What level of the mountain are you on?
Exodus 24:1-18, 25:1
This message is about having intimacy with God. Our level of commitment demonstrates what level of intimacy we have with God and the mountain represents the 4 levels.
- Marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity (intimate knowledge of the law)
- Marked by a warm friendship developing through long association (friends)
- Of a very personal or private nature (secrets)
The level of intimacy we have with God depends upon the amount of time and effort we put into our relationship with him.
We enter an intimate relationship with God that is very personal or of a private nature when he becomes a vital necessity. When we have an intimate relationship with God, he will show us his secrets - God said he would do nothing unless he reveals it to his servants the prophets. He told Abraham his plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Therefore, when we have an intimate relationship with God, we know God. We don’t just know about him. Many people know about God, but they don’t know him. In St. John 6:66 many of the disciples turned and walked away when Jesus told them what they must do to have a relationship with him. They said, this is a hard saying, who can hear it? This is what many people say today. When someone comes to them and tells them the truth of what God requires, they won’t hear it because they want to listen to people who will tickle their ears, they want to listen to people who will tell them it is all about grace and mercy, they want to listen to people who will tell them that you don’t have to live holy.
The scripture says in I John that if we say we know God and don’t do what he commands us to do we are a liar, and the truth is not in us. Now this is a hard saying. Think about it for a moment. What does God command us to do? Look at the commandments, look at the beatitudes, look at everything Jesus said in the gospels about how we are to live. Yet how many people really take these things to heart?
What is a vital necessity? It is something that you can’t do without to sustain your life. An example would be a person who is on dialysis. Another example is our daily intake of food. When a person is on dialysis, they are given an appointment. But before the appointment how do they know they need dialysis? They know because their body is exhibiting symptoms that cause them to go to the doctor. After tests are run the doctor comes back with a diagnosis that the kidneys are failing and to keep the body functioning properly dialysis is needed. Let’s say the appointment is at 8:00 a.m. That person will make preparations to attend dialysis. That person won’t go anywhere else or accept an invitation to do anything else. Why? Because dialysis is a vital necessity. It is needed to keep the person alive. Suppose the person for some reason misses the appointment, what would happen? Impurities would begin to build in the blood because the kidneys are a vital necessity in a person’s body. They filter the blood. The more appointments that person misses the more toxins build in the blood and if not treated that person will eventually die. It is the same with our spiritual life. WE must make time for God. We must keep our appointments.
It is a vital necessity for our spiritual life. If we start to miss our appointments, toxins start to build in our lives. The disciples were in the temple daily and they were breaking bread from house to house. We will stop reading the word daily. We eat natural food every day to sustain our life because food is a vital necessity and without it, we would die. Therefore, we must eat the word of God daily, this is our spiritual food, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We will stop praying. We might continue to go to church on a regular basis or our church attendance might slow down. And as we miss these appointments, we start doing things we shouldn’t do or saying things we shouldn’t say. We might become less patient, angrier, less caring, and less giving, we might begin to lie. We will begin to exhibit some of the behavior of the old man who had been put under subjection.
Jesus said we must abide in the vine; we must stay there. If these toxins (Sin) are not removed from our lives, we will eventually die spiritually. We will lose our relationship with God. Not because God left us, but because we left him. Our time with God must be a priority, but sometimes things get in the way, it could be our job, our relationships, whether it be our friends or spouse and it could even be our daily activities. Sometimes we think that because God is ever present, we can treat him any kind of way. And this is how the Jews treated God, in Malachi 1st chapter. But God said he is a jealous God, and he will not be second. We must put him first and give him what he requires. The more time we spend with God the closer we get to him.
In the book of Luke, the 10th chapter Mary knew Jesus was a vital necessity. She sat at his feet while Martha was cumbered about; she was busy doing other things. (LIKE WHAT) Jesus was talking but Martha was not listening. We must sit at the feet of Jesus daily to sustain our life. Mary chose that good part. Martha wanted Mary to stop sitting at the feet of Jesus and help her serve. That’s what some people want us to do. Those who don’t have a close relationship with God. They want us to stop sitting at the feet of Jesus, they want us to stop listening to his words. They will try and pull you away from him, but you must choose to stay there at his feet. Choose the good part that won’t be taken away. Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Having a close relationship with God takes work and it takes sacrifice.
