What is it about mountains that make them so popular? I know that Chris and I love Ponderosa Christian Camp. There among the trees, down by the stream, surrounded by the quiet, we find it very peaceful. A lot of you share that same sentiment. It is a wonderful place to relax and meditate on just how awesome God is.
Mountains have been popular for a long time. Jesus often retired to a mountain top to pray. It was on a mountain that Moses met with God and obtained the Law that was to govern Israel for hundreds of years. Later, from a mountain top Moses was allowed to view the Promised Land. Elijah learned how to listen to God on a mountain top.
From around 1810 to 1840 “mountain men” roamed the Rocky Mountains trapping beaver and selling the furs. There were solitary men who for whatever reason sought the privacy that the mountains could provide. They are often depicted as clad in buckskins, with a coonskin cap. They more often than not, carried a Hawken rifle (black powder) and a large Bowie knife (scalpin’ knife). The romantic figure of such men, who were honorable and with a strict code of honor, who were always willing to help a neighbor or even a stranger in need, was somewhat true. As in any society there were those who were less than honorable. They did live in the wildness, some remained there for life while others retired as farmers or business men. However, for the most part they were employed by the fur companies. They often hunted in groups, reported to the head of the hunting party, called a “boowsay” (a corruption of the word bourgeois). It might interest you to know that one of the large fur trading centers was in Taos, NM. The fur trade dropped off when the beaver hat went out of style in and around 1830 and ceased altogether around 1840.
David could have been classified as a “mountain man” given all the time he spent there fleeing from King Saul. Like the modern day mountain man, David’s life in the wilderness was beset by many hardships. David lived far from men and probably found many paths that would later help him in the battles he fought.
In Psalm 11 we read of how David reacted to King Saul’s constant harassment. David’s friend and advisors told him he should hide until the trouble was done. Yet David realized that there was really nowhere to hide. He realized that he possessed the ultimate in protectors, Jehovah. The best place to be was next to God. To flee to a place of refuge was to show fear and mistrust in God.
“He would rather dare the danger than exhibit a distrust in the Lord his God.” (Spurgeon)
Proverbs 1:7 tells us that the best advice comes from God, Proverbs 1:8-9 tells us that parents can also be sources of wisdom, and on occasion good friends can help (Prov 27:9). However, we must take advice that doesn’t come from the Lord, with a grain of salt. Advice that tells us to trust in ourselves and not God should be avoided (Ps 56:11). God provides help in His own way (2 Chron 14:11). Adversity makes us take a look at what we believe (Ps 11:3). God will never fail us (2 Tim 2:19)!
If you must flee to the mountains, do it to see the grandeur of God’s creation. Flee there to meditate on His will for you. Flee there to escape the heat of the day. Trust God to be near wherever you are when trouble comes. “In Jehovah do I take refuge: How say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain.”