Dunes on Lake Michigan,
the largest fresh water sand dunes in the world
Sand dunes in the United Arab Emirates
Grandfather Mountain, N. Carolina
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false,
and does not swear deceitfully.
I've had several opportunities to climb a steep slope. Years ago my husband and I went with a team who took teens on traveling retreats. We stopped at Grandfather Mountain in N. Carolina, and climbed the mountain. One of the girls panicked, and we had to help that burden up the mountain--screaming at the top of her lungs! When we lived in the Middle East, we climbed a high sand dune with the children. And about 5 years ago, hubby and I went to Michigan and climbed the dunes at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.
None of them were easy climbs, and they all took tenacity, but the first was definitely the most difficult. Why? Not because I was older; it was my first climb. It was the incredible burden that was "on my back" as I struggled with a petrified teenager Had I not had help I probably would not have been able to make it to the top.
As I read this passage today, my thoughts went to those tough climbs and the difference between smooth sailing and rough going. The difference was in what I was carrying with me. Even so with the climb up the hill of the Lord.
I am to carry clean hands. If my hands are burdened with sin I cannot easily use them to climb. I would be too busy trying to hold on to my "treasures."
I am to have a pure heart. If my heart is heavy with impure thoughts, I won't have the strength to climb; I will be constantly breathing heavy with those musings that bring me down.
If my soul is dwelling on what is false, I may not even finish the climb, doubting that there will even be a holy place when I get to the top.
And sadly, if I am deceitful, I will not even try to get there and will likely try to convince others not to go, warning them that there is probably nothing at the top.
The very best part of a mountain climb (or a climb up a sand dune) is the view from the top. In N.Carolina we could see several states from our perch. In Abu Dhabi we could see miles and miles of beautiful shifting sands, and in Michigan we saw long stretches of Lake Michigan's breathtaking shores.
That's nothing, folks, compared to what we will see if only we take the trek up the hill of the Lord. We will stand in His holy place! What glory that will be! To stand with the Creator of all mankind, with the One who gave Himself for our sin so that we may dwell with Him; what more can we desire? We who have dropped the burden of sin at the foot of the cross will someday stand in His holy place, but I believe that each time we pick up anything that was in that sack and try to carry it for awhile, our trek up the hill of the Lord becomes harder.
Let's drop those burdens and climb!