Monday, July 20, 2020

LHM Daily Devotions - July 20, 2020 - "Surrounded"

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries


July 20, 2020

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people, from this time forth and forevermore.

It is not necessarily a bad thing to be surrounded. We enjoy being surrounded by friends and family, or standing in the middle of a forest or meadow, surrounded by the beauty of God's creation. But it is not necessarily safe or comfortable to be surrounded by traffic on a busy street or highway, or pressed on all sides by a crowd. If members of the armed forces are surrounded on a battlefield, the situation may quickly turn deadly. But according to our psalm, there is a way to be surrounded that is the most wonderful—and safest—place to be!

In ancient times, Zion was a hilltop fortress in Jerusalem that was conquered by David. He lived in the captured stronghold and called it "the city of David" (see 2 Samuel 5:7-9). The name Zion came to be used as another name for Jerusalem and eventually as a name for the whole land of Israel. Zion was thought to be a fortress, immovable, strong and eternal, a description that also fits the people God calls His own. Zion is a mountain that does not stand alone. The city of Jerusalem lies in mountainous terrain; the Scriptures speak of "going up" to Jerusalem. "As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people." We, the people of God, are a strong fortress, surrounded on all sides by our Lord, safe from our enemies.

Our surrounding God shelters us with His loving care: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31b) His holy will surrounds our lives like the mountains surround Jerusalem because long ago, on a hill outside of Jerusalem, God did not spare His Son, but gave Him up for us all. In another psalm, in the face of opposition to His Messiah, God announces "As for Me, I have set My King on Zion, My holy hill" (Psalm 2:6).

On a holy hill among the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, the King of kings was crowned with thorns and lifted up on a cross, where He suffered and died for the sins of the world. His body was taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb not far from that holy hill. But the will of God surrounded His Son like the mountains surround Jerusalem, and on the first Easter morning Jesus rose bodily from the grave. Our crucified and risen Lord has conquered our enemies—sin, death, and Satan—foes that still try in vain to surround us. Through faith in Christ we are like Mount Zion, immovable and strong, confident that the Lord Himself will surround us "from this time forth and forevermore."

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, when we are worried or afraid, help us to remember that we are surrounded on all sides by Your compassion and care. Secure in You, we cannot be moved. Amen.

Reflection Questions:
1. Do you think of God as being around you at all times, caring for you?

2. What do you think an immovable faith is like? Have you known people with this kind of faith?

3. Are there things we can do to help strengthen our faith?
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
Do you think of God as being around you at all times, caring for you?

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