The main focus of this BLOG, is to uphold those simple, and clearly defined truths, that are so often missing from Christian life and conversation.
(There may also be the odd film or book review along the way as well as stories from my life)
If you wish to use material from these posts, you may do so, but please respect the work of the writer. Proper attribution, and accurate quoting that is faithful to the context is appreciated.

Monday, 21 December 2015


My previous posts in this series took us down two different paths.

First we looked at the path through the wilderness. Here we talked about those things that can be learned on that path. It is where we can learn about; His word, our worship, our walk, how to war and how to wait.

Secondly, we looked at the path through the valley. Here we saw God in action on our behalf to; judge His enemies, to lead guide and comfort, to perform His word and to reward those that seek Him.

In this study we are going to a higher place. It's time to go up the mountain.

Once again, you have probably already thought of a few mountains. So let's go climbing shall we?

I have read a few books about mountain climbing, in particular books about Hillary and Everest, as well as others. I've learnt some things from these books which I will touch on in places, but for now, let's turn to the Bible.

Whenever we see mention of a mountain in the Bible. It is usually either an obstacle or a place of revelation. It is this aspect of revelation that I want to focus on.

The mountain is a place where God is revealed. It is a place where he reveals something of  Himself,
or something of His intention to us.

On Mt Sinai, God revealed Himself to Moses through His law and His word. His truth was revealed. Exodus 19-22

On Mt Carmel,  God demonstrated His power. His authority was revealed. 1 Kings 18:20-39.

On the top of Peor,  God revealed himself to Balaam, the pagan prophet, commanding him to bless and not curse. His will was revealed. Numbers 22-24.

On Mt Nebo, God met with Moses one last time and showed him Canaan, the land over Jordan. His promise was revealed. Deuteronomy 32:48-49.

On the Mount of Transfiguration. The disciples saw Jesus glorified. His divinity was revealed.  Mark 9:2-7 and Luke 9:28-35.

Whatever your experience on the mountain, and these examples are just a sampling, you cannot stay there. This was the error Peter made. He wanted to make booths and camp there. You must come down. The atmosphere is rarefied, the weather is changeable, unpredictable and you are exposed. Above a certain altitude, the top of the mountain is called "the death zone", and for very good reason.

Bear in mind that Moses died on Nebo because of his disobedience in the wilderness (see Deuteronomy above). The children of Israel camped around Kadesh Barnea for forty years because they refused to enter the land. Numbers14. Perhaps we could view Babel as an attempt to manufacture a mountain experience.

Whatever we learn on the mountain, we must also learn to carry it down. It is a well known fact among mountaineers, that more deaths occur on the descent than on the ascent. This is where climbers become careless. The climb up and the elation of the summit have taken their toll. Fatigue sets in, ego overrules wisdom. You have never really conquered a mountain by simply reaching the top. You must now get off it alive. You have to come down, because the mountain is not the finish of your journey.

If you're taken up the mountain, go up.

If you're not, then don't.

When you're told to go down, go.

Because whatever you've learnt there, you will carry with you on the next part of your journey. There may be another wilderness to cross, another valley to go through, another mountain to climb. This journey will continue until we come to the top of the final climb. Mt Zion.

So keep walking. It's not time to stop just yet.

Images used in this post.
"Light Path"
Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
"Mount Mckinley"
Image courtesy of bAll_llAd at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 14 December 2015


My previous post in this series covered the path through the wilderness. If you haven't read it yet, you can scroll down or follow this link. At the risk of being repetitive and boring. Let me remind you again, that our Christian walk takes us down numerous pathways. We don't choose which path or when, but we can choose how we walk through them. Along the way there are lessons to learn. The wilderness path helps us to learn about God's word, about worship, warfare, our walk and how to wait.

In this study we take a walk along a new path. It is the path through the valley.

And no doubt, once again, your mind will hurry off to think about all the valleys you've heard about from the Bible. At least two or three in particular. Well, reign in your thoughts. We will probably touch on much of what you were just thinking, but there may be some surprises in store for you.

The valley of Decision. Joel 3:14. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision. For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
I have a hunch, that this is one of those verses we are all familiar with, but don't understand. Because this is not a valley you want to find yourself in. This is not, as I suspect many of us may believe, a place of our decision. Where we get stuck while trying to make up our minds. This valley is also referred to as the valley of Jehoshaphat. It is the valley of God's decision, it is a place of His judgement. Look back at Joel 3:2 and you will see what I mean. It is a place where God brings down his judgement on the nations for their treatment of Israel. So again, you don't want to find yourself in this valley.

The valley of the shadow of death. Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff comfort me.
Okay, I quoted this from the NIV 2011 as I usually do. We are more familiar with the phrase "valley of the shadow of death". The Hebrew word that is used for valley in this verse means a narrow gorge. Deep in shadow. It is a place of foreboding and peril. Yet David knows that he does not walk this path alone. He knows that God goes with him, to guide, protect and comfort him.
A little side note, whenever you see a reference in the Bible about; a branch, staff, rod etc. It is often a metaphor for Jesus "the branch of Jesse".

The valley of dry bones. Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.
Ezekiel found himself in a broad flat valley. This valley had no shadow of death. Everything in it was dead. Nothing but dry bones, and God asks Ezekiel (vs3) "can these bones live?"
God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy. To speak words of life into the dry bones. Soon there stood before him a vast army.

The valley of weeping. Psalm 84:6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca (weeping), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
The verse prior to this speaks of pilgrimage. It is thought that the "Valley of weeping" is a reference to the sap running from the balsam trees that grew in the valley. This is in fact a joyous passage. The references to autumn and pilgrimage speaks of the feast of Tabernacles. In fact this Psalm is filled with familiar verses, and is rife with it's longing after the house and presence of God.

A superficial glance at these passages might give us a picture of a valley, that speaks of gloom, sorrow, foreboding and death. But a closer examination reveals that God is present in all of them.

In Joel 3, He is present to bring judgement on his enemies, and vindication for His children.

In Psalm 23, He is present to lead, guide and comfort us.

In Ezekiel 37, He is present to perform his word, and bring life where all we can see is death.

In Psalm 84, He is present as a reward for those that earnestly seek Him.

The path through the valley is not always smooth. It is a path that needs your careful attention. Stumbling and falling is a common hazard. Quite a few years ago (about 25 actually), I went with a group of friends though a place in Sydney's Blue Mountains called Claustral Canyon. It was a tight narrow path following a stream. It required abseiling down three waterfalls. The water was very cold, and some times the only way through was to swim. The canyon is a beautiful place, but it is also narrow and treacherous. In some places it is almost possible to touch both side of the canyon walls at once.
But did I mention? This place is dangerous. On this trip, we started out following a wrong path, as a result one of our friends nearly lost his life to hypothermia.

You may be stuck in a valley right now. It may seem narrow, hard and lifeless. It may seem as though the narrow places have blocked out all light. That the hand of God rests heavily upon you, as you weep out your tears of pain, confusion and frustration. This is not the place to give up. Valleys have streams and rivers running through them. In the midst of this confined place, is a place of refreshing. Do not turn from the path, follow it. A valley will either bring you out into a broad place.


It will bring you up to the mountain.

Images used in this post.
"Rocky river between steep and lush mountains"
Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

"Light Path" Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net