No matter where we go, we are in a holy place. Having recently come back from a trip to the Holy Lands I have been repeatedly struck with the holiness of God. He is holy above and holy near. One experience on the trip that encapsulated the force of this realization could be expressed by a description of our climb up Mt. Sinai.
Our group set off through the Sinai mountains about 2 am. The sky was pitch black, but the bright crescent of the moon and the sharp, white pinpoint stars actually made it as bright as day. All around us loomed stone mountains. The mountains in the Sinai are nothing like our mountains here; they are solid granite lumps, simply rock mountains. For hours we climbed up and up the winding stone path—layers upon layers of craggy mountains surrounding us on every side as far as the eye could see. After about two hours, we came to a place where we could see the summit of Mt. Sinai. How absolutely terrifying to think of the glory of God resting in “thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound.” [Ex. 19:16] How could Moses climb all that way, since, “so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, ‘I am full of fear and trembling.’ ” ? [Heb. 12:21] When I whispered to one of my classmates, “Imagine going up this to meet God?” he responded, “I would just jump off the edge!” God is overwhelmingly awesome and holy. Even those mountains by themselves—without the fire and billows of smoke— struck me with a terror at God’s power. How is it that we can presume to meet with Him?
However, we reached the top just as the sun rose. How small the sun seemed! Like a tiny disk in midst of that heap of mountains. There on the top of Mount Sinai, we had the Ten Commandments read, a devotional, and singing of “How Great Thou Art.” Afterward, we were able to have a few minutes by ourselves on the summit. Undoubtedly, that was the most life changing experience of my life so for. To be in a place where God spoke to man face to face as one speaks to a friend! Our God is both all-powerful and all-knowing. He terrifies us with His transcendence and He and is with us in His immanence. His loving kindness endures forever. How can it be?
“To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity…” [II Peter 2:18]
Never forget that you are in a holy place.