Moving Mountains (part 2)

mountainsIn my post, Moving Mountains (part 1), I asked the following questions: Who do you know has moved mountains lately? Has anyone ever moved mountains? Has anyone followed through on what Jesus Christ suggested over two thousand years ago?:

“Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

Has anyone who has had faith the size of a mustard seed ever try moving mountains recently and succeeded? If so, why hasn’t anyone reported it to the news media? But no one having faith in himself has done so. I have commented that we Christians cannot move mountains of and by ourselves. Only God moves them according to His will.

I mentioned the Exodus account where the Israelites, after they walked across a parted Red Sea (a type of mountain), came across more “mountains” that God placed on their paths. A couple of these mountains were lack of water and shortage of food. Yet, God fed them (manna) and quenched their thirst. Don’t you agree that bread and water that were provided by God should have strengthened them in body, mind and spirit? By spirit I mean, should they have grown in faith toward the God who was responsible for their safe and healthy journey? They should have, but their focus was more on the mountains rather than on God.

There is more about mountains I want to discuss.

Okay, now let me ask another question: Has anyone ever been run over by a moving mountain? There have been individuals in my lifetime who I wished had mountains fall on them. I once had a very toxic boss who everyone in the department hated. I had to endure his conniving tactics everyday until I found employment elsewhere.

mean nun

All of the nuns that taught me in parochial school were very nice, except one.

When I attended parochial school in New York City, there was one nun I was under who was the meanest person I had ever met. She would call the students she was disciplining derogatory terms. She once yelled at a skinny kid sitting across from me in class saying that he was  “nothing but bag of bones!” I almost burst out laughing, but did not. I was terrified of her. Every morning I languished going to school because of her.

After awhile, her teaching style was beginning to adversely affect me. So during Christmas break I earnestly prayed to God that she be gone. Well, when I returned to school after vacation, I noticed she had been permanently replaced by another teacher. I heard rumors that she had become very ill. Another person said she had a nervous breakdown. Again, they were only rumors. Why should I know? All I remember was it was one of the happiest moments of my life. I will never forget how impressed I was by how God answered my prayer. God had moved a mountain.

God indeed is the only One able to move mountains. And He is the only One who should. The ancient Israelites crossing the Red Sea, a mountain of water that was “moved” by God by making it split in two, was an achievement only God was able to accomplish for His people. He used Moses to get it done.

Later, when they arrived at the edge of the Promised Land, the children of Israel saw the mountains that God wanted removed. These were the nations in Canaan to be conquered by them. In Deuteronomy 7:1, God listed them for the Israelites in the following verse:

 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you – 

Land of Milk and Honey

Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey.

These nations, (which can also be symbolized as mountains), here totaled seven. Now you may ask, why would God overthrow these apparently innocent countries and give them to Israel? Is not that stealing? Is that not imperialism? First of all, God was the owner of those lands. He could do whatsoever He wants. Also, this is what God says about those who were inhabiting those nations and about their judgment day:

“Even the land itself became polluted and I punished it for its iniquities–the land vomited up its inhabitants.” (Lev. 18:25)

The children of Israel at the gate to this Prmised Land, except for Joshua and Caleb, were the first descendants of freed slaves. They were not a militaristic people, but God, by His strength and power, helped them remove these nations, move mountains, out of the land of Canaan.

Going back to Deuteronomy 7, in verse 22 this is what God says:

The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.

image

Lions were among the wild beasts that roamed the ancient land of Canaan.

Notice that God wanted Israel to drive out the inhabitants little by little and not all at once. He told them the reason.

Once again, just as He did with the Israelites after they crossed the Red Sea, God brought “mountains” to them to help them grow strong in faith and trust in Him. That generation failed to do so and were not allow to complete their journey into a new homeland. Only their offspring were successful. But they, at the threshold of their “new world,”also had to face mountains that God had told them would easily be removed. And they were to move them, (God actually did it) it little by little, just as their forefathers did throughout their sojourn in the wilderness.

So now I want to ask you, how does all this apply to us? Well, after our conversion to Christianity, we did not, then and there, fully overcome the world, ourselves and Satan as we may have initially wished. We instead needed to realize we are to constantly feed on Christ daily. We continually need to be nourished by His Word, the Bible. We daily must carry our cross in order to follow Christ. We still must face our mountains. But notice how it is little by little that we grow. To some Christians, growth occurs in large spurts, but on the average, we grow little by little in becoming as Christ.

Also notice back in Deuteronomy 7:22 above where God tells the Israelites, “You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.” We Christians know that we  “struggle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12). We are also dealing with evil, spiritual, and mountainous forces that we ourselves have no power to overcome. That is why we need God always.

As we struggle, we often stumble. We often feel pain. We often get discouraged. But God’s Holy Spirit is also called our Comforter. With Him we can bypass mountains. Yes indeed, God moves mountains on our behalf as we continue depending and keeping our eyes on Him.

I am beginning to ramble so I will stop here.

 

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