It's All Uphill
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob." (Isaiah 2:3)
We often use the phrase "it’s all uphill from here" to mean that it’s going to be a really hard slog from now on. But there is a going up the hill, the Bible promises, that is a delight, not a drudge. It’s the going up the hill to meet with God.
The temple in Jerusalem was on a hill, so to get to it you had to "go up" the hill or "ascend" – a phrase that often appears in worship contexts in the Old Testament. But just as going up a natural hill can be hard work sometimes, so can "going up the hill" to meet with God, if we’re honest. It doesn’t always come easily or naturally to us, and we sometimes need help to "get going" or "keep going." So Psalm 100 has a simple pattern to help us: Come … know … thank … praise.
‘Come before him’ (verse 2) is an invitation, and an invitation is the assurance we are welcome. But we now have to make the decision and go. We have to choose to throw off the things that have filled our minds, captivated our hearts and demanded our time, and say "I’m going!" As we do so, we need to "know that the Lord is God" (v. 3); that is, to start focusing on Him and not ourselves, remembering what He has done for us and that there is no one like Him. This in turn will cause us to "enter his gates with thanksgiving" (v. 4), as we remember all that God has done. And this in turn helps us to "enter … his courts with praise" (v. 4), rejoicing in Who God is and what He is like - the climax of our journey up the hill, which brings its own reward.
Don’t stop halfway up the hill. Don’t give in, but press on. Try using this pattern from Psalm 100 of "come … know … thank … praise" to help you today as you "go up the hill." You’re invited, and He’s waiting to meet with you!
Let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. (Hosea 6:3, NRSV)
© Copyright 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont