So I was reading Exodus 24 this morning and the final part of the final verse in the chapter says “And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.” The next few chapters tell us what Moses was doing on the mountain. He was having facetime with God. He was having one-to-one, build-you-up, intimate, in the presence of the Lord, time. It’s the thing that most Christians seek right? To be in God’s presence? To be consumed in the holy moment? That Christian festival / all-night worship vibe? And it occurred to me that he has to get off the mountain.
You see, all the time that Moses was up there having his intimate moment with God, everyone else was down. Not up, not in the cloud, not on the mountain. They were down. They were “running wild” and “out of control” (32:25). They were lost. They weren’t included. “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered round Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods…’” (32:1). The people didn’t know how to meet God. They didn’t know how to access his presence. And you see that’s the thing. Moses was on the mountain receiving instructions to provide just that - a tabernacle - a way of accessing God no matter where they went. Moses was on the mountain not for himself, not for his own fuzzy and warming benefit, but to receive instructions which would allow everyone else to access God in a way that they were currently unable to. But if Moses had stayed on the mountain, they would never be shown the way. They would never have the access to God that God desired. He’d be all right, but everyone else would be screwed.
The mountain isn’t real life. The mountain is special - don’t get me wrong - it is to be celebrated and revered. But it isn’t to be chased. Moses had to come down off the mountain and face the nitty gritty, messiness of real life. I’m sure on a personal level if he had a choice between mountain or mayhem he’d choose mountain every time. But that isn’t the way of love. The way of love is to get off the mountain. And we need to do the same. We need to stop seeking mountain moments at all costs and face the realities of life. The people that are around us who are lost and out of control. The people who are desperately seeking for someone to show them the way, to introduce them to an accessible God. When we stay too long in our Christian mountain bubbles, the world around us increasingly seeks their wisdom for life from elsewhere. You can’t be present if you’re on the mountain.
We need to get off the mountain and show the way. We don’t need the tabernacle any more. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. So by all means have your facetime with God - get your glory glow on - but don’t stay there for forty days. Don’t hide away on the mountain. Don’t pursue the mountain moments. Don’t chase the mountain. Go get off the mountain, into the real world and shine. Take the light with you - into the chaos, into the running wild places, into the out of control craziness - and shine. Be an accessible light. Show the way. Get off the mountain.