Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Breathless at 14, 000 Feet!

Matthew 14:23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

Mountain top experiences are found frequently in the Bible.  Some of them are great experiences and some of them are not so great.

Moses spent a lot of time at the top of Mt. Sinai receiving the new way of worship for his people who had been saved from the bondage of Egypt.  Moses also saw the Promised Land from the top of a mountain before he died.  The Lord taught the Sermon on the Mount from the top of a mountain.  He was transfigured before Peter, James and John on the top of a mountain.  In that experience we learn that Moses and Elijah still exist and they seem to be enjoying life in heaven.  We also see the Lord in His glory.  The Lord commissioned his disciples in a mountain in Galilee after the resurrection.  But Satan also tempted the Lord to worship him on the top of a mountain.  The false worship of Samaria was associated with a mountain.

I have often wondered why the Lord went up into a mountain to pray.  Did he get closer to His Father there than He could on earth?  I doubt it!  But you will notice that when he went up on the mountain He was alone.  I suspect there are a lot of people like me that do not find climbing mountains to be thrilling.  As a matter of fact, I have recently been to the top of Mt. Evans in Colorado, and I was told that I was seeing great things in the distance.  However, if someone hadn’t told me what I was seeing, I wouldn’t have had a clue as to what I was looking at.  The grand view was beautiful and panoramic, but the mountains in the distance all looked the same to me.  In addition to that, being above 14,000 feet on a summer’s day, left me short of breath and a little dizzy.  This Iowa boy who normally lives at about 880 feet above sea level found that breathing at 14,000 feet above sea level was almost an “out of this world” experience.  I suspect that the Lord climbed the mountain so that He would not have a lot of people bothering him rather than climbing it so that He could get closer to His Father.

Moses was on a mountain that was about 7,500 feet above sea level.   Mount Herman, near Lebanon is about 9,200 feet.  The other mountains in Israel are less than 4,000 feet.  So most of the mountains in Israel seem to be at a lower elevation than Denver, the mile high city.  Many people would call the mountains in Israel and the surrounding area big hills rather than mountains.  Nevertheless, climbing to the top of the mountains would likely allow for a certain amount of solitude, particularly if you did this at night which the Lord often did.

I am expecting to enjoy a “mountain top” experience when the Lord comes or if I am called home by way of death before He returns.  However, I have come to the conclusion that mountain top experiences in this life are way overrated.  If you want to be light headed and sick to your stomach, climb mountains. However, remember when you get to the top, you have to get back down; and that can be a thrilling experience since the Lord did invent a thing called gravity.  And when you get to the top of the mountain, you will be like the bear that went over the mountain. It could be said of him:

The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain,The bear went over the mountain, to see what he could see.

The other side of the mountain, the other side of the mountain,The other side of the mountain, was all that he could see.

I know many people are thrilled to climb mountains and it is an exhilarating experience for them.  As for me, I am going to enjoy my mountains from a distance in the will of the Lord. I hope to get my mountain top experiences when I am alone with God meditating on His goodness and talking with Him. Or it would be all right with me to have a mountain top experience as we worship the Lord around a loaf of bread and a cup of wine.  It would be all right with me to enjoy a mountain top experience when someone tells me that they have trusted the Lord and that they KNOW that they are saved.

Those experiences leave me breathless enough, I personally don’t need to be breathless at 14,000 feet.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of July 7, 2013

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