David reigned for forty years; seven years and six months in Hebron over Judah, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem over all Israel and Judah. 2 Samuel 5:4-5
“As a young man, Lincoln had a ferocious hunger for fame and power, to the point where he was scared by the intensity of his own hunger. But preserving the Union was a summons so great that considerations of self no longer mattered. He left personal reputation behind and set off on his second mountain.”
-The Second Mountain, David Brooks
Have you ever read a book so great that you started recommending it to family and friends before you’re even finished? That’s a rarity for me, but that’s this book- The Second Mountain.
I pray about books a lot. Lord, send me a book to read, send me the one you want me to read. I’ve prayed this prayer many times. I want just the right book at the right time and I want it to be given to me by God. This is how I know that I am supposed to be reading it. This is how I know it’s for me.
I was at a political event when it happened. Unsuspecting, it was during an installation speech. A new King was coming into office and I one of the loyal subjects was sitting in the audience. This I knew would usher us into a new time and space and I was overjoyed at the crowning of a new and worthy King.
A colleague of mine was chosen to pick the words that would form the basis of the road ahead. I listened intently, eager to hear what she had to say. She began talking about this book she was reading, The Second Mountain. I had never heard of the book or the concept, but I was open. She read from this passage from the book to explain the second mountain,
“If the first mountain is about building up the ego and defining the self, the second mountain is about shedding the ego.”
I was intrigued
We tend to get comfortable. We don’t want to leave those places. The risks are known and the stakes are low. We can serve self there, make a career, become moms, do what the world has told us to do. But then we all hit that point. The job no longer satisfies, the work of a stay-at-home-mom becomes labor instead of joy, the things we think we wanted become null and devoid of any pleasure.
It is more than a mid life crisis, it is a crisis of self
David had a good run in Hebron, but his longest run was in Jerusalem. With bigger cities come bigger problems. But Jerusalem was certainly his learning place, his shedding of ego.
Jerusalem was more than himself
I imagine lots of people stay on that first mountain. They stay stuck. They read bible on surface and pray on the very top layer of the ocean. But don’t you want to be on that second wave? The words beneath the words, the prayer underneath the ocean, the places and spaces that scare you but bring you to where God wants you to be?
These are rarely physical moves or changes in position. They are the right -where -you- are transformations of God. They are the deeper level, the carving of self by God’s hand.
The first time you do it for yourself. The second time you do it for something more than yourself, you do it for God.
If today you see the peak of that second mountain, don’t run from it, embrace it. You’ve been in Hebron for quite some time. It’s time to go to Jerusalem.
Let us pray
I oftentimes get scared of the places that you want to take me. I have pre-conceived notions of what that looks like. But I want to go deeper Father. I want to understand the meaning behind the scripture, I want you to prompt my prayers and I want to do this in order to grow closer to you and be God -centered instead of self-centered. I know that I cannot get to my second mountain until I go deeper, so lead me Lord on that arduous but needed spiritual hike in my soul.
I am ready to go to Jerusalem.