This is an add-on to the previous post on Inner Rest. We’re hemmed in by the One who is Alpha and Omega. He encircles us in love and guarantees his 24-7 protective care to all who trust him. Because we are hidden with Christ in God, we are living in the safest place of all (Col 3:3). It’s an amazing truth; too massive to fully take in. That’s probably what David felt when he sang: You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me (Psalm 139:5, 6).
God knew David before he was born. He saw all the psalmist’s days before he lived his first one, and his advance thoughts on David’s life journey outnumbered the grains of sand (16-18). It’s a psalm of wonder, a celebration of living in the safest place, wonderfully hemmed in by the Lord from start to end.
We catch the same sense of wonder in Peter’s, Praise be to God song. After his burst of praise (1 Peter 1:3), he gives three reasons to celebrate in amazement. The Lord has given us:
- A new beginning, a new birth miracle of mercy through Jesus Christ (1:3). The old has gone, the new is here; we’ve received a brand new quality of life as God’s children (2 Cor 5:17). It’s a massive gift; too big to fully explore in a lifetime. But this fresh start is only one part of the celebration.
- A magnificent ending (1:3-4). From the new start, Peter jumps to the amazing end, which is itself a fresh beginning. It’s the start of our fully unpacked inheritance, guaranteed to never lose its beauty or be ruined. It includes a new body, new heaven and earth, and life with the Lord forever.
- Perfect protection between the two. We look back to a new birth experience and forward to a glorious afterlife, but what about the bit in between? Thankfully, salvation isn’t like an old Victorian bed: solid at both ends, but sagging in the centre. From our new beginning to the magnificent ending, the Lord guarantees his constant protection: shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time (3:5).
Being hemmed in by the Lord doesn’t insulate us from hardship. Jesus warned his disciples that trouble will find them. He wasn’t announcing bad news; he was preparing them to be credible witnesses of his peace in a world without it (John 16:33).
When trouble comes, the Lord doesn’t stand back to observe. As close-up Protector, he filters everything that touches our lives and shields us from damage by the Enemy. A circumstance might seem dark to us, but he envelopes it with his light to serve his glory and our good (Psm 139:11-12). His protective power does more than defend. He works in all things to strengthen and shape us, so that we don’t miss the good he planned for us between our new beginning and the magnificent ending (Rom 8:28-30).
David’s earthly days of wonder are over; now it’s our time to celebrate living in the safest place of all, hemmed in by God!
- Re-read Peter’s celebration in 1 Peter 1:3-5. Set aside time to soak in the truth of the Lord’s unrivalled power protecting us from start to end, without gaps.
- Join Peter’s song of praise: Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Specifically, exalt the Father that he is the only perfect, all-powerful Protector. Then celebrate (express your gladness) at living under his protection…. even if circumstances seem to shout a different message.
- Thank him for being your constant, living Shield; that your life is now hidden with Christ in God, which means you are living in the safest place of all. Declare it as truth over your entire life journey.
- Use Psalm 139:6 to pray simple prayers of wonder. Tell the Lord how you feel about his protective presence; share your heartfelt WOW at being hemmed in by him.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
Note: If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to read the earlier post, Inner Rest about stillness in a world of unrest.