For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Dear friends, this is perhaps the most preached verse in the circles of faith ministers. Many have preached it this way: “let us speak to our mountain (i.e. problems) and demand it be uprooted and thrown to the sea, and all our problems will be over.” So the mountain is always equated by our problems.
Hmm. This verse is my food today. It is my “hokkien mee” for the day. I had spend 2 days with a wonderful brother who showed me how the scriptures are actually food. We are to eat the Word. Not find out what to obey, not find out what are the lessons, not to find out what are the formulas, but just food. The others will eventually come as a result of processing the food that we eat. The Word.
So I began to chew. What is this mountain? What has it got to do with sea? What is the sea?
Water! Loads of water. So I began to ask myself this question, what does a mountain have to do with the sea?
Quietly, I was led to ask the question: “What is the context?”
New International Version (NIV)
20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[a] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Then I saw it, the fig tree withered and dried up. The sea, the abundance of water.
It is important to note, the “mountain” here are not your problems. It is the obstacle to the removal of your problems. You see Jesus said “throw YOURSELF (the Mountain) into the sea AND do not doubt” then he says “what THEY say will happen.” So the removal of the “MOUNTAIN” must take place first before they can receive what they say. Get it?
So the “Mountain” is the obstacle. But what has the “mountain” got to do with “abundance of water” and the “fig leaves”?
Dear friends, the fig leaves drying up is a symbol of man’s attempt to cover their condemnation.
Adam sowed fig leaves for himself to hide his nakedness and shame. It symbolized his faint attempt to fellowship with God in his terms. I think by now you can see it, it is his attempt to live life from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
New International Version (NIV)
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Look at this. Was the Lord angry with them? Did God moved away from them? Did their stupidity cause God to separate himself from Adam and Eve? Who hid? Who judge himself? Who condemned himself?
So Adam attempted to cover himself which resulted to blaming God and Eve for what happened. His was a covering of figs.
Look at God’s response.
“21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.””
He clothed them with garment of skins. A garment made of animal skin. God killed an animal. An animal died in place of Adam and Eve. A blood soaked garment. Seeing the picture now? I bet my bottom dollar with you. It’s a lamb. Dry figs against a bloody lamb skin.
Why? Because God cannot see through blood. Like lead to Superman, when God sees blood he sees life. The life is in the blood. Many years we will see, the Lamb of God shedding his blood over us, providing this time not just a covering but actually taking our sins away.
[here is a side note: Notice after that God disallow man to eat from the tree of life. I always thought God meant it as a punishment. Until I saw the word “take also”. Dear friends, it was not as if God did not allow Adam to take the fruit of that tree, He did not allow him to take ALSO. Mixture. You see dear friends, by now Adam has a complete warp idea of 3 things. God, himself and his home.
God: While God is still loving and enjoying his fellowship, Adam now thinks of God as a demand, a judge, a prosecutor, a person who hates him.
His home: His home was paradise, not just Eden but the very garden of Eden. Yet he was in a place which reminded him of his failure, a place which he lost his glory, a place where an animal had dominion over him, a place of defeat, a place where his perfect beauty wife became in his eyes an object of blame, a place where he felt nothing but shame, and not even the presence of God could rescue him from. Sadly Adam became even more afraid, when God came nearer. The love of God to him became the consuming fire which further condemns him.
Himself: Adam now thought himself, a fugitive. A person who always wanted to pay. Pay for his mistake. He had to work. A person who thought God’s goodness had to be earned. Things are no longer free. He thought himself a debtor. No longer a viceroy, no longer a prince. He no longer saw himself, a workmanship of God but an object of God’s wrath.
Now if God allowed him to take the tree of life, he would live forever. AT THIS STATE! If he lives forever this way and in this state…. What is it called?
So God had to banish him from his place, God had to satisfy Adam’s sense of justice. It was Adam who wanted to pay. Not God. Adam constantly would be looking as to how to pay. But he could never. He could never satisfy this debt he thought he owed. You see God did not sense Jesus to satisfy His sense of justice. He gave His Son to satisfy Adam’s sense of justice. Adam’s sense of justice was to pay out of guilt. True forgiveness demands nothing. God freely gave His Son, the Bible says. Freely. He never expected anything back.]
So where does God want us to place this mountain into? The sea. Abundance of supply of water! God wants us to replace the dryness of the fig leaves to the abundance of the wetness of his grace. His grace. A fig religion replaced by a relationship that is not only cleanse by the blood of Jesus but the water of His word as well.
So what is the fig religion that God wants you to remove before “you will have what you say?”
Yes, my friends, the religion of human effort. The Law. Where was the Law given? In Egypt, in a place called Arabia. On top of a MOUNTAIN. Which mountain? Sinai.
The obstacle here is MOUNT SINAI. The religion of human effort, to be righteous by the works of the Law.
When that is done, we are to remove the doubt. Doubt in word. Double mindedness. That my friend is mixture. Have faith in God, have faith also in works. You will never get what say.
Paul says it this way in Philippians 3
3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”
You see dear friends, what is confidence in the flesh? “a righteousness of my own that comes from the law.” What is gaining Christ? Notice this Paul says “gains to me”. That is the law. What thus is “gain Christ”? “the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”
So what did Paul do? “I consider them garbage.” He threw his “Mountain” into the sea.
Thought for the day:
Is your confidence built on Mount Sinai or Mount Zion? May you have what you say, thru the unmerited favor purchased by Jesus for you.