ARE YOU A MOUNTAIN MOVER OR CLIMBER Andy Hollifield 8-2-17
Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Matthew 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
Exodus 3:12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
Joshua 14:12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall drive them out, as the Lord said.
Psalms 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
The Lord laid this title on my heart recently but I never could write it until now. Let me begin by saying the word “mountain” is used 137 times in the bible and “hills” is used 65 times. The first 2 verses above out of Matthew, both mention what can be accomplished with the amount of faith we have in the Lord. With that said, I will tell you that some days I have strong enough faith to raid hell with a water pistol and other days I couldn’t crawl across a mole hill. Judging by the results I see in churches of folks responding to the preached word, I would have to say that I don’t think I am by myself in my assessment of my faith. That however does not excuse me. In Mark 9:24, a desperate father in need of help from Jesus for his son “cried out with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief”. Unfortunately, we often miss out on all that God wants to do because we will not humble ourselves as this father did, and admit we have trouble believing at times. Jesus said “If ye doubt not” you can move mountains.
Sometimes the mountains in our lives are seemingly insurmountable problems or objects of prayer that we can’t do nothing about except trust God to resolve them. I don’t know about anyone else but sometimes it is my own stubbornness and stupidity, to be honest, that gets me into some of those situations that seem like mountains in my life. I made the comment to a friend a while back that you can’t fix stupid to which the response was; no, but God can. It is hard to admit that rather than having faith to remove mountains, our lack of faith and unwillingness to wait on the Lord and our stubbornness and stupidity can often create mountains right in front of us. In the freight business, we used to say that stupidity is doing something the same way every time and expecting a different result. Dictionary.com defines it as “lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull. foolish; senseless; lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless, annoying or irritating; troublesome. To be honest; it doesn’t make sense that I sometimes fail to learn from my last mountain that God can help me climb the next one or move it if I just put my trust in him. Maybe I am the only one that has to battle that at times.
But I began to look at the meaning of “mountain” and one definition was “a huge amount”. Sometimes our troubles and trials come in huge amounts. A hill, on the other hand, is defined as a natural elevation smaller than a mountain. Did you catch the word “natural?” That simply means that it is not uncommon. The book of 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: BUT God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” You may think that verse is out of place but if the truth be known, that is exactly when our faith waivers is when we are tempted to doubt God.
I began to think about mountains in the bible and not only do they signify hardships, but they also signify victorious living. We call them mountain top experiences. The cold hard fact is that our growth spiritually doesn’t take place on the mountain so much but down in the valleys of our lives. Some advantages to the mountain is that you get a wider view of things. It is when we come out of those valleys we walk through and get on the mountain that we can sometimes see and understand what God was working in our life. Quite often when Jesus went to pray or rest with his disciples, he went up on a mountain. If Abraham had never climbed his mountain, which had to have seemed huge considering he was going up to sacrifice his only son, he would have never found the ram that God provided for him. Sometimes those hard mountains have a glorious victory waiting at the top. God showed Moses a burning bush up on a mountain on the backside of the desert. That bush was God’s physical presence there with Moses where he talked with him. God also made Moses a promise that day that he would one day serve him on that same mountain where he talked with God. Throughout the whole time in the wilderness, when God wanted to commune with him, Moses had to climb the mountain again. But on top of that mountain after the hard climb, was where God said “there is a place by me” and he hid him in the cleft of the rock and covered him with his hand and let him see his hind parts and his glory as he passed by. We shouldn’t be too quick to ask God to move our mountains because if he did, we might miss out on seeing his glory.
Caleb was promised a certain mountain that he had spied out when Moses had sent the twelve spies into Canaan. After they had crossed over 40 years later, all Caleb wanted was the mountain he was promised. In Psalms 121:1 the Psalmist knew where to look for help. He said “I will lift up mine eyes to the hills; from whence cometh my help.” That would mean that the Psalmist spent some time in the valley and needed help from God. If we think back, had it not been for a hill called Calvary where Jesus sacrificed himself because of our sins, we would be lost without hope. If I could ever learn to just look to him for help rather than trying to do stuff on my own and making a mess and causing hurt to myself and others, I could save myself a lot of heartache.
My point is that mountains are not only at times obstacles as it was for the spies going into Canaan, but that same mountain 40 years later became an observation point from where Caleb could look and see how much God had blessed him. The mountain you may be struggling to climb right now, may one day be the very place you stand to observe the blessings that God has given you. Don’t be too quick to ask God, out of your frustration to remove your mountain, just ask him for strength to climb it.
One more thing that might encourage you; I read a story once of a small church in Tennessee that needed more parking but couldn’t expand their lot because of a mountain that was behind the church. The pastor had the church to start praying about more parking and to ask God to move that mountain. As ridiculous as that sounded, they began to pray. After some time had passed, an engineer came by the church to see if his outfit could buy the dirt from that mountain for fill dirt on a road project they were doing. He told the church that his crew would completely remove the mountain and pave the flat area for them once they had all the dirt removed. Of course the church agreed and thanked God for moving their mountain for the benefit of his house. Ask God to have his way and get glory out of your life and your mountains. If it needs removing, God can remove your mountain just as he did for that church and if not, he will give you strength to climb. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!