SURROUNDED BY MOUNTAINS
by Wayne S. Walker
“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever” (Psalm 125:2). Jerusalem is built upon the mountains. Therefore, it is in a very defensible spot that is quite difficult to capture. In the time of the conquest of Canaan and the judges, the Israelites won a couple of battles over the Jebusite kings of Jerusalem (Joshua 10:1-26, Judges 1:1-7). However, it appears that they never conquered the city itself or, if they did they were not able to hold on to it (Joshua 15:63, Judges 1:21). It was not until the time of David that it was captured for Israel (2 Samuel 5:6-10). Then, it was never fully conquered by anyone again until, because of the sin of Israel, God allowed it to be captured and destroyed by Nebuchednezzar (2 Kings 25:8-11).
The Psalmist reminds us that as the mountains have surrounded and protected Jerusalem for ages, so God surrounds and protects His people. He certainly did in Old Testament days, at least when they were faithful to Him. This is because God is greater than physical mountains. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:1). It is as if those who have received the blessings of the Messiah that were prophesied to come under the new covenant are living in “the mountain of the LORD’s house” (Isaiah 2:2).
While we believe that God providentially cares for His people, the Bible does not teach that God will protect believers from every ill or problem on earth. Christians get sick and die. They perish in catastrophes. They are killed in accidents. They may even suffer persecution and death for their faith. However, as they put their trust in Him, God still protects them even through such trials and tribulations with the promise of something better. Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Like the Psalmist, “Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:2.) Why? Because just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, we know that God surrounds His people.