On the first day of the third month after the Israelites left Egypt—on that very day—they came to the Desert of Sinai. After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain. Exodus 19:1-2 (NIV).
Do you have a big decision that needs to be made? There are three things to consider at the mountain of decision:
Firstly, the mountain of decision is a place to halt.
When the Israelites reached Mount Sinai they had to stop and wait. In Exodus 19:2 we’re told that Israel camped … in front of the mountain. They didn’t rush past the mountain. They made it a place of habitation. And it should be the same with us. When faced with a big decision we need to stay camped in the desert and wait for God to meet with us.
Secondly, the mountain of decision is a place promising a heritage.
Mount Sinai was far more than a bump in the wilderness. It was a place of covenant and intimacy with the Creator. And it was a place where the Israelites were offered something that no other people on the planet had ever been offered before. That’s because the mountain of decision was a place where God promised to give His people a heritage. In Exodus 19:5-6 we read, “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (see 1 Peter 2:9-10).
There’s a promise of a heritage for us today. When, like the Israelites we’re at a place of potential, of prospects, or a place of intimacy with God, we discover that we’re special. That we mean something to God. That we can walk in the light instead of groping in the darkness. That instead of being nothing, we’re something. That we’re accepted and not rejected. And that we’re His most prized possession.
We sometimes forget that we’re special to God. We see the rocky real estate of life but fail to see the place that we have in Him.
So see the mountain of decision as a place of encouragement, hope, and expectation. It’s a place where God makes a people out of those who are not a people. And it’s a place where God inaugurates us to declare His praises.
Thirdly, the mountain of decision is a place of holiness.
When the Israelites camped at the base of Mount Sinai, they were on the doorstep of a holy place. That’s why the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Make them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, ‘Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. He shall surely be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on him. Whether man or animal, he shall not be permitted to live.’” Exodus 19:10-12.
These are sobering words. They indicate that there are no high fives with God. He’s not the bloke next door. No, our God is holy, and when we meet Him at the mountain of decision we must make sure we’ve purified ourselves by confessing sin and turning from our wicked ways.
That bears some consideration, doesn’t it? For when you get right down to it, it becomes obvious that the most important lesson to be learnt at the mountain of decision is that God wants His people to be pure.
Yes, at the mountain of decision we discover that God is calling us to a higher level of commitment. He wants us to die to self, to come clean, and to lay aside everything that’s offensive to Him. And, in the words of the Apostle Paul, we must get to the point where we can say, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” Acts 20:24.
Of note, at the mountain of decision the Israelites shied away from intimacy with the Almighty. They complained about being in the desert and longed for the good old days in Egypt (cf. Exodus 16:1-3). God was calling the Israelites to holiness, but when the people saw the thunder and lightning, heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Exodus 20:18-19.
We do that too, don’t we? We stay at a distance from God – try to keep Him at arm’s length.
Yet in the light of the death and resurrection of Christ, God wants us to draw near to Him.
So how about it? You’re at the mountain of decision. God is calling you into personal intimacy with Him. He’s wanting you to count the cost. He’s wanting you to decide whether you’re going to go forward or turn back. He wants you to deal with more than your outward actions. He wants you to deal with your inner motives. To examine your heart. To confess your sin. To come clean. To stop flirting with Him.
Yes, at the mountain of decision you discover that God is after you. He wants you to meet with Him and unconditionally pledge yourself to Him. And He wants you to do that by crucifying your will and having no agenda except His. So forget the plans you’ve made for yourself. Pray, “God, what do You want me to do?” Pray, “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee.” Then act on His leading.