I was sucked into Psalm 68 this morning. Part of this psalm reads:
The mountains of Bashan are mighty mountains;
high-ridged mountains are the mountains of Bashan.
Why look with envy, you high-ridged mountains,
at the mountain where God has chosen to dwell?
Bashan (including the Golan Heights and southern slopes of Mt. Hermon) stand at what was the northern boundary between Judea and the gentile world. Rising some 9200 feet above sea-level, it is a beautiful and impressive site. Well watered, fruitful plains, rugged and snow-capped mountains, clearly the type of place you’d expect to find God (think Colorado Springs).
This fertile land was assigned to the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:29-31), one of Joseph’s father’s favorite sons (Jacob even “adopted” his grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh as his own sons, giving them a special blessing above their brothers) An impressive physical specimen, and the father of a valorous and fruitful people, Jewish parents pronounce a blessing over their sons that includes the phrase “God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh” (from Gen. 48:20).
Mount Zion, on the other hand, not so much.
Rising only 2500 feet above sea level, the Temple Mount would barely worth of the title mount, were it not for God’s presence (think West Texas and the Llano Estacado).
I love that our God chooses to dwell not in the unreachable heights of glory overlooking the richest land, but instead dwells where His people can live all around Him, where
…the just shall rejoice at the presence of God,
they shall exult and dance for joy…