In Ps.24:3, King David throws out the question, “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord, who may stand in that holy place…?”. Personally, I love the way that Peterson renders it in the Message, using the phrase Mount God instead of Holy Hill. The reason I love this is because I feel it better conjures an image of an Everestesque mountain rather than a recreational tor on Dartmoor.
A life of purity and holiness rarely feels like a walk in the park or an amble up Hay Tor. In reality it is never a walk in the park. The pursuit of God and His holiness is a pursuit that requires God Himself to push us up when we lose our footing or the finger-numbing frost-bite means we can’t hold on. God is always at our side as we negotiate sheer faces and crumbling foot-holds.
Scaling Mount God is like committing to climb Everest in the knowledge that few make it and some don’t return at all. Just in the same way that it would be obscencely foolish to climb Everest without supplys of nourishment and oxygen, climbing Mount God without firm faith in God’s unfailing grace and commitment to us would also be futile.
You see, when the ferocious artic winds lash at our faces and when icey crevices seem to give way from underneath our feet, God is always there to push us up. He’s already there in the Holy Place (it is a place, guys) also pulling us up: He cheer-leads; He forgives; He inspires and he promotes love-sickness for Him in our hearts. Love-sickness with Jesus is the purpose of the spiritual discilpines.
I want to be a God-seeker, a God-quester. The exploration of holiness is an obsession. This will also be your obsession if this resonates with you as God Himself forms His otherworldly character in our jars of clay.
We desire to be like God and gaze at Him in His Holy Place. We desire to witness an open heaven and the fruit of righteousness in our lives and others. We desire to see nations saved, raised and reformed in rigteousness.
And so our prayer must be: “Holy are You Lord, sanctify my heart”.
But make no mistake, we need to decide to climb. There are no short cuts or base camps but there is the prospect of standing in the Holy Place as Nathanael must have imagined as he reeled after Jesus had seen him under the fig tree. Nathanael was promised visions of angelic ascensions and descentions but Jesus had also shown us that there was nothing false in him…he was a genuine article. He was a God-seeker climbing Mount God but when Jesus called him he must have had a stumble. That was ok though – God was there to lift him up, spur him on and give him a commissioning that focused on the Kingdom that had come and was standing in front of him.