Going Up to the Mountain – Jeremiah 31

Although Judah was facing seventy years of exile in Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah sent them a message of encouragement from the Lord regarding the future of their families and their nation.  God promised to return them to the land and to bless it, ultimately making it His habitation and a destination for all the all the nations of the world.


Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
    O virgin Israel!
For there shall be a day when watchmen will call
    in the hill country of Ephraim:
‘Arise, and let us go up to Zion,
    to the Lord our God.’”  Jeremiah 31:4,6 ESV

Years earlier, the prophet Isaiah had expanded upon the Lord’s vision for the future of His people and their land.

It shall come to pass in the latter days
    that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
 and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  Isaiah 2:2-3 ESV

I have traveled to this land one time in my life and seen the bounty and blessings that the Lord has bestowed on it.  It was inspirational to look up at the stars on a clear night from the shores of the Sea of Galilee and realize that the One who put them there likely also walked on this very ground.

What really sticks in my memory from the visit, though, was the excitement some of my fellow travelers experienced as the plane was getting ready to land there.  They were bouncing up and down a bit on their seats, just like little kids about to go to an amusement park.  Although they had been there several times before, to them, this land bore the unique stamp of God, and in their minds, they were about to set foot into His holy presence.  They were alive and ready to learn more about His light, His love, and His ways.  They desired to walk closer to Him and His paths.

What about us today, where can we go to experience times of excitement in the Lord’s presence?

The good news is that we do not have to go anywhere.  We can stay right where we are as He allows us to become aware of His immense love for us.  A love that totally forgives us when we have blatantly disobeyed Him.  A burning love that looks upon us as total innocents because He bestows His perfect holy innocence onto us.

The Lord will come to us in the form of a beautiful sunrise, a loving pet, a late season flower, a hot and cleansing shower, hot chocolate, a note or call from a friend, a delicious meal, a verse from His word or a comment from another that speaks directly to our heart, all to give us the warmth of a love we did nothing to deserve.  He is a fountain of limitless grace, mercy, kindness, and love for us.  We may choose to run away from Him but thank God we can never escape His loving presence.  He is nothing but goodness, love, and holy innocence, and He wants to share it all with us today no matter how ugly we have been.  He will hold no good thing back from us if we turn to Him.

Take a trip with Jesus today up to the mountain of the Lord.  He is waiting for you to join Him.

Reflection

Can you think of a time when you were physically excited to be in the presence of the Lord?  If so, where was it, and what were you doing?  How did the Lord acknowledge you there?

Maybe you have not yet experienced the sweetness of the Lord’s presence.  Do not despair.  If this is something you seek, He will come to you today.

Father, we come to you in all of our disobedience, selfishness, rudeness, anger, and pride, and ask that You wash us clean.  We claim the loving sacrifice of Jesus on Cavalry and ask to be made holy by His death on the cross for us.  May we also rise again as Jesus rose from the dead on the third day.  Take us up to the mountain of the Lord with You today.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

O Come All Ye Faithful
(John Francis Wade, 1751)

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God’s holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

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