God is with us in Word and Sacrament

Midweek Lent 2

Midweek Lent 2

Mountain to Mountain: Moriah to Zion

  • OT: Genesis 22:1–14
  • NT: Hebrews 11:17–19

Mountains are significant places in Scripture. The Hebrew people had a cosmology that saw heaven being up, hell being down, and the earth being in between. God Himself encourages this way of thinking as He continued to make Himself available to His people on mountains. So, mountains drew the people for worship.

Mount Sinai is a powerful example of the presence of the Lord God as it was covered in smoke and rumbled and burned when God was there. It is on this mountain that Moses entered into the presence of God and brought back all manner of messages and directions from the Most High. However, even earlier in the pages of Genesis, God called upon Abraham to bring Isaac, the son whom he loved, to the Mountain of Moriah and to offer him up as a burnt offering. Mountains bring one closer to God, and sacrifices made there ascend directly to Him in the smoke.

The Mountain of Moriah will later be renamed Mount Zion: the Holy Mountain upon which the temple in Jerusalem is built. The city of Jerusalem is built upon seven hills, the highest being Zion. In the Most Holy Place, God established His throne room on earth, and the people ascended to Him there to worship Him. The Psalms of Ascent were sung or chanted as the people made their way through the streets of Jerusalem and up Mount Zion for worship. They climbed up to the temple; and even the temple itself had various levels of height. The higher the people ascended, the closer to God and His holiness they came.

This proximity to God on mountains is also noted by Jesus’ Transfiguration on a mountain and, of course, by Mount Calvary, where Jesus was offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1).

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