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Climb to Him and See

“You cannot stay on the mountain forever. You have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least know.”

Rene Daumal, Le Mont Analogue, 1952

One climbs, one sees.

One descends, one sees no more, but one has seen.

Although Daumal was exposing his philosophical exploration of mountaineering, I can’t help but think of Moses being on Mt Sinai. Just him and the Lord.

“Come up to me on the mountain and wait there…”

Exodus 24.12; 15-16

You’ll recall Moses went up on Mt Sinai several times to commune with the Lord (Exodus 19.2-10; 16-25; 20.21; 24.1-18; 32.31; 34.1-2). On one of those occasions, he stays there for 40 days and 40 nights. The Lord’s presence meant everything to Moses. Remember his declaration in Exodus 33.15:

“If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.”

His desire to behold God caused Moses to fix his gaze on a reward that awaited him beyond this present age (Hebrews 11.25-26). He saw the unseen real. He saw Him who is invisible (Hebrews 11.27). And thus he was forever changed.

I imagine that we too naturally gravitate toward the things we set our sight on. But do we set our sights on what is best? On the realities of heaven? Do we know the way? Do we allow mishaps and failures to discourage us in attaining what our Lord has promised? Explorers like Hillary and Norgay assaulted the summit of Everest despite several unsuccessful attempts by others before them. They ascended the mount even though its summit was unseen. We too can see the unseen. And when our sight is set on things above, we ascend.

“Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Colossians 3.2

We see the hand of God in light of creation’s grand design. In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness. And more than that, we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5.7). What a consolation that is indeed. By faith we see Mt Calvary. And in so doing, come face to face with the realization that our God is near. And He cares for us. Enough to sacrifice His own Son in our stead. Does that fact alone not cause your heart to burn within your breast?

When one can no longer see, he knows.

And so it is with us. Our faith cannot thrive in the hostile environment of selfreliance. We can and we must surrender our will to Him. And to Him alone. Then and only then can we conduct ourselves in the lower regions by the memory of what we have seen. Through faith.

Sometimes it is only by getting lost in the wilderness that we find out who we truly are. Quenching our thirst for what we soon discover is unattainable alone. Searching for a glimpse of salvation and finding strength in the One who knows. Desiring to be in the presence of the One who is above. And who sees.

Moses was invited into the cloud of God’s glory on the seventh day (Exodus 24.16). And He invites us still.

What is above knows. What is below can know. Climb to Him and see.

And stay.