“The mountains of Bashan are majestic, with many peaks stretching high into the sky. Why do you look with envy, O rugged mountains, at Mount Zion, where God has chosen to live, where the Lord himself will live forever? Surrounded by unnumbered thousands of chariots, the Lord came from Mount Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended to the heights, you led a crowd of captives. You received gifts from the people, even from those who rebelled against you. Now the Lord God will live among us there.” Psalms 68:15-18 NLT
In Numbers 21:33-35 and Deuteronomy 3:1-7 we read about the Israelite conquest of the area of Bashan and its king, Og. The Golan heights are a part of this region (see Joshua 21:27). In I Kings 4:13 we read that the area of Argob in Bashan was a commissariat during Solomon's time. In Ezekiel 39:18 we read about the great livestock of rams, lambs, goats, and bulls from Bashan. Psalm 22:12 speaks about the bulls of Bashan as well. Isaiah 2:13, Ezekiel 27:6, and Zechariah 11:2 tell of the mighty oaks there. The fertile plains of Bashan are recognized in Jeremiah 50:19 and Amos 4:1. Here, in today's text, we read of it's mountainous terrain and rugged, majestic peaks. The psalmist asks why these mountains are envious of Zion. Zion was the city of David. David wanted to build God a temple, a place of worship for Yahweh! Jerusalem is now considered Mount Zion, the place of the permanent temple. Mount Zion is a place where worshippers ascend to meet with God! Mountains are massive and spire high into the sky, but no mountain can reach as high as the majesty of Almighty God!! The highest place we can ever travel to is when we bow before God in humility and let Him raise us up to heights unknown to mortal man. No matter how beautiful a place may be, or how pleasurable it may be to its inhabitants or tourists, nothing can compare to one moment in the presence of Jehovah!!! Only in His presence can we find utter fulfillment! Better is one day in His courts than thousands elsewhere! “A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.” Psalms 84:10 NLT I say a great big AMEN!!!!!!! There is no place like home. Home is a right relationship with God, living in His house as our Father! We are welcomed back home through the Lord Jesus Christ! Christ Jesus came down from the Mountain of God (Heaven) and has ascended back to His place in Heaven until He will, one day, return for His worshippers. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said this in reference to Psalm 68:18 (part of today's ending text): “For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” Notice that it says “he ascended.” This clearly means that Christ also descended to our lowly world. And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” Ephesians 4:4-13 NLT “People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.” Micah 4:2 NLT Come, let's go up to the mountain of the Lord!! One day, we will live in that forever city of New Jerusalem. There, all the nations of the earth will ascend to worship God! He will be it's Temple (see Revelation 21).
Rev. Curtis Norris