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The Highest of Mountains

July 21, 2022 • Life for Leaders

Scripture – Isaiah 2:2 (NIV)

In the last days the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

Focus

Mt. Everest draws people from around the world for the simple reason that it is the highest mountain on earth. Similarly, the people of God, if we live rightly, will draw people, not to ourselves, but to the Lord who makes such right living possible.

Devotion

Mount Everest fascinates people throughout the world. Every year hundreds of climbers spend tons of money and risk their lives in an attempt to scale Everest. Though it isn’t an especially beautiful mountain, and though climbers say it isn’t nearly as challenging to scale as other lofty peaks, and though it’s difficult to reach even before climbing, nevertheless Mt. Everest draws potential climbers by the hundreds. Why? For the simple reason that Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain on earth. At 29,029 feet it surpasses K2, the second highest mountain, by 778 feet.

When Isaiah prophesied that “the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains” (Isaiah 2:2), he wasn’t predicting some massive movement of the earth that would make Mt. Zion, currently at 2,430 feet in elevation, literally higher than Everest. Rather, the temple mount would be, figuratively speaking, the highest of all. It would be more important than any other place, such that people from the whole world would “stream to it” (2:2).

Some Christians look forward to the time when the nations literally come to Mt. Zion. This may or may not happen in the future. I’ll leave that to God for now. But, from a New Testament perspective, we can see something different in Isaiah’s prophecy. In 1 Corinthians we learn that we who belong to Jesus Christ through faith are God’s temple on earth (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). We are the “place” where God’s presence is experienced. We offer to the world the good news of forgiveness through Jesus. By our words and our deeds, by our distinctive living and loving, the world should be streaming to us, even as we are called to go to the world.

Moreover, in Isaiah, the peoples of the world come to Mt. Zion in order that God might teach them his ways “so that [they] may walk in his paths” (Isaiah 2:3). We who follow Jesus Christ have the opportunity, indeed, the responsibility to live in such a way that people look to us for guidance about the best way to live. This happens when we reflect the truth, justice, love, and grace of God in all that we do, no matter where we are. Yes, some might reject us as fools for choosing to walk on a counter-cultural path. But others will want to walk as we walk. They’ll be drawn to follow the Lord each day because of the witness of our lives.

Scripture doesn’t encourage us to show off or to make a big deal about our right living. Rather, it urges us to live in such a way that people see God’s presence in us and want to know this presence for themselves. Our humble righteousness points to the superlative righteousness of God.

Reflect

Are you living in such a way that people are drawn to God through you?

Are you part of a church that lives magnetically in the world?

How could you live today so that people might see God’s grace in you?

Act

Treat someone today with an extra measure of love and grace because you are a follower of Jesus.

Pray

Gracious God, thank you for this lofty vision of the future. You seek, not only the company of Israel, but also of all nations. The time will come when people from across the globe will be drawn to you. Indeed, that time has begun. How wonderful that people from formerly pagan countries are coming to you in such great numbers!

O Lord, help me to live as part of a “temple” that is the “highest mountain” on earth. Help my church to speak and live so as to draw our neighbors to you. Pour out your Spirit upon us afresh so that we might reflect your love and grace into this dark world. Help us to live as your people, not only when we are gathered together, but also when we are scattered in this world. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Arrogant Pride and Self-Sufficiency (Isaiah 2ff.)


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