The branch of Onomastics (the study of names) that deals with names of places is called toponomy. By extension, the name for “mountain naming” is oronymy.
“Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.” (Psalm 68:16)
Anytime God does something for us, it’s a good idea to call attention to it in some way shape or form. How fresh are the miracles that He enacted to bring you up to where you are today? Do the victories that seemed so far off at some point in your past come back to remind you of their effectiveness as similar things begin to again press? While God is good for miracles upon miracles, I’m sure He appreciates it when we remind Him of the mercies and grace with which He blessed us heretofore.
In Genesis (28:17), Jacob wakes up to realize that he had spent the night outside “the house of God”. He says “this is the gate of Heaven”. It says in verse nineteen that “he called the name of that place Bethel” which simply means the same. Later in Exodus, Moses commemorates God’s miracle of water from the rock by calling the place “Massah, and Meribah” (Exodus 17:1-7). While the miracle indeed took place, those two names are variations on “testing” and “quarrel”, respectively. Indicating that the peoples’ doubt and disbelief, while heated, was no match for God’s power to overcome. Look at the book of Numbers. The people again complain against God and God sends fire down to literally burn up the malcontents. That’s pretty drastic. And that’s what that place is remembered by. “And he called the name of the place Taberah (“burning”): because the fire of the Lord burnt among them.” (11:1-3)
I’ve lived in the same area most of my life. It’s not too big a city and I’ve spent time on either side of town, if that makes sense. I’ve had my share of joys and tragedies in every neighborhood from which I’ve moved and if I find myself in those parts of town again, the memories come flooding back. Strange, too, is the fact that I can reconstruct each of my former neighborhoods from their dreamt counterparts. Mix all these things together and you have a geography, a world map as it were, for my life. And if you pan out and look at things with a wide-angle view, you’ll see that the place you find yourself is where God has called you for now. While you may be inclined (or not) to leave for calmer waters/greener grass/another shore, what-have-you, there’s always something to be learned from the city or locale in which you live. Think about how God can be glorified where you are and where you go. The thing about the inner space of the place is its atmosphere. How does it feel there? I don’t mean to sound ethereal or weird but sometimes I wonder just where it is I go when I dream. Because each dream has a feeling to it. And many dreams over a period of time share a similar feel.
Say unto this mountain
“Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the uttermost sea shall your coast be.” (Deuteronomy 11:24)
Seen this way, with the vagabond spirit of much of the Old Testament, the first half of the Bible seems to be a study in reclaiming territory for God. Think about the Bible as a whole and while all the activity of the Old Testament takes place in the “Fertile Crescent” (there’s actually a place called “the wilderness of Sin”) , it slowly centers in on Bethlehem. “Beth” means “house” in Hebrew and “Bethlehem” means “house of bread”. Jesus was born there and then raised in Nazareth. And after that, while much of the rest of the gospels take place in Jerusalem, with the exception of Acts, the New Testament is dealing with things of the interior. God called Paul to map out the territories of God’s heart as revealed through Jesus. This is why I feel that no matter what one does with their life, prior to knowing Jesus, the best thing to do on top of that is learn to write. By attaching words to the places you go inside (metaphor–read: thoughts, feelings, dreams, etc.), the more you can see what God is doing in those places in your heart and mind. Because it’s all present with Him. The past is alive and ready to reveal the lessons therein.
“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:1-2)
And yet, while it says that God dwells in a house on the top of a mountain, He also lives in your heart. Pretty cool.