August 3, 2020
My family just returned from a week in Colorado. We stayed with good friends in Colorado Springs and then with my wife’s brother’s family in Denver. So this trip was all about friends, family . . . and mountains! We began our time out there with a drive to the top of Pikes Peak (14,000 feet) and ended our time with a drive along Trail Ridge Road atop Rocky Mountain National Park (12,000 feet).
If you have ever stood on a mountain summit, I’m sure you will agree that there is nothing else quite like it. The feeling of arrival is uniquely satisfying, the view and atmosphere are both breathtaking in their own ways, and your perspective on everything is completely transformed.
And in Colorado, when you aren’t on those mountain tops, you are constantly looking up at them. Back in the city, you find yourself peeking at the peaks repeatedly. Most of the park benches point west toward the Rockies. I found that even as we wound through gorgeous valleys in the national park with beautiful hillsides, Longs Peak had the power of reversing the gravity of my gaze so that my sightline consistently fell upwards to that majestic summit.
The sight of an incredible mountain has fixating power to lift our eyes off things below.
So I offer this lesson: If we want freedom from being consumed with the lower things of this world, all we need to do is get within site of God’s glorious mountain. Then we won’t have to fight the focus of our eyes in frustrating struggle. They will just naturally look up.
So what is God’s glorious mountain? Mount Zion.
And where can we get such a view? From the Bible alone.
One of the biggest reasons why we should read God’s Word every day is that it sets Zion’s Peak in our sights. The Bible affords a view of God’s mountain that you cannot get anywhere else, and it is infinitely more captivating than anything Colorado has to offer. “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King” (Ps 48:1-2).
Zion is “in the far north” because it is exalted and removed from all other mountains. It is a destination of holy distinction beyond all the base kingdoms of men. It is “the holy habitation of the Most High” (Ps 46:4). To be within sight of it, is to feel its attractional power.
Whatever other things this world might tempt us to focus on, this glimpse of Zion lifts our eyes above them. The gravitational pull of its glorious reality exerts its influence over our sightline and takes our minds off the tantalizations and temptations around us. We need to see Zion because the pleasures of this world are out to distract us from Zion’s all-satisfying King and the anxieties of this world are out to discourage us from Zion’s all-important journey. With no view of God’s mountain, this worldly terrain will drown us in a never-satisfying focus of fleshly lusts and fleshly fears. But with Zion in our sights, those things will be forgotten.
So this little note about my family’s trip is really a simple summons for you to read your Bible more faithfully and more personally than ever before. Don’t we all need a clearer view of Zion right now? What on earth are your eyes tempted to fall upon? Have you had enough of the false promises and the consuming concerns of this world? Open up God’s Word and look toward his mountain. Though we seem yet far south, the Bible’s magnifying power brings Zion’s hazy summit into clear view. If you will but read, you won’t have to force your eyes away from lower things because they will naturally look up.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:1-2).