Your righteousness is like the mountains… (Psalm 36:3)
My family and I traveled to Denver, Colorado some time ago for a series of preaching appointments. During our stay, our generous host took us around to see some of the nearby sites, including several parts of the majestic Rocky Mountains. There is something all at once breathtaking, terrifying, and exhilarating about the mountains.
God’s goodness is strong, enduring, and dependable. But it is also powerful, breathtaking, and terrifying.
As you climb higher and higher the view just gets more and more spectacular and your breathing gets more and more labored. If you go high enough, you pass the timberline and even the hardiest of trees can no longer survive the harsh combination of low oxygen, high snow fall, and cold temperatures.
I wonder if the psalmist had in mind, not only the stability and strength of the mountains but also, this fear-inducing, awe-inspiring attribute of mountains when he compared the righteousness of God to “the mountains.” Yes, God’s goodness is strong, enduring, and dependable. But it is also powerful, breathtaking, and terrifying. It was the goodness of God, remember, that Moses could not survive a full-frontal view of (Exodus 33:18-23).
Every human who must face the perfect standard and thorough holiness of God must be covered in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
God’s righteousness is so complete, so powerful, so glorious that Moses had to be hidden in the cleft of the rock to survive his encounter with it. Similarly, every human who must face the perfect standard and thorough holiness of God must be covered in the righteousness of Jesus Christ in order to withstand the righteous scrutiny of the Almighty. Thankfully, not only is the righteous judgment of God high and holy and terrifying like the mountains, but also the righteous provision of Christ, for those who believe in him, is firm and abundant and exhilarating like the mountains.