From the desk of Joshua Creel
Perhaps the recent headlines that people are dying as they attempt to scale Mount Everest haven't been too surprising. After all, summiting the tallest peak on earth is filled with all kinds of peril. But it has been surprising to read that large crowds and long lines have contributed to the many fatalities on Everest this year. All the experts seem to agree that most of the climbers trying to scale the mountain are far too inexperienced for the task and should never have been allowed to make the attempt. In other words, Everest was meant for the elite few, not for the many.
In some ways the news from Everest reminds one of the myth of Icarus. Icarus, with his wings of feathers and wax constructed by his father, was warned against hubris: if he flew too close to the sun, it would be to his peril. Tragically, Icarus ignored the warning of his father and fell to his death. The point: men have no business ascending to such great heights!
David once asked the question, "Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place?" (Psalm 24.3) Many in Israel would have replied "no one." It should have been impressed upon them that God was too holy for them to approach (Exodus 19). Surely man had no business trying to ascend to such lofty heights! But David answered his own query: "He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully." (Psalm 24.4) David continued, saying that those who "seek Him" would receive "righteousness from the God of his salvation" (Psalm 24.5-6).
Both myth (Icarus) and human experience (Everest) warn us against trying to climb too high. But not God! He not only beckons us to ascend His holy hill, He is the one that makes the climb possible!