Saying Unto the Mountain, "Be Thou Removed"
Recently on the Web I saw a discussion of a baffling Bible passage that was pounded into me by a long-gone radio preacher when I was in grade six or seven.
During both of those years, schools were closed due to snow for most of January, so my brother and I were allowed to listen to the radio at times when we would normally have been at school or outside. For at least a week this preacher lingered longwindedly on one text, which he liked to repeat over and over for dramatic effect during each mini-sermon. “Whosoever shall say—who-so- ever shall say—whosoever shall say—whosoever shall say — say unto this mountain, unto this mountain , unto this mountain, unto this MOUN-TAIN, ” [etc.], “‘Be thou removed, and cast thyself into the depths of the sea,’ it shall be done.”
We thought about this a good deal, and concluded that it’s true all right.
Of course, having faith that God wants us to say something does not relieve us from the need to say it in a way the other party can understand.
If you want to say to a disaster victim, “Have a good time rebuilding your home, making it better than it was before, and buying some really good prezzies for the children,” you can’t just sit around in your home or office, saying it in English, while you munch junkfood and watch television. You have to say it, or find someone who can say it, in a way the disaster victim can hear and understand. You have to get some money and supplies to where the disaster victim is.
If you want to say to an undisciplined toddler, “Stay out of this room unless I’ve invited you inside, and keep your sticky little fingers off these things,” you can’t just say it in words as if you were talking to an adult or a school-aged child. The most effective way to say it is to put a lock on the door. All kitchens and bedrooms should have toddler-proof locks.
And if you want to say to a mountain, “Be thou removed, and cast thyself into the depths of the sea,” you can’t just say the words in English as if you were talking to a co-worker in the office. Whoever heard of a mountain speaking English? One way to say “Be thou removed” to a mountain involves picks and shovels. More efficient ways involve bulldozers and dynamite. If you have the faith to organize these things and a crew who know how to use them, then the mountain will be removed.
The most scenic and historic part of the scenic, historic Cumberland Mountain, outside the town of Appalachia, has indeed been removed. It is a sight to make a tough old soldier weep.
Does anyone out there have the faith to say unto this mountain, “Be healed, and be what you were a hundred years ago”? It could be done—but it will take a lot of faith.
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