“Who, then, ascends into the presence of the Lord? And who has the privilege of entering into God’s Holy Place? Those who are clean—whose works and ways are pure, whose hearts are true and sealed by the truth, those who never deceive, whose words are sure.” Psalm 24:3-4 (TPT)

I grew up in a city at the foothills of mountains in southern California. Mountains on the west coast are rugged and steep. As a teenager I spent some time hiking, backpacking and camping in these mountains. One time I was backpacking with a small group of friends and we came to a beautiful water falls with a steep cliff right next to it. The path up the mountain required us to go up this steep and slippery cliff. The four of us proceeded to scale the mountain. As we got about half way up, the loose rocks and the incline seemed to increase. Then suddenly we were stuck on the side of this mountain, unable to climb up more nor able to go down. We were literally pinned to the mountain side. Our backpacks made it awkward and dangerous to climb. So, one by one, we carefully removed our packs from our backs and pressed them against the mountainside. Then we took our pants off and tied them together into a rope, one of us climbed to the top and first pulled the packs up, then we pulled each other up. I am sure it wasn’t as dramatic as my memory recalls it, but you get the point.

To ascend the hill of the Lord, we must scale the steep incline. To do so we must jettison the burdens, and things we carry with us. We must strip ourselves down and rely on the Holy Spirit’s help in getting us to the top. David, the psalmist king, tells us that if we want to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in this most holy place, we must have clean hands, a pure hand, not have idols nor swear falsely (that is, speak the truth at all times). We are told that to do this we will receive blessing from the Lord and “vindication from God our Savior” (v. 5). This is a day the Lord is calling us up His holy mountain to be with Him, to abide in Him and see Him in ways we have never seen Him before. To ascend this mountain, we must climb through the smoke of His presence and stand in the fire of His holiness (Exodus 19:16-19). The higher we climb the more “naked” we become. We cannot carry our burdens, our sin, even our securities. We are to stand before Him, naked and unashamed!

Btw, once we got to the top there was no more trails. We were in uncharted territory, but we had only one way to go. Since we could not go back down the cliff, we had to continue our climb up the mountain!!! The point being, in this life we will never be finished our ascent, our climb of getting closer to God. It is our lifetime quest!

Ask God to help you take the next step up the holy hill. Pray for Him to show you any area where your hands may be dirtied, your heart may be soiled, where you have not been totally truthful, or any place you have something in front of God (that’s called an idol). Whatever He shows you, cast off, confess it and invite Him to clean you up. Ask Him for a deeper desire to be in His presence, to ascend this holy mountain and be with Him in the fire of His holiness. Cry out for God to stir your pastor’s heart toward that holy hill. God will have a people who are passionately and wholeheartedly committed and holy. This is the bride who has prepared herself for the wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9). Ask God to give you the grace to make it your life quest!