There is something about mountains that grabs our attention. Their towering majesty seems to provide an almost magnetic draw. Others are not just content to be near them, admiring their beauty from a nearby valley. These people feel the need to be in them as part of the mass, or even on them as one looking out at the valleys below. I have been near, in, and on three different mountain ranges in my life: the Rockies, the Smokies, and the Alps.
But our 21st century fascination with mountains is not unique. The Bible describes several mountains that came to have special, historical and spiritual significance. It seems that God often chose mountains as the location for significant milestone events.
The mountains of Ararat are among the first peaks to capture our attention on the biblical skyline. Located in present-day Turkey near the Iranian and Armenian borders, these mountains provided not only the catcher’s mitt for the ark, but also the backdrop for some important instruction from God. This instruction included:
- A new promise – God promised to never again destroy the entire earth with a flood (9:8-17). As a visible reminder of this precious covenant, God has given us the rainbow.
- A renewed command – Once again, God told Noah and his family to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth (8:17, 9:7). From the very beginning, God had placed great value on procreation and the populating of the globe which He had created (Gen. 1:28).
- A new diet – Up to this point, men and women seem to have only enjoyed a vegetarian diet (Gen. 1:29). Starting at Ararat, however, God gave man the freedom to eat meat as well (Gen. 9:3, 4).
- The roots of government – It was first at Ararat that God gave Noah and his family the responsibility for punishing wrong. While God would later outline more specific laws that men and women were to adhere to, here He clearly identifies murder as a punishable offense.
Though thousands of miles stand between us and Ararat and thousands of years have passed since those events, we still live in the shadow of those Mount Ararat instructions. The rainbow promise of God’s covenantal promise; the renewed command to reproduce and multiply; the freedom to eat what God provides; the direction of government as God institutes. God’s faithfulness still stands. It always will. The very God who created the mountains will never fail.