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Moving A Mountain

by Susan Budensiek  
9/02/2017 / Christian Living

As I studied “unbelief” in Matthew 17:20 and in Luke 17:6, I wondered if there was more significance, a dual  importance, to the mountain and the tree, as there often is in scripture (aside from being humanly impossible to move). As it turns out, there is more. The mountain teaches about faith/trust/belief and power, while the tree teaches about faith/trust/belief and forgiveness.


Obviously, we are not going to go out and physically move mountains – just think of the chaos that would ensue if I decided that I wanted Pike’s Peak to be moved here to Tennessee where I could enjoy its rugged beauty every day, and someone in Colorado wanted it left right where it is so he or she could enjoy it. Since God is a God of peace, not chaos, we know the mountain in Matthew 17 is a metaphor for a spiritual teaching.


The mountain represents a problem that doesn’t go away – maybe something deeply rooted in human nature or characteristics of a person or idiosyncrasies he or she may have. These things don’t just go away.


I would rather move a mountain than climb it. Mountaintop experiences are nice but that would mean there has to be a valley to climb out of, and I don’t much like those valleys. Another difficulty encountered when trying to climb out of the valley toward that nice mountaintop is that mountains are outside, obviously. That means that weather in the physical or comparable elements spiritually speaking, can make climbing nearly impossible. For example, rain on a literal mountainside would make it slippery and very hard to climb, but very easy to slip back down – known as backsliding in the spiritual sense.


Moving a mountain requires faith/trust…and power as Paul prayed for the Ephesians to have – the entire congregation, not just an individual. (Ephesians 1:16-21 and again in Ephesians 3:16) That suggests that the power is available to all believers, and the fact that we have so many mountains and  so few mountaintop experiences in our lives indicates that we don’t tap on that power so readily available to us.


The means employed to move a spiritual mountain is prayer. But there must be some particular qualities of a prayer that powerful, or special characteristics of the person who prays it, if it is going to be effective. Yeshua’s disciples wrangled with that very issue in Matthew 17:21. I have too much experience to believe a quick request is all it takes to overcome some major obstacle in life.


So, I looked a little closer at what is probably the most well-known verse about prayer in the Bible, James 5:16. It begins by telling us to confess our faults/sins to one another and to pray for each other so that we may be healed. I suppose that would refer to physical healing as well, but I am inclined to believe that it is also spiritual healing. Now, depending upon which translation of the Bible is used, there are slight differences in how the second part is worded.

James 5:16b (KJV)
 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James 5:16b (CJB)

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16b (Aramaic English New Testament)

For great is the power of the prayer which a righteous man prays.


I noticed that every one of them makes the point that the person doing the praying is “righteous” and the prayer itself is effective and powerful because of that fact. It does appear that the righteous have the belief/faith/trust which gives them the power of the kind of prayer that moves mountains – availeth much – is effective.


So, the next question is, what makes a person righteous?


And there is still that sycamine tree to look at…

I was raised in church but always felt like I was missing something. Now the Word of God excites me! My curiosity enhances pursuance of discernment. I have often felt discouraged, but not totally defeated knowing that in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

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