Monday, March 2nd

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the LORD said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey…Exodus 3:1-8

 

The rhythms of my life used to include an annual drive from North Dakota to the Seattle area.  The high point of the trip, literally, came when this prairie raised boy drove ever closer to, then through, the majesty of the mountains.

 

It is easy to see how the ancient ones set mountains aside as the seat of the gods.  They tower over life below, dancing with the interplay of light and shadow.  And they test any person that dares conquer them.

 

Like everybody else, I would drive through those mountains and wonder at the courage of the first pioneers who figured out a way to cross them.  I would admire the ingenuity of those who ran the first rail lines and cut the first highways that “tamed” the mountains for future travelers.  The mountains were a joy.

 

But the strangest parts of that drive were the “continental divides.”  A continental divide is a geographic feature where the rain which falls heads toward lower ground in two different directions.

 

I was confused the first time through as I actually crossed several continental divides and not all of them happened at the mountain passes I expected.  I thought there was only one and it ought to be at the highest point of my drive.  But, like life itself, it doesn’t work that way.  It is never as simple as it seems, or as we long for it to be.

 

Whenever we reach key turning points, like Moses on Mount Horeb, we get just a little bit afraid. Are we doing the right thing?  Does God really want this?  Couldn’t God choose a better leader?  Can we really take God at his word when he promises to provide what we lack?

 

All week long our devotions will look some key turning point, mountain top, experiences in scripture.  I hope they encourage us as we traverse the peaks and valleys of our lives.

 

Let us pray:  Guide us ever, Great Redeemer, pilgrims through this barren land.  We are weak but you are mighty, hold us with your powerful hand.  Hold us indeed.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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