But not everyone is willing to pay the price for an intimate relationship with God. Look at the disciples who were daily with Jesus but one of them betrayed him. He is not a vital necessity to everyone who says they are called by his name. They draw near to him with their mouth and honor him with their lips, but their heart is far from him. Matthew 15:8 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22-23
He said unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, he said he was the light and the bread that came down from heaven. Jesus said I am that bread of life…. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. He said the words I speak unto you they are Spirit, and they are life. He said before Abraham was I AM. Jesus made it possible for everyone to have an intimate relationship with God. The word says that we can go boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Our level of commitment determines our level of intimacy with God. We decide; we choose what level we will be on by our obedience to his instructions. Many people say they want to know God, but they don’t really want to know him. It takes work to know him. Just as it takes work to make a natural relationship work. It takes time and effort to have a spiritual relationship with God. The more we are intimate with God the more intimate we want to be. We want more of him. In the beginning, when we were babes we walked around on a spiritual high, full of joy on cloud nine, telling anyone who would listen. But as we mature, we are no longer babes, and we need more substantial food to grow and develop to maturity. Paul said in I Peter 2:2, that when we were newborn babes, we needed the sincere milk of the word but once we start to grow, we need meat. If you continue to feed a baby liquid food their growth will be stunted because their bodies will begin to miss out on the vitamins and nutrients that come from eating solid food, food that is necessary to sustain growth and maturity. We can’t stay at the same level. Jesus said a tree that does not bear fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.
Let us look at the different levels using the mountain.
Level 1 Exodus 19:10-13, 16-20, 20:18-21
On this level, there is a border at the foot of the mountain and the people are at the foot of the mountain. At this level, even though you are on the outskirts, you still must sanctify yourself to prepare to be in the presence of God. Moses had to sanctify the people, otherwise, they would die when the presence of God came down. On this level, God visits you, but you only come so far into his presence. The people were at this level. They were comfortable with this. They were satisfied to stay on this level. They didn’t mind hearing only the voice of God, seeing the manifestation of his presence on the mountain and not being in his presence. They told Moses to speak to them what God was saying because he was too terrible, they were afraid of what they heard and saw. When Jesus was here on earth there were also people who were on the outskirts. These people only followed him because of what he could do for them. They were satisfied with the fish and loaves. Many turned away from him when he told them what they must do to come close. The Israelites heard the thunder and lightning as God spoke. They said all that God has said we will do, but they didn’t. Some people today say the same things.
God said: pay your tithes and offering, you don’t
God said: love him with all your heart, you don’t
God said: love your neighbor as yourself, you don’t
God said: do good unto them that despitefully use you and mistreat you, you don’t
God said: put off the works of the flesh, you don’t
God said: keep his commandments, you don’t
Many people today are comfortable and satisfied just going to church Sunday after Sunday, sitting in the pews, hearing the word of God, and then going home. They don’t do anything else. They won’t help in the ministry, and they won’t read their Bibles or pray. They are content to stay at the level they are on. They don’t mind being on the outskirts, they don’t mind someone else telling them what God said instead of getting into the presence of the Lord and hearing from him themselves. They see the power of God and they see the Holy Spirit moving in people, but they say, I don’t like what I see, it makes me uncomfortable, so I prefer to stay where I am. I am satisfied with not having the power of God move in my life. It is not necessary. God is speaking to many people on this level but because they don’t like the way he is appearing to them they make the decision to only hear from the preacher. When God came down and appeared to the people Moses told them not to be afraid because God wanted to prove them, and he also wanted them to fear the Lord. When the people saw the presence of God you would think that they gained a healthy fear and respect for God, but it didn’t last long.
Level 2 Exodus 24: 1-4, 9-11
This level is represented by Aaron, the priests, and the 70 elders who ascended the mountain to see God. Not only did they see God, but they ate and drank with him. This means that God communicated with them and allowed them to come into his presence. This means that their relationship was closer than the people because they had taken the steps necessary to be in the presence of the Lord.
However, even though Aaron, his sons, and the elders saw the presence of God they still turned their backs on him. Aaron was with Moses when he performed the miracles before Pharaoh, he and the others saw the pillar of the cloud that went before them during the day and the fire that lit the way at night. They saw the parting of the Red Sea and how they walked across on dry ground. They saw how God gave them fresh water to drink from bitter and they saw how God fed them with manna, food from heaven, but when it came time for them to take a stand for what was right, they fell. Aaron made the golden calves and his sons Nadab and Abihu were killed by God when they made a sacrifice that was unauthorized by God. Leviticus 10:1-10.
People on this level can be represented by the parable of the sower and the seed found in St. Mark chapter four. Some seed fell on good ground, some fell on stony ground, some fell by the wayside, and some fell among thorns. The seed that fell on stony ground hears the word and receives it with gladness and even endures for awhile but when afflictions and persecutions come, they fall because they refuse to stand for God. They let the cares of this world choke out their relationship with him. In Matthew 19:16 the rich young ruler could not give up his earthly possessions to follow Jesus. These people choose not to sit at the feet of Jesus. Paul said in Hebrews 3:9-11 that God was grieved with the people who saw his miracles and his works in the wilderness for 40 years. Even though they saw the works of God they did not know him, and because they refused him, they didn’t enter into the Promised Land. Paul said in Hebrews 3:12 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
We would think that when we come into an intimate relationship with Christ, we will never turn our backs on him, but some people do. Look at what happened to Peter, when the soldiers came to arrest, he ran away even though he told Jesus that he would never leave and he would even die with him. Later when several people recognized him, he denied that he knew Christ even though he had been with Jesus for three and a half years. We must make sure that we are rooted and grounded in Christ and filled with his Spirit. We make sure he is a vital necessity in our life, because Satan will come with his attacks to make us fall.
Level 3 Exodus 24:12-14
Joshua and Moses represent this level. Joshua was a minister to Moses, he helped Moses. He was also one of the two who came back with a good report about the land God had promised the children of Israel when they went to spy out the land. He had faith that God would deliver the land to them. (TELL THE STORY) People on this level have faith. This level is also a level of waiting and it requires obedience to receive from God what he has promised. On this level, Joshua and Moses were waiting for instructions from God. God told Moses that he would give him tablets of stones that contained the law and commandments from him. You must have patience at this level.
Peter, James, and John were on this level. They were with Jesus during the transfiguration and Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. It takes dedication to reach this level. They were with Jesus in situations where the others weren’t. Peter denied Jesus three times, but he repented when he saw what he had done. Peter, James, and John were with Jesus when he went to pray in the garden and Peter was ready to fight to protect Jesus when the soldiers came to arrest him. They were the only ones allowed in when Jesus healed the dead girl in Luke 8:49-55. Jesus also entrusted his mother to John when he was dying on the cross. When you’re on this level God allows you to hear and see things, he doesn’t allow others to hear and see, and he entrusts you with things that are important to him because you have proven yourself. Just as he entrusted the leading of the children of Israel to the promised land after Moses had died. A person on this level spends time in his presence; you spend time in his word, you spend time fasting and praying and you spend time in worship. You do the things that are necessary to have an intimate relationship with God. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
We are getting closer to the top.
Level 4 Exodus 24:15-18, 33:8-11
This level is represented by Moses. Moses denied himself to be in the presence of God. He sought after him. He could have stayed with Pharaoh and the Egyptians and been a partaker of all the riches at his disposal even the whole kingdom, but he chose to be obedient to God. He gave up everything. Hebrews 11:25-29. Moses told God that he wanted to see his face. He asked God to show him his way and his glory. When God wanted to destroy the people, he prayed for the sins of the people and sought God to not destroy them. God also gave Moses the 10 commandments. John and Paul were on this level. John was on level three, but he ascended the mountain to level four. John was the disciple who leaned on Jesus’s breast, and he was also given the revelation of Jesus. Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation and God showed John the mysteries of who he is. God took him away in the spirit and he saw things no other person was given the privilege to see. Paul was also on this level; he saw Jesus when he was on the road to Damascus. He went to the third heaven and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter, and he wrote most of the New Testament. Abraham and the prophets were on this level.
These people didn’t get to this level overnight, it was a process. Moses did not get to this level overnight; he spent 40 years in the desert before he had his first encounter with God. Abraham did not get to this level of intimacy with God overnight. It took many, many years. He first had to trust God when he told him to leave his country and go to a land that he would show him. It took faith to wander for years having no permanent place of residence. It took faith to believe that God would give him an heir with Sarah his wife. Yet he did not reach this overnight, it took time and experience with God. On this level, you have to be willing to forsake all and follow Christ.
You might not believe that you can ascend to these different levels, that it’s no longer available, but God is no respecter of persons. We don’t know where God will take us if we open ourselves to him and develop an intimate relationship with him. It takes eating the bread from heaven, it takes fasting and praying and putting off the works of the flesh. It takes dedicating ourselves to God, our heavenly Father. Jesus said in John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
Our heavenly Father wants to have an intimate relationship with each and every one of us, but we must be willing. We must believe and trust him,
What level of the mountain are you on?
What level do you want to be on?