Monday, July 27, 2015

On the Mountaintop? (Revisit)

© by Gailen Mapes, All Rights Reserved
This is another of those images that evokes interesting thought trains.  It’s Scotts Bluff, in Nebraska.  And the fog has set in.  I looked at this and immediately my mind leapt to the various concepts people create of our relationships with God.  Many create a mental image of God sitting on the mountaintop, aloof from what goes on down here, undisturbed by the fog because He has no real interest in our circumstances, and wants to keep a distance and mystery in our experience of Him.  But is that myth or reality?

What does probably the most well known Bible verse, John 3:16, say?  It reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  And those first words in the verse are “For God so loved the world”.  Not just those who follow Him, but His entire creation.

When you go back to the creation account in Genesis 1, God made all the different parts of the universe, light and dark, land and sea, all the plants and animals, and determined “it was good”.  Then came Adam, who God thought enough of to put him in charge of this planet.  Adam and Eve didn’t do so well at maintaining their relationship with God, tainted the rest of existence as a result.  Did God go off to the mountaintop and separate Himself from us?

If you go through the Old Testament, there are numerous times where God injects Himself into history.  To protect us from ourselves, mostly.  Because He cares what happens to us.  Then there’s the verse we quoted.  Think about all its ramifications.  God is all knowing and all powerful.  He’s also the source and only true essence of love.  In other words, God knew our spiritual relationship with Him would get derailed…before it even happened.  So, He came up with the solution before there was a problem.  And it’s important we understand God’s solution.

The Greek word we translate as “Son” can mean that, but it can denote a figurative kinship.  In fact, God gave us, in time, an eternal part of Himself.  And, mixed that deity with our humanity.  Because it would take that combination to fully and properly take what was coming next.  Jesus was born in a barn stall, with all that meant.  He and His family had to flee to Egypt so He could stay alive.  Jesus spent most of His life being misunderstood.  As He came into His ministry, He was mocked and hated.  People plotted against Him.  Jesus was attacked by demons, scourged, then crucified.  His human body died in agony and was buried in the ground.  All of that because Jesus had to be our replacement and take on all our sin, past, present and future, if we were to be redeemed from our natural inheritance from Adam.

Whether it was a man, God’s Son or God Himself going through all of that, it’s pretty amazing.  More so because it was preplanned and God really could have let us stew in our own mess.  But it gets better.  Jesus, as a man, could have just died.  In which case, He would have been an amazing man for going through all that He did with the kind of love for man that it showed.  But, as just a man, that was meaningless.  Jesus said He would rise again on the third day.  And He did just that, seen by hundreds.  And really recognized as God.

Hebrews 13:5b says, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  That’s written to His disciples.  But, if you go through the Bible, it’s clear that God never let us go, even when we weren’t in proper relationship to Him.  Isn’t that the kind of God that we want to start a relationship with?  Or, if we’ve strayed, regain that relationship with?  Or, if we have a good relationship with God, strengthen that even more? 

He’s ready to meet us where we are, to make that relationship real and strong.  Because God isn’t hiding in the fog, on the mountaintop.  Part of Him is always near, prepared to take us to new heights…with Him.  Talk to Him.  Let Him know you want that relationship and you want it to grow.  We never know what’s going to happen next.  So, before it’s too late, talk to Him now and let God be a real part of your life.

What are you doing to meet God here and on the mountaintop?

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