In the text of my sermon for this Sunday, there is a reference to two mountains (Hebrews 12:18-24). If you read this passage, you will see quite a contrast between the two. My study Bible labeled them the mountain of fear and the mountain of joy. A mountain is sometimes used as a metaphor to represent a challenge, something difficult we must face. Life is full of figurative mountains that we must climb. There is no way around; the situation must be faced head-on. I have found that the same mountain can be either fearful or joyful, depending on your spiritual perspective.
Caleb is one of my heroes. He was one of the twelve spies who were sent to explore the land of Canaan. Ten of them reported that they could not attack the people who lived there because they were too strong. They had seen some descendants of Anak, a forefather of a race of giant people. Caleb gave a minority report: “We can certainly take possession of the land” (Num. 13:30). But the people were afraid and turned back. Forty-five years later, after the wilderness wanderings and the conquest of Canaan, Caleb was ready to settle down. He knew that the Anakim (giants) lived in the Judean Mountains of Hebron; he had seen them himself forty-five years earlier. He made a request to Joshua: “Give me this mountain…you heard in that day how the Anakim were there…It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said” (Josh. 14:12). The ten spies saw the giants and turned back in fear. When Caleb saw them, he saw only the presence and power of his Lord!
I was pastor of a small church in Fort Benton, Montana in the summer of 1965. To celebrate my 21st birthday, I drove north to Glacier National Park. After climbing for a while, I suddenly became aware of my surroundings. As far as I could see in all directions, there were majestic mountains towering over me with no signs of humanity to be seen. My first reaction was panic and fear, which quickly turned to awe. I felt at first totally alone, then I was overpowered by God’s presence and power, which filled me with joy and confidence. The mountain of fear became the mountain of joy! As we face our mountains, our challenges, our overwhelming struggles, we will find that God’s presence and power make all the difference! God bless you today as you climb your mountain.