How do you feel when you hear the word ‘surrounded’? Sadly, it may be more of a negative idea than a positive one, because too often our world is a place of threat, not safety. Even now, some people are forced to live in cities under siege. Maybe, due to mental health struggles, that’s what it feels like to live inside your head.
When the world is a place of threat, it often seems like forces of darkness or wickedness are the ones in charge, and not forces of good. Prolonged exposure to this can wear down our defences and even corrupt us too (v3). How do we survive being surrounded by such forces, and how do we withstand their influence?
The theme of being surrounded is one that repeats in these travellers’ songs, as they journeyed under the threatening eyes of the surrounding mountains (v2 – see also Psalm 121 previously). Singing this song strengthened their resolve with the following wisdom:
- Remember the security God can give (v1-2). He surrounds us, but in a good, protective way. Trusting in him makes us unshakeable – not because we ourselves are strong, but because he is. And he offers us protection that is eternal. Several hundred years later, God’s son Jesus said the same thing, about those who come to him for help:
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29)
- Don’t take matters into your own hands, but pray (v4-5). The temptation to meet evil with evil is large. But how much better to bring our pressing situation to someone bigger, and to ask God for justice and righteousness. It is the only way, and the sure way, to find peace.
PRAYER Thank you God, that you surround me – but in a positive, protective sense. You have been watching over me with compassion and care my whole life. I long for your eternal protection, your justice, your righteousness, your peace. Please make yourself and these gifts real to me in my life today. Amen.
A song of ascents.
1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures for ever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and for evermore.
3 The sceptre of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil.
4 Lord, do good to those who are good, to those who are upright in heart.
5 But those who turn to crooked ways the Lord will banish with the evildoers.
Peace be on Israel.