What’s It Mean: “Ride On the High Hills of the Earth”

Last post we saw how God said if we keep His special day,
“Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will
cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth” (Isaiah 58:14).
Because God promises it, this has to be an awesome reward.  
So what’s it mean?

The commentaries are pretty fuzzy about its meaning.   Ideas offered, says Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, generally seem lacking.   Such as when Professor J. Skinner says it means “I will carry thee triumphantly over all obstacles.”  Barnes concludes that “The general idea of prosperity and security is undoubtedly the main thing intended.”

In Deuteronomy 32:13-14 God said when He brought Israel out of slavery in Egypt, He made “him ride in the heights of the earth.”  This meant eating the produce of the land, drawing honey and oil from the flinty rock, feasting on curds, milk and fat from cattle and sheep, plus the choicest wheat and wine.

Talk about a picture of prosperity!

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible sees the meaning as “a great security … great dignity and advancement.”

Habakkuk 3:19 says God “will make me walk on my high hills.”  Not high heels. I don’t know how some of you ladies ride high on stilettos.   Thankfully Habakkuk says He makes our feet like deer hooves so we can walk sure footed on the heights.

The Hebrew word for “high hills” is bamah, pronounced baw-maw’, and meaning “to be high, elevation.”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says this special reward for Sabbath keeping means “to live above the world … to be in the utmost safety and enjoy the greatest plenty, especially of spiritual things.”

Gill’s sees the reward also applying after Christ’s return: “to have power and authority in the earth, as the saints will have in the latter day, particularly … when the mountain of the Lord’s house is established upon the top of the mountains, Isa. 2:2.”

As noted last post, “Blessed are those who do His commandments that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). The fourth commandment is special because the Bible calls it the “test” commandment “whether they will walk in my law or not” (Exodus 16:4).

God describes Himself as one “Who treads the high places of the earth” (Amos 4:13). Shouldn’t we aspire to the same lofty way of life which, like His thoughts, is higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9)!

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary pictures a conquerer riding in his chariot and occupying the hills.

Skyline DriveWhere I live in Canon City, Colorado, we have the pleasure of looking up at the hogbacks which are a foretaste of the Rockies a little further west. The adventurous can’t resist driving Skyline Drive, a scenic road definitely not for the faint-hearted. Built by inmate labor in 1908, when this one-lane road crests on the top of the ridge, it winds and climbs like a roller coaster.   The daring views are so good that Skyline Drive was an effective marketing tool back east to lure tourists.

Rest assured, keeping the Sabbath is not for the fainthearted.   Though most weeks are delightfully routine, obstacles to skin you are guaranteed to come that you will need triumphantly carried over.

But the view—seeing Who the Creator is and delighting that He considers you His people (Exodus 31:13-17)—can’t be compared and makes it worth it no matter what comes.

Let’s ride!

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