As the mountains surround Jerusalem, / So the LORD surrounds His people / From this time forth and forever. Psalm 125:2
Jerusalem was located on top of a mountain and the temple of God was even higher located on the pinnacle within the city walls. It was an uphill journey and pilgrims seeking the presence of the Lord were likely to find the last steps, the hardest.
Perhaps that is why David wrote several songs specifically designed to be sung on the uphill hike. Psalm 125 is one of these Songs of Ascent intended to strengthen pilgrims and reassure them of God’s protection. Families sang together and traveling strangers sang to each other as verse by verse the music encouraged them to keep putting one foot in front of another and not be afraid.
A Song of Ascent was desperately needed when I was a forty-five year old college junior struggling to make financial ends meet while raising a family as a single mom and hoping I could finish my degree before funds ran dry. Fear and insecurity constantly plagued me making a difficult journey almost impossible.
I had begun the program at Liberty University hoping to do all the work from home but soon found that would not be possible. On campus time was required even though they segmented it into concentrated stays of two week duration. I would have to physically go to Virginia. So, leaving two teenagers to fend for themselves, I prepared as best I could and boarded a plane.
The campus was located in a valley completely surrounded by mountain peaks. I had never having been east of the Mississippi river and the new landscape was fascinating. As I looked around I saw land that was higher than where I stood in every direction.
I left the dorm that first morning with a heavy briefcase and a light sweater—wrong combination for winter in the mountains. It was almost a fourth of a mile to the lecture hall and I was feeling very miserable. Then, I looked up and things changed. I wasn’t any warmer but I did become braver.
Several weeks earlier, I had been listening to the radio and heard Psalm 125:2 set to music. The little chorus was easily memorized and as I looked at the mountains it came back to me. “As the mountains are around Jerusalem, the Lord is all around His people.” If that scripture were true—and it was—I had no need to fear, and a little cold air was certainly not the worst thing in the world. If the Lord was all around believers, then He was around me. ALL around. As He looked down, nothing could surprise or take Him unaware. I may not have been warm, but I was safe.
Do you feel you’re on an uphill journey? Do you wonder about surprises and protecting your blind side? Rejoice! Jesus is all around and nothing surprises Him.