After just a relatively short time in the desert, God calls Moses up the mountain. The people have seen the pillar and the fire that leads them, and they have been given manna and quail, water from the rock. The Israelites have already demonstrated a questioning and maybe fickle attitude towards their God and towards this journey that they are on. Moses heads up the mountain and enters into the cloud that has enveloped the mountain. On the seventh day God again calls Moses. He remains on the mountaintop for 40 days and 40 nights. For Joshua, part way up, and for those down below, it must have seemed like a long time.
I wonder how long it took for the first one in camp to wonder if Moses was coming back. To enter into God’s presence was terrifying and most thought it would kill a normal person. I wonder how long it took someone to raise the question of Moses’ return. I wonder if Joshua pondered entering the cloud to seek out Moses. I wonder how soon some folks started thinking about moving on. I wonder how long we might stick around. But for Moses, did it just seem like a few moments. Remember being in love and time just seemed to fly by when you were with that person? Maybe this was how it was for Moses. Maybe he came down and said, “What??!! It was HOW long?”
I wonder what the view was like for Moses. Maybe he didn’t even have time to look around. Maybe he was so focused on being with God that he did not take a peek at the view. I’d guess the consuming view was God. But for us, when we are on a mountaintop or on a high place, our view is usually pretty good. We can see way off into the distance. On a clear day we can see for miles and miles. When we enter into God’s presence and rest in that place, our sight is usually pretty clear. If we would allow ourselves a deep connection with God and would search out His will for us, I bet our vision would allow us to see for miles and miles. And I wonder why we don’t do this more often. I wonder why I don’t do this more often.
My guess is that the fear of entering fully into the presence is what holds us back. The fear of seeing clearly where God is calling us removes the excuses and requires us to step out boldly in faith. Being fully in the presence also reveals our faults and what we desire to hold back from our Lord. Moses entered faithfully and without fear into the cloud on the mountaintop. As we grow in our faith, may we too learn to step faithfully and fully into the presence of our Lord. And when we are on the mountaintop, maybe we will really love the view and want to simply rest into the presence of God. I wonder…