For too many years the majority of the church has lived for mountain top experiences. In fact, it has been ingrained that the “mountain top” is where abundant life awaits, riches and prosperity flourish, and the spiritually sound reside. With a “mountain top” view, we feel fully engaged with God.
The “mountain top” sums up the “spiritual experience”; anything less than this pinnacle is a substandard relationship with our Creator.
We are taught indirectly that life is not found in the valley, or most certainly not the “desert”. If we happen to be found in either location, then we must be in “want” or worse yet, being disciplined.
The valley is an unwanted place. It holds trials and tribulations. It speaks of loneliness…
The desert is a place for the “spiritually dry”…not thirsty, just dry…
The position on the spiritual map is understood as disobedience. No questions need to be asked of you; your location provides all the information needed to judge your spiritual condition.
Only the fallen are scattered to the desert. It is a wasteland littered with the “least of these”, as seen through the eyes of men.
When we enter into such a place our minds are crushed with guilt, shame and regret. Our spirituality is shaken and we stagger backwards as we become the refuse of the church.
We must be food for the vultures; unfit and unfruitful.
Our minds are bent towards our spiritual survival; we must scale the mountain.
Once we arrive at the summit and present ourselves along with our “mountain top” accomplishment; we are back in the fold.
You see, it is in this manner we are fully restored to the church…then to Christ.
Isn’t that what religion requires, a restoration to the doctrine?
If we meet man’s doctrinal criteria, then we must meet Christ’s…
I don’t fault any of us for thinking in this manner. After all, look at the Israelites. Their disobedience cost them forty years of desert living.
Jesus was tempted in the desert…
Does anything good come from such a place?
I am not so arrogant to say that being cast into the desert is not difficult. Nor would I say that disobedience does not bring about discipline. But what I would say is this~
It is about what happens in the desert…This is the summit of the spiritual experience…the desert is your coveted “mountain”!
...and therefore, I am now going to allure her to the desert. There I will speak tenderly to her. I will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There I will give her back her vineyards and restore her youth. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, the day she came up out of Egypt…then she will no longer call me “my Master”, she will call me “my Husband”…
As I attempt to explain this passage, I will refer to the Hebrew.
In this scripture we see a relationship forming out of the dust. We see our Creator literally walking us and brining us to a land of trouble and affliction. All the while speaking tenderly, bringing about a life properly arranged through intimacy. It is in this place, our Creator makes His victorious summons. He thunders His declaration that speaks to the darkness separating us from the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
He rends His heart as a garment and encloses us with Himself. It is within this enclosure we find hope, we find revelation, and most of all we find a bridal intimacy shared by those that call Him “my Husband”, not “my Master”.
Do you see the difference here? There is no greater religion than that of a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus was crucified on a mountain. As the blood dripped down into the valley, the wasteland; it was brought to life.
It is this blood that makes me spiritually sound and restores me to Christ.
No “mountain top” can do that.
There is only One worthy of the mountain; One.
That is why I choose to live in a land of quiet revelation forsaking the “mountain top” experiences and singing a new song…
That is why I choose the desert…it allows me to kiss the dust…