Sinai is exactly what you’d imagine it to be: dry. We drove for hours over sand dunes and flat ground so barren that not even sagebrush grew there. Once we had left behind all other human civilization, the flat dry ground turned to rocky and mountainous dry ground.
Mount Sinai and the eminences surrounding it are rugged and jut out of the earth. We set out at 3:00 AM to summit Sinai to watch the desert sunrise. Because we were hundreds of miles from any town or city, the stars were more abundant than I have ever seen them in my life; the whole sky glittered.
Along the trail, we were met by dozens of bedouin merchants who had gotten up in the middle in the night in hopes of making some money from us. “Camel? You need camel? Camel to the top?” “Coffee! Tea! Chocolate! We have!” “Need flashlight?”
The last half hour of the hike was up steep stone steps to the summit. We reached the top just as the first light was appearing over the horizon. I left our big group of students and went with a few friends to the edge of the cliff; we watched the sun rise in silence, then sang a few quiet hymns, including “High on the Mountain Top” and “For the Beauty of the Earth.”
We watched the sun slowly turn the deep blue of morning to its orange glow. I thought of Moses leading his people out of Egypt, and the great miracles that the Lord did for the Israelites. I thought of Brigham Young and my pioneer ancestors, and the great things that the Lord has done for me. Moses spoke with the Lord here more than three thousand years ago, I thought, and his covenant with Abraham is even older than that. But it still applies to me, and someday it will apply to my children, and theirs… To quote a favorite hymn:
For God remembers still
His promise made of old
That he on Zion’s hill
Truth’s standard should unfold
The Lord’s promises are being fulfilled in our day. That is why the most beautiful, breathtaking sunrise I’ve seen is on Sinai. The Lord is the light of our souls, and his promises and blessings are sure.