“Until the day is breaks and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.” vs6
The Lord is in a place that’s hard to get to. When He took Peter, James, and John up the mountain to the transfiguration, He took them apart from the crowd, which is what He must do with us, if we’ll fellowship with Him. We cannot live as we choose and expect the Almighty to commune with us. We must go up the mountain of the Spirit and up the hill of prayer.
Myrrh was used in the holy anointing oil (Ex 30:22), and we have an unction from the Holy One to know all things in Christ crucified (1 John 2:20). The gospel, the highest height, also leads us to the hill of prayer, where we commune with God by fellowship and self-denial. Focusing on Christ and thinking of Him denies us the luxury of thinking how we please. Prayer is an abomination to the flesh, as we cry out to God and praise Him. Both of these places, however, are where Christ is found until the end of time, when shadows flee away, darkness is no more, and we have Him in face to face communion. Of that day, John says, “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure (1 John 3:3).” If we hope in eternal life, then we purify ourselves by faith and prayer.
1 Faith involves believing on Christ in spite of our sin! It is coming to the Son of God for all things, relying upon Him because of His work at the cross, and it is taking the water of life freely. Faith says, “Salvation is mine because God PROMISED IT to all who believe, and I believe the outside of myself gospel – that the Son of God did it, purifying God’s elect by His own blood – and I’m one of His elect because I believe, and thus I have the privileges.” Faith appropriates Christ to self and all of His saving benefits because it believes God’s promise, the gift. “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (1 John 5:11).”
Faith believes God is gracious, justifies us without any cause in us, and He gives eternal life to all who believe apart from works and experiences. It is the naked taking clothing that it cannot see, and wearing it, before there’s any warmth. Then the fruit will come, and faith is followed by action. We do not believe a naked gospel, but we believe without anything in ourselves to commend us, except faith, which we acknowledge that He has given (Eph 2:8-9). Salvation is as simple as believing God, but it is unfathomably impossible apart from the Spirit. We believe because we have need, and we see His sufficiency. We believe because God commands all men everywhere to repent.
2 Prayer is a hill but not a mountain; It is the gospel lived out in dependence, but it’s not the One who put away our sins. Prayer is communion with God, but it’s not God to be adored and worshipped. Prayer is the outstretching of the soul in dependence and praise, talking to God whom you cannot see, and it is often met with dry feelings, doubts, and unworthiness. Yet, we persevere in faith, going to Him, because we know that He is there, and He’s chosen this method to make Himself known.
I prayed recently with an intimate friend and heard her praise God almost entirely. She thanked Him for this and that, and then she brought our petitions near – cares and concerns. This is how God is worshipped and brought to commune with us: We believe the gospel, and we tell Him about it!
Some say, “Why pray if God knows everything?” Like, “Why preach the gospel, if God is saving the elect?” It is because God has said so, and these are the means that He appointed. Why get baptised? He said so. It doesn’t add anything to us, but there is joy in obeying. Why pray? Because He’s appointed this means of blessing, and if you want the blessing, believing God, you’ll do it.
3 Christ has promised to meet us and be found, but it is not easy! It takes much wrestling with unbelief, many temptations of Satan, and God who stays quiet: All of this MUST BE overcome! We cannot live our own lives and expect God’s grace. He is to be sought and found continually.
Confess your sins and look to Christ. Meditate on the gospel constantly, and go back after you’ve fallen and wandered. Receive His good words of reconciliation, and believe that He is with you. Believe the Spirit’s testimony, while you are in your sins, and cry out to Him in the frankincense of prayer (Ex 30:38). Do not deny your faults or cleanse yourself, but pour out your needs, and use that feeble faith and faint prayer, properly. Satan tells you it is not good enough to believe – that you must do something great, be a great person, etc – but God hears the faintest plea – the thought running across your mind, and the whisper of faith rings loudly unto Him (2 Sam 5:13). Turn your thoughts to God and pray as people come to mind! Do not be deceived that you must spend hours in prayer, but spend moments, taking Him all of your needs, rather than worrying or doing nothing. Rest yourself on His command to believe and pray, knowing that He’ll meet you! He has not told us to seek Him in vain. He says, “I have not spoken in secret, somewhere in a land of darkness. I did not say to the descendants of Jacob: Seek Me in vain. I, Yahweh, speak truthfully; I say what is right (Isa 45:19).”
Brothers, we have the hill of prayer and the mountain of believing: Use these difficult means to acquire fellowship with Christ.