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God Uses the Mountain Tops

Self | Cindy Branton | 10 mins

Answer this question in your head: If you had to choose, would you choose a cabin in the mountains or a hut on the beach?

I used to always choose the hut on the beach. But the more I visit the mountains and smell the fresh, green smell of pine or take in the beautiful layers of staggering mountains and see the countless peaks, the more I think I’ve changed my mind! When I look up at the sky from a mountaintop and see countless blinking stars (or satellites) dotting an inky black sky, I know that’s where I want to be. Give me the mountains.

The mountains are calling and I must go.” is a quote by John Muir, one of our country’s most famous naturalists and preservationists. He spent his life soaking up the glory and beauty of the mountains. Beach or mountains? He also chooses mountains!

If you’ve ever read a story in the Bible, there’s a pretty good chance there’s a mountain in it. God uses mountains as a place to draw people closer to himself. Exodus 3 is an account in the Bible that tells us about Moses. Yes, the “Baby in a basket, “Let my people go,” plagues-inflicting, Red-Sea-crossing” Moses. Chapter three follows Moses’ life after leaving Egypt to stay alive because he killed an Egyptian. He’s in the wilderness and pretty miserable. That is where we find him. That is where God found him.

Exodus 3:1 says, “One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God.“

From here, Moses sees the burning bush on the mountain, and it’s literally God in the bush calling out to him. “Moses! Moses!” The mountains were calling, and he had to go.

Moses proceeds to go up to the mountain of God, Mount Sinai, and have some time alone with God. One of the first things God tells Moses to do is take his shoes off because he’s on holy ground. That’s what a mountain is: holy ground.

I think it’s interesting that God told Moses to take his shoes off. Do you know when I take my shoes off? It’s when I walk in from a long, exhausting day. The first thing I do is kick off my shoes and relax. When I go to my close friends' homes, I throw my shoes by the door and get comfortable.

That’s what mountain-top experiences do in our lives. They call us to rest. The mountains are where we relax. God didn’t call Moses to the mountain for him to work. His intentions weren’t for Moses to run, achieve, or perform. No, God called Moses to experience the holiness and to be still.

The seasons of mountains in our lives are seasons to rest and to listen.

Another thing we experience on a mountain top is a changed perspective. I have a picture from a few years ago from a sweaty Saturday when I climbed Camelback Mountain. Friends, that thing is a beast. Halfway up, I was very convinced that someone would find my exhausted and dehydrated body slumped over on this beautiful, impossible mountain. It’s WORK getting up a mountain (both Camelback and in the spiritual mountains in our lives). However, once we get there, our entire perspective changes; we can see things that we've never seen before. We have a vision of many things all at once. From the top of Camelback Mountain, you can see 360 degrees around the Valley. You see places you’ve been to and are familiar with and unknown places you want to go.

It’s the same with the mountain top experiences in our spiritual lives. We see the past and what God’s done, and then we can open our eyes to look forward to new horizons we would have been blind to unless we climbed up to the quiet outlooks from on high.

Have you ever been to a Christian retreat? Or maybe a mission trip? Maybe you’ve even experienced a mountain top experience at a worship night or a weekend service. Those moments on the mountains, when you feel so near to Jesus, allow your perspective to shape and change. Every one of us needs that perspective change to grow and motivate us.

When I’m climbing Camelback, honestly, I don’t have time to look around and enjoy it. I’m too busy watching my footing and making sure I don’t fall. I place every step carefully and keep my eyes on the ground. But from the top of the mountain, I have the freedom to look around, the freedom to soak up sights I haven’t seen before. Spiritually “looking around” might mean opening up your heart to new possibilities or just soaking up facets of Jesus that you hadn’t noticed before.

The mountains are calling, and I must go.
Oh, the mountain tops!


Finally, the mountain seasons of our lives are where God gives us vision.
When we are in a mountain season of our lives, Jesus shows us what’s next. He speaks to our souls and reveals His plans and purpose to us.

I’ll never forget being on a charter bus as a high school junior, traveling home across the country from a mission trip to Maryland. I was definitely in a mountain peak season of life. I had just seen God work and felt so close to Him. Bumping along the road in the middle of the night, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, and I knew that ministry would be a real part of my future. He used that time of closeness to help guide me and inspire me about His plans for me.

You know that mountain, Sinai, that God called Moses toward? Incredibly, that’s the same mountain where God later gave him the Ten Commandments. When we obey what God tells us to do on the mountain, it helps us get to the next mountain.

There are two misconceptions about mountain-top seasons in our lives. The first misconception is that we can live on a mountain top.

Exodus 4:18 says, “So Moses went back home.” After God had his one-on-one moment with Moses on the mountain, He sent him home.

God doesn’t call us to live on the mountains. He calls us up the mountains to be still, to gain a new perspective, and to receive vision for the future. However, we aren’t called to build our houses there. Mountain experiences prepare us for what’s coming at the bottom of the mountain – whether that’s a desert, valley, or wilderness. The purpose of the mountain seasons is to equip us for living off of the mountain. That is why we can’t live at summer camp and why you don’t have a bed at church.

The second misconception about our seasons high in the mountains is that Jesus lives only on a mountaintop. Is Jesus at a women's retreat? YES! Is Jesus at a worship night? YES! But this isn’t the only place Jesus exists. Some of us think we leave Jesus when we leave the mountain tops. We miss Him and wish life was just like it was when we were experiencing Him profoundly in solitude.

Jesus doesn’t live on a mountain. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we have God with us always and everywhere. Don’t limit Him to the mountains. Don’t ignore the fact that He walks down off of the mountains with us.

We’ve got to remember:
The seasons of mountains in our lives are seasons to rest and to listen.
Spiritually-charged mountain top experiences shape and change our perspective. They also give us a vision of His plan and purpose for our lives. When we open our hearts to where Jesus leads, we can find peace in every part of the journey.

The mountains are calling, and YOU MUST GO to see the view He has in store!

Written By

Cindy Branton

Jesus lover, smitten wife, active mom, tenured teacher, and writer of words. 

Published on May 12, 2022