Mountains have been used literally and figuratively throughout the Word of God.
It was on mountaintops that land first appeared to Noah when the floodwaters began to recede (Gen 8:5). It was on a mountain that Abraham’s faith was put to the test (Gen. 22:2). It was on a mountain that God met with & spoke to Moses (Exodus 3). It was on a mountain that Jesus preached what became known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5). It was on a mountain that the “transfiguration” took place (Matthew 17). It was on Mount Calvary (otherwise translated The Skull) that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified (Luke 23:33).
Figuratively, mountains were used in reference to otherwise insurmountable obstacles in one’s life that can be removed by faith (Matt.21: 21).
Be it literally or figuratively, mountains in the Bible often refer to the meeting place or where God and the things of God can be sought.
David, under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, asks and answers very pertinent questions regarding the Mountain of God:
“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” (Psalms 24: 3,4 NIV).
We are all born with a sin nature that is hostile towards God and the things of God. Even our “religious” (as opposed to spiritual) rituals and other acts of “self” righteousness are nothing more than “filthy rags” in the eyes of God (Isa 64:6 NIV). People who handle filthy rags do not have “clean hands” (Psalms 24:4 NIV).
No human being has a “pure heart” (Psalms 24:4). Other than the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, there has never been anyone who has kept the “greatest commandment” by loving God with all one’s “heart and soul” (Matt.22: 36, 37 NIV). The Lord Jesus Christ taught that the “test” of our love for Him (John 14:15) is demonstrated by our obedience and there is not one of us who has not disobeyed (Romans 3:12).
Although we are commanded not to (1 John 5:21), we all have idols, that is persons and/or things that creep into our lives and take an inappropriate place in our list of priorities from time to time. Since these idols are as numerous as there are people and things, an idol must be seen as anything or anyone that takes first place in our lives and in our list of priorities. This is not to say that we are not to have people or legitimate things in our lives, but they are to be kept in their proper place in our list of priorities (Luke 14:26).
Finally, we must resolve what is meant by “swearing to what its false” (Psalms 24:4 NIV). No Christian would willingly promote a false teaching, but unless we believe that we are first Christian to know all that there is to know about God and the things of God as of the moment of our salvation, we all possess & inevitably promote varying degrees of false doctrine at one time or another.
The post-salvation Ministry of God the Holy Spirit is not only to reveal the truth & to purge our souls of all the false doctrines that we have either been taught or concluded on our own.
It is the arrogance of Man that leads him to believe that he or any one denomination has all of the answers. Such arrogance reveals his own ignorance & denial of the historical record of those who have made such claims throughout the history of the Christian Church.
David knew & Scripture (Matt.19: 25, 26) confirms that on our own, no one can ascend to the Mountain of God. How then does one guard against false doctrines, idolatry, and maintain a “pure heart” and “clean hands” spoken of in Psalms 24:4 (NIV) in order to ascend to the Mountain of God?
The answer is simple, yet profound. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to Father, except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV).
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.