Escape to The mountain

Maryann Mott, writes in the January 4th, 2005 issue of National Geographic News that the animals (God’s creature) sought higher ground just before the Tsunami hit the shores of India and Srilanka and relatively few animals were found to be dead – in other words, more animals that escaped to the mountains escaped death.

Of the four things that the angelic visitors in the house of Lot, told Lot and his family who were with him, when they had led them by their hand, outside the wicked city of Sodom, the fourth was “escape to the mountain”

Did you notice that this command was first and foremost specific. It was not “escape to any mountain”, it was to “escape to the mountain”. Although, we are not exactly told as to which mountain, it was that, Lot and his family were commanded to go, we know that, they were not to stay in the plain but go to higher ground. The Psalmist makes it clear the we ought to look up to the hills (mountains) from where our help comes from (Psalm 121:1) and no evil shall befall those who make the Lord, even the Most High, their shelter (habitation/dwelling place) (Psalm 91:9-10).

What is this mountain that we ought to escape to? Interestingly, the Bible speaks of several mountains where you would find Jesus, during his life on earth as man.
1. Mount of Temptation – from which Jesus demonstrated that “It is written,” how the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, needs to be used in spiritual warfare (Matthew 4:1-11; Ephesians 6:10-18)
2. Mount of Beatitudes – from which he taught about what it meant to be “Blessed” (Matthew 5:1-12)
3. Mount of Transfiguration – where you see Jesus glorified in great splendor, bright shining as the sun and in white raiment of undefiled righteousness (Matthew 17:1-3).
4. Mount of Olives – from which he gave the Olivet’s discourse, speaking of signs and warning of the end times (Matthew 24)
5. Mount Calvary (Golgotha) – where you will see Jesus on a Cross (in our stead), bolding declaring that the work of God’s salvation and redemption of mankind back to himself was now complete, and his work of fulfilling the will and work of God was now finished (Matthew 27:33). Interestingly, it is speculated (along with some archaeological evidence) that the place on mount Moriah, where Abraham offered Isaac his son, is about where Calvary/Golgotha is, where God offered Jesus, his only begotten Son, as a sacrifice for mankind.
6. Mount in Galilee – where you find Jesus after his resurrection from the dead, meeting with his disciples (Matthew 28:7,16) and where he is worshipped by his true disciples. It is here that Jesus gave the charge of the great commission to all of his disciples and the promise of being with them forever.
7. Mount Zion – where you will see Jesus, the Lamb of God, standing with his saints, who had sacrificed their lives for him, marked with the name of God the Father (Revelation 14:1).

Points to ponder: 
We need to run to the mountain to
– learn about how we ought to be spiritual gladiators (prizefighters), fighting with the weapons of God against temptations, the good fight of faith laying hold on eternal life,
– learn about the beatitudes and what it means to be truly blessed, by, and in the Lord.
– see Jesus transfigured before our eyes as the undefiled, unblemished, sinless, High Priest with robes of righteousness and the bright Sun giving Light to this dark world.
– hear his discourse of the warnings in the end times to come.
– see him be the perfect Sacrifice on the cross of Calvary, shedding his blood for our sakes, without which there is no remission of sin or hope for mankind.
– be given and to take charge in the great commission as his disciples.
– stand alongside Jesus the Lamb of God, marked as ones belonging to God the Father, as his saints, laying down our very lives as living sacrifices.

We ought to run to the mountain to escape. Which mountain are you on? The important thing is not to stay in the plain, but to escape to the mountain. Have you met with Jesus on The mountain, without whom, there is no escape. Escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

Genesis 19:17 (KJV)
17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

Dust on your Bible

I once saw a pithy one-liner which read, “Dust on your Bible will lead to dirt in your life.” and this could not be far from the truth – scriptural truth. Many Christians read the Bible as if it was a “checkbox” activity, seldom taking time to meditate and memorize every inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16), as recorded in the Bible. Those who refrain from reading the Bible or who read it for the sake of reading it, often find their lives to be messy and dirty with sin, and then wonder why.

The Psalmist expresses, “Thy [God’s] word have I hidden in my heart, so that I may not sin against you [God].” (Psalm 119:11). The hiding of God’s word within oneself is inversely proportional to the degree of sinfulness within oneself. In other words, the more we hide God’s word within us, the less we sin and the less we hide God’s word within us, the more we sin.

To hide something is a conscious effort. Things get lost, but they don’t hide themselves. We hide things that we value (say jewelry)  in a location (say a safe) and remember where we have hidden the thing of value so that we can go back and get it when needed (say to wear it to a wedding). In like manner, we have to consciously take time to meditate (not just read) on God’s word and memorize (hide) it, so that we can use it when needed to combat temptation (Matthew 4) and not sin against God.

Points to ponder:
We must take the pledge to meditate and memorize the word of God, hiding it within ourselves, so that our lives are not messy or dirty – stained with sin. Dust on your Bible will lead to dirt in your life. In other words, an unused Bible will lead to an unusable life in the hands of God. Is your/my life unusable by God? It is written …

Psalm 119:11 (KJV)
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Lesser known characters :: Ahimelech

Ahimelech was the priest at Nob during the reign of Saul. When David fled from Saul to save his life, he comes to Ahimelech the priest. Upon being questioned by Ahimelech as to why David was alone and why no man was with him, David lies to him stating that king Saul had sent him on a secret mission and that is the reason as to why he was alone and had no one else with him.  Then David, in order to satisfy his hunger, asks Ahimelech for the loaves of bread that was in his place. Ahimelech, a priest and keeper of the law responds by saying that the bread that was in the house was sacred. He tells David that there was no common bread in the house and the sacred bread could be eaten by only the priests and their sons; by those who were sanctified and pure from carnal matters according to the Levitical law (Leviticus 24:5-9; 1 Samuel 21:4). David tells Ahimelech that he was carnally clean and so Ahimelech gives him the sacred bread. Later, Ahimelech also gives to David the sword of Goliath when David asked him for weapons (1 Samuel 21:1-9).

What can we learn from Ahimelech?
This act of Ahimelech giving David the sacred bread would be considered a direct contradiction to what the law prescribed. So how can a person who is supposed to uphold the law, be justified by breaking it? While on the surface, it may seem like a priest broke the very law that he was to uphold, which was to not give to anyone but to those who were priests, the sacred bread, under this act, is a hidden treasure that becomes evident upon deeper scrutiny. Jesus in fact, quoted this incident in the gospel according to Mark (Mark 2:25-28) to illustrate the understanding that Ahimelech had, which was that the law (sabbath) was made for life (man) and not life (man) for the law (sabbath). Ahimelech recognized that religious traditions and requirements were given to live a holy life, but when such requirements conflicted with the giving of life (symbolized by the bread – John 6:35), he must do that which was necessary to give life (Deuteronomy 15:7-8). Sometimes in our dedication to observe religious prescriptions, we often ignore the needy and those who need the bread of life (Jesus Christ) and this must not be the case. Additionally, we can also learn from this account that, that which was sacred was given to a common man. Jesus Christ, the sacred bread of life, is not only given to those who are religious and priestly but to the common man/woman; to the common thief, the adulterer, the murderer and to everyone.

Furthermore, in addition to giving to those in need (who are starving for being satisfied), the bread of life (Jesus Christ), we must also give them weapons (of warfare), as did Ahimelech give the sword with which David finalized the victory against Goliath.  this will help them to fight against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:10-18). We must give them the armor of God which includes the word of God, with which Jesus (referred in Ezekiel as the second David) won the victory against Satan, the goliath of all adversaries (during his temptation). The word is the Sword of the Spirit by which the victory over temptation and the devil’s schemes is won and finalized. “It is (thus) Written.”

1 Samuel 21:1-9 (KJV)
Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?
And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.
Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.
And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.
And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.
So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.
And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.

9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

Defeating the lion

Inspired by a true story, Wisegal is the story of a single mom who gets caught in the mob for the sake of her family and in the end says no to the mob for the sake of her family. The movie starts with the son narrating the following lines “My mother always says, people are not fools. Nobody chooses the devil. The devil always chooses you” and the movie ends with the lines “When the devil shows up with a truck load of promises, it is harder than you think to say No”

The Bible counsels that the adversary, the devil is a roaring lion, seeking (choosing) whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). And when he does show up, he shows up with promises. He even promised Jesus the kingdoms of the world and the glory of those (Matthew 4:8). And just as Jesus did, we are to say No and let let our No be No (Matthew 5:37). We are to resist the devil (James 4:7), armed with the armor of God wielding the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17) for It is written. We are to be wise guys and gals for God.  

1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: