There is something majestic about mountains. Perhaps it is the sense of awe and wonder that we experience when we drive along dusty valley roads and get a sense of being surrounded by towering rock formations. Or perhaps it is the incredible views from the summits of each of these mountains and the overwhelming realisation that our problems are a lot smaller than we first imagine. Whatever mountain range it may be, we are always offered renewed perspective from each lofty peak and these life-defining moments give great impetus to our lives.
Mountains in scripture
In line with this theme, Rob Taylor has managed to craft a wonderful book which uses significant biblical mountains to unpack our own story of faith. In Mountains of the Lord, Rob Taylor shares two of his greatest passions – hiking in the mountains and his love of the Lord. In bringing these two together, Rob invites us on a journey to gaze upon nine significant mountains from the Scriptures and then to understand the deep impact these peaks had on each of the characters in the story.
These mountains and significant events include:
- Mount Sinai – Moses’ moment of encountering the living God
- Mount Carmel – Elijah’s great test of courage when confronting Ahab and Jezebel
- The Mount of Transfiguration – Peter, James and John’s mountain of vision as they accompanied Jesus to the summit
- Mount of Calvary – the moment of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice and our call to respond to God’s grace
- Mount of Olives – our mountain of expectancy as Jesus ascends into heaven
Invited to be different
What I found helpful about Mountains of the Lord is that Rob takes us on a personal journey through each mountain-top experience and in doing this he looks deeper at the spiritual events that unfold on each of these summits. Rob then unpacks the personal implications for the main character in the story, the local community at that time and then follows up by asking us to reflect on the impact these encounters have for ourselves.
After all, there is little point in climbing the Mountains of the Lord and coming back down the same person. All of us are invited to be different through these encounters.
The shared adventure
Rob covers a lot of interesting content in each chapter and then offers further insights in ‘The Shared Adventure’ – which is a great study guide on each chapter. These engaging reflections give a concentrated look at how each ‘mountain top’ experience could shape our spiritual lives. Along with our ancient heroes, we are invited to summit each of the peaks and to see what they saw. To gaze with eyes of faith and understand what the Spirit may be doing in our lives.
This book had a profound impact on me and I would highly recommended it for anyone who may be wrestling with tough ‘mountains’ in your life. God won’t lead us to the summit of the great mountains unless there is a specific plan for our lives.
The adventure of faith is always one that keeps the adrenaline flowing and Mountains of the Lord will fuel your need for spiritual exercise.
I will leave the last word to Rob as he reflects on the motivation for this book:
“I know the temptation to settle into the comfort of life in the gentle foothills of spirituality. When I make this kind of compromise with mediocrity, I know that I lose touch with the living heart of my faith.
I am aware that high mountains pose a challenge as well as an invitation. They are awesome in their majesty but also rigorous in the demands they set for those who undertake to climb them. I have found that the same is true of the call to wholehearted faith and authentic engagement with God.”
Rob’s book is available at the SU Bookshop.