As the mountains surround Jerusalem

from theDesk of…

by Pam Strickland, Lt. Colonel –

Recently I had the privilege, along with Cabinet and the Territorial Executive Council, to attend the Alaska Congress in Sitka, Alaska. The beauty of the mountain scenery and the warmth of the people was a wonderful experience.

Meeting in such a majestic setting brought to mind the Scripture verse, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore” (Psalm 125:2).

Though Jerusalem is not surrounded by a ring of mountain peaks, the city is located in what Old Testament writers called a mountainous region. Scripture describes Psalm 125 as “A song of ascents.” Many of the Psalms were anthems sung by pilgrims on their yearly journey to Jerusalem during the feast days. As you read these hymns of the highway, you can imagine yourself (as the pilgrim) on a long journey, a traveler far from home with your destination now in view.

The second half of that verse declares, “The Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” What a wonderful promise, knowing the Lord actually surrounds us. With that comes peace, protection and provision.

We all know that peace has always been an elusive commodity. Historians have stated that in the last 3,500 years of human history, less than 300 of those years could be called ‘warless.” More than 8,000 treaties have been made…and broken…during that time. True peace comes only from the Lord. Just as the city of Jerusalem in David’s day housed the very presence of the Lord, so our body today is the “temple (dwelling place) of the Holy Ghost.” We have the very source of peace dwelling within.

Psalm 121:5,6 gives us the assurance of protection. ”The Lord watches over you, the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.” An unsleeping guardian stands watch over each of us day and night. What more protection could you or I ever need or want.

All of life’s securities and blessings are gifts from God rather than anything you or I could have accomplished. As the children of Israel left Egypt and journeyed to the Promised Land, