“On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.” – Zechariah 14:4
I wish today’s blog could come with a boarding pass.
Instead of meeting here, we would travel together to one of my favorite places to study God’s Word — the Holy Land. There is something so powerful and humbling about standing in a place where you know Jesus Himself once stood.
As incredible as that would be, I’m thankful we don’t have to travel internationally in order to glean something personally from Scripture today. All we need to do is dig a bit deeper into the history of a pivotal location found in this chapter of Zechariah — the Mount of Olives.
The Mount of Olives is a ridge that runs about two and a half miles from north to south on the eastern side of Jerusalem. Three of the peaks that make up this mountain range are Mount Scopus (the north peak), Mount of Olives (the center peak) and Mount of Corruption (the south peak). It is separated from the city of Jerusalem by the Kidron Valley, also known as the Valley of Decision. And it serves as an important location for a variety of biblical events.
In the New Testament, we discover that Jesus’ feet were found standing on this mount often. He rested, taught and prayed in this place. It is where He was on the night of His betrayal (John 18:1), and it is on this very mount that His disciples watched Him ascend into heaven. (Acts 1:9-12)
In our key verse, Zechariah 14:4, we learn that it is the place where His feet will one day land again: “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.”
I don’t want us to miss what the prophet Zechariah says will happen when the Lord’s feet hit the Mount of Olives on that day. The land will be split in two. Divided. And before we think this is simply a geography lesson, God wants us to know there is so much more going on here.
The physical ramifications brought on by Israel’s divided hearts hold powerful spiritual implications for our hearts today.
On the day Jesus returns, He will destroy the Mount of Corruption. This is the part of the mountain range where King Solomon allowed his pagan wives to build altars to worship false gods. (1 Kings 11:7) This area defiled by Solomon as he clung to his wives instead of the Lord will fall. And water will come up from the temple and flow both directions, east and west (Zechariah 14:8), moving with such force that the Mount of Corruption will be rushed with the water into the Dead Sea.
Why? Because God will always tear down anything that is detestable to Him.
How this convicts my heart.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in the camp of Solomon on that glorious day when Jesus returns. I don’t want to be like the children of Israel, found time and again clinging to things that do not honor Him.
I want to ask the Lord to convict me. To reveal the places where I’m holding fast to sin. To show me if there is anything in my life that dishonors Him. I know it’s not an easy or comfortable thing to do. But when we repent and press past the initial discomfort of conviction, we get to step into the glorious work of God’s restoration.
Ezekiel 47:8-9 tells us that when the Mount of Corruption is washed away into the Dead Sea, those waters will once again be teeming with life. How like Jesus! When we ask forgiveness for our sins, He washes us clean. He says that our sins will be cast into the sea to be remembered no more. He makes us new and offers eternal life to all who profess Him as Lord.
What an incredible gift it is to be His.
Let’s ask Him to help us check the landscape of our hearts. Let’s allow Him to reveal any divided affections. Any idols taking up space that belongs to Him.
The things in our life that don’t honor God will eventually be removed. We have a choice. Either we can release them, or He will remove them. May today be the day we choose release.
God, create in me a clean heart. Purify me, Lord. I know that anything in my life that dishonors You will not stand. And I don’t want to wait until the last day when those areas of compromise and sin fall and become my shame. I want to confess them now. I want to release each one into Your hands so they can be carried away into the Dead Sea. Thank You for being a God of both grace and truth. A God of conviction and restoration. I surrender anew to Your work in me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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As my family has walked through a long season of hardship, I have been devastated beyond what I thought I could survive at times.
But I’ve also been incredibly blessed and humbled as I have watched the work God has been doing in all of us.
And my children.
I desperately wanted to spare my kids from hard realities. But God has used it to develop their character in ways that leave me breathless. I wouldn’t have chosen this. None of us would. But God is breathing life into our dust and making something beautiful out of it.
There are still some things I’ll never understand.
But there are other things that I see and am grateful beyond words. The strength and courage my children have displayed. The wisdom they have gained. The bonds between them that strengthened.
I would have never picked this journey for any of us. But seeing a deeper faith in God emerge in them has certainly proven to me that truly ALL things can be used for good.
What the enemy thought would destroy us has only made us stronger. He thought he could silence us, but we came out praising God even louder.
And though the darkness lasted longer than I thought we could survive, the Light has come. We are truly peeking over the edge of a miracle.
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“He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” Mark 3:14-15 (NIV)
I should have been happy. I knew it. I could have listed so many things for which I was thankful.
So, what was this undercurrent of disappointment that ebbed and flowed just beneath the surface of my more honest moments? I got still, and I got sad.
I was doing a lot, pouring myself out for God, but not really spending time getting refilled by God.
Maybe you can relate?
We run at a breakneck pace to try and achieve what God wants us to slow down enough to receive.
He really does have it all worked out. The gaps filled. The needs met. The questions answered. The problems solved.
And the parts He’s purposed for us? They’re all perfectly portioned out in assignments meant for us today. No more. No less.
All He asks is that we personally receive from Him before we set out to work for Him. In doing so, we’re fueled by His power and encouraged by His presence. This is the daily sacred exchange where ministry duty turns into pure delight.
How it must break His heart when we work like we don’t believe He’s capable. We say we trust Him but then act like everything depends on us. We give all we have to the tasks at hand with only occasional leftovers of time to slightly acknowledge Him.
Imagine it’s like a little girl running while holding a cup, sloshing out all it contains. She thinks what will refill her is just ahead. So she presses on with sheer determination, clutching an empty cup.
She keeps running toward an agenda God never set, one that will never satisfy.
She sees Him and holds out her cup. But she catches only a few drops as she runs by Him because she didn’t stop long enough for her cup to be filled. Empty can’t be tempered with mere drops.
The tragic truth is what will fill her … what will fill us … isn’t the accomplishment just ahead.
That shiny thing is actually a vacuum that sucks us dry — but never has the ability to refill.
I should know, because that’s where I was. There’s no kind of empty quite like this empty — where your hands are full, but inside you’re nothing but an exhausted shell. I knew it would take slow moments to get me out of this empty place.
I needed to reconnect with the One who knows how to breathe life back into depleted and dead places. Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life like abiding, delighting and dwelling — all words used to describe us being with Him.
As a matter of fact, when Jesus appointed the disciples, there were two parts to their calling, as we see in our key verse, Mark 3:14-15: “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”
Yes, they were to go to preach and drive out demons, but the first part of their calling was simply to “be with him.”
True fulfillment comes when we remember to be with Him before going out to serve Him.
He wants our hearts in alignment with Him before our hands set about doing today’s assignment for Him.
So, He extends what we need and each day He invites us to receive in prayer, worship and truth from His Word. And He lovingly replenishes our cup while whispering: “This isn’t a race to test the fastest pace. I just want you to persevere on the path I have marked out especially for you. Fix your eyes, not on a worldly prize, but on staying in love with Me.”
That’s an agenda that’s always completely satisfying.
Dear Lord, I’m choosing to stop in the midst of everything to just be with You. Let me never forget what a gift it is to spend this sacred time in Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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