12 Feb 2018

‘The Mountain of God’

by John McManus

Start by reading…Exodus 34:1 - 35:9Matthew 27:15-31Psalm 33:12-22Proverbs 9:1-6

Exodus is such a fascinating book. In chapter 34, God calls Moses up to the top of Mount Sinai, the Mountain of God, to receive another set of tablets containing the ten commandments.

Exodus 34:2 says:

“So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.”

Another set was needed because Moses had broken the first in anger. He had come down from the mountain to see the Israelites worshipping a golden calf; a man-made image.

The thought or theme that strikes me from all these chapters, indeed from the whole of Exodus (and the entire Bible), is the wonderful mercy and grace of God. He shows great love and patience towards a self-seeking, wilful and disobedient; a people just like us.

Moses represented the people and interceded for them (Exodus 32:11-14). God called him up the mountain so He could share His plans and purposes for the people; so that he could unfold details about the tabernacle and rules for worship, which represents our obedience. When Moses returned on this second occasion, his face was radiant and the people knew he had been in the presence of God (Exodus 34:29-33).

Pause and reflect: I believe that God wants to spend time with us alone, with no distractions. He wants to share His heart; to help us understand His plans and purposes. He has called us to intercede for a lost and dying world, and to be ministers of His grace.

Acts 4:13 (NTE) says: “When they saw how boldly Peter and John were speaking, and realised that they were untrained, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they recognised them as people who had been with Jesus.”

Is He calling us to the mountaintop today?

John McManus
John McManus

John is a passionate follower of Jesus, husband to his wife Julie and father to his three grown up children, Andrew, Hannah & Michael. He lives in Chepstow and serves with the team there at Victory Church.

Your thoughts & prayers

  • Marian Matthews-nee Mackay

    John, this is indeed a wonderful section of the bible and I got increasingly excited as I read through your devotional. I’ve just read again from Exodus Chapter 24 (as you suggested in your devotional) to the chapters we are looking at today. Moses intercessory prayer for the people really touched my heart. If anything should cause us to intercede for our loved ones, and for everyone who doesn’t yet know God, this passage should spur us on.

    Although I understand why Moses smashed the first tablets bearing the ten commandments, I can’t help feeling sad that they weren’t preserved for all time when I read:-

    “………………….on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of
    stone, WRITTEN BY THE FINGER OF GOD. Exodus 31:18

    How amazing to think that God Himself engraved the words on those tablets of stone. Yet even as I was thinking about this, I saw how the perfect and precious life of Jesus was also ‘smashed’ because of sinful mankind. Moses ‘smashed’ the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments in anger when he saw the people’s sin. But God ‘crushed’ His one and only Son to appease His anger against sinful mankind – and then I remembered other words from Hebrews 8:10-13, and I saw something even more amazing. Moses had interceded for the sins of his people, but amazingly, as Jesus was having the life ‘crushed’ out of Him, He was interceding for guilty mankind, when He cried out, “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they do.” In that moment the forgiveness of God was able to flow to all who will turn to Him in repentance – and then GOD WRITES HIS LAWS UPON OUR HEARTS. That is far more precious than the stone tablets could ever have been:-

    “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind AND WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people………………For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews

    These words are an echo of Jeremiah 31:33-34:-

    “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I WILL PUT MY LAW IN THEIR MINDS AND WRITE IT ON THEIR HEARTS; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and
    every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

    Those words were written for the House of Israel, but from the moment we Gentiles are saved, we, the “wild olive branches” are “grafted” into “the cultivated Olive tree” – the same Covenant – so that His laws are written upon the hearts of all believers, both Jew and Gentile, by God Himself. We can read about the ‘cultivated’ and ‘wild’ Olive branches in Romans 9.

    As you have said at the end of your Pause and Reflect:-

    “Is He calling us up to the mountain of God?” I believe He is! Hallelujah!

    • Annie Brown

      Crikey, wow, wow and double wow. This is brilliant x

      • Marian Matthews-nee Mackay

        Annie, Maybe it was the amazing evening we had just been privileged to experience, but God suddenly opened my eyes to things I hadn’t previously seen and the revelation just keept opening up. The one thing that Bible in a Year and now the Academy are doing for me is showing the cohesion there is in the Word of God. I’ve always known it had to be one story – His Story – and not just a collection of religious writings, but never before has He opened my eyes to see so clearly. I would have loved this insight forty or fifty years ago, but I’m not going to bewail the fact that it took a lifetime for the fog to lift – I’m just going to bask in the glory of who He is and what He is revealing now. And our private conversations are doing loads to help me see clearer. God is sooo good isn’t He. xx

  • Marian Matthews-nee Mackay

    As I finished typing my first comment, I remembered a vision God gave me a few years ago during a time of prayer. It seems appropriate since it is about the mountain of God:-

    During a time of worship in our January 2013 ‘Week of prayer and fasting’, I received a vision from God and recorded it in my diary. Here is what I wrote:-

    “As we worshipped God tonight I saw, as in a vision, a mountain, and as I watched the vision unfold I saw fire descend and it covered the mountain.

    Looking closer I saw that the mountain was covered with people of all ages and from all nations. The fire did not consume them, but it empowered them to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

    With great joy I joined the people, and as I looked down from the mountain I saw thousands of other people approaching and beginning to climb. Then a voice said, “This is My mountain, and these are My people whom I have called by Name. They shall worship Me in Unity, and with one voice and they shall bring Glory to My Holy Name in all the earth.”

    • Annie Brown

      Marian, this gave me goosebumps, it is wonderful, really wonderful

      • Marian Matthews-nee Mackay

        Annie, it gave me goosebumps too when I realised what God was showing me. I was riveted to the spot as it was unfolding. I am certain it is a picture of the end times when the harvest will come in and blinded eyes will be opened to see Him as He really is.
        “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
        And who shall stand in his holy place?
        He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
        who does not lift up his soul to what is false
        and does not swear deceitfully.
        He will receive blessing from the Lord
        and righteousness from the God of his salvation” Psalm 24:3-5 (ESV).
        “We’re marching to Zion, Beautiful, beautiful Zion. We’re marching upward to Zion, The beautiful City of God.”

  • Annie Brown

    John, this is such a good thought provoking devotion. All I kept thinking was that Jesus is even now interceding for us, He never stops. To intercede for this world is an immense privilege, and we are asked to join Him in this. This is going to take a lot more meditation and seeking God, there is so much that is relevant to now. Bless you John.

  • Georgina thorp

    Good to see our two early risers are up and reading BIAY. Morning Annie and Marian. Calling us to the mountain top. I always feel that when we get to the top there is an even bigger mountain to climb. God knows what we can deal with, which is nothing without him. But with him we can fly and nothing can stand in our way. It’s amazing how the people in the Bible went through things that are similar to what we go through ourselves today. Just thinking of the testimony we heard yesterday in church and what God is doing in this mans life. He will have many mountains to climb but God will be guiding his every step and picking him up and setting him straight when he falls, as he does with all of us. He is a good good father.