1 A Song of Ascents
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people,
from this time forth and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out
their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
and to those who are upright in their hearts!
5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways
the LORD will lead away with evildoers!
Peace be upon Israel!
The Lord Surrounds His People
Have you ever been to a place where you simply stood in awe? We both experience that feeling when visiting our country’s national parks, particularly ones such as Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. When you approach the rim of the Grand Canyon, you’re at the top and everything surrounding you looks flat until you approach that hole in the ground. Then the views open up and you see up and down the canyon. If you hike “below rim” the views change. The walls of the canyon quickly begin to tower above you as you make your descent. You can’t help but look up in wonder.
A similar feeling of awe takes hold in Yosemite. As you sit in Yosemite Valley, the iconic mountains around you stay exactly where they are and call you to wonder at their majesty. Half Dome and El Capitan never move, and yet the beauty and wonder of these rocks changes with every new angle of the sun throughout the day and with every passing season.
As the psalmist writes Psalm 125, he notes, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people.” God surrounds His people, just like the rim of the Grand Canyon surrounds you when you hike toward the bottom of the canyon, just as the mountains of Yosemite surround you in the valley. This means three things.
First, God is with us. After Jesus rose from the dead, but before He ascended into heaven, He promised to always be with us, to be with us every day. He never leaves us or forsakes us. His presence is like a mountain. If you’ve ever lived near mountains, I’m sure you know that they’re always in the same spot, always present, always comforting you with their stability.
Second, God does not change. God does not move here and there and send you on a ridiculous scavenger hunt to find Him. God stands firm like a mountain. We can always find Him where He promises to be: in His Word and Sacraments.
Third, God’s beauty and majesty are beyond our comprehension, and we behold new facets of His glory each time we look. Just like El Capitan is exactly the same rock no matter when you look at it, its beauty and majesty is revealed anew each time you look.
- Where is a place you go to know God is real and present?
- When life is uncertain, how do you know God’s presence is immovable from your life?
Dear heavenly Father, thank You for surrounding us with love, faithfulness, and peace. Help us to continually look to You for refuge and security, knowing that You, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are always present with us. Amen.
Find which national park is closest to you. What views would you expect to see there?