that fascinating?
Going Up the Mountain
A mentor of mine lives in India. Last year, he called me on the phone crying, distraught over the state of the church in America. “It seems like the people in America would be content to take a selfie with Moses. Don’t they know they can go up the mountain themselves? Why don’t they want to go up the mountain?”
When was the last time you enjoyed meaningful time alone with God? Time so good that you didn’t want to leave. It was just you, reading God’s words, in his holy presence.
I was 15 years old when my youth pastor taught me how to pray and read the Bible alone. Now, more than 30 years later, I still can’t find a better way to start my days. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t refocus daily by going up the mountain.
It is alone with him that I empty myself of pride, lies and stress.
• Pride: Standing before a Person clothed in unapproachable light has a way of humbling you (1 Timothy 6:16).
• Lies: Speaking to an All-Knowing Judge tends to induce honesty (Hebrews 4:13).
• Stress: Kneeling before the God who causes men to fail or succeed replaces our anxiety with peace (Psalm 127:1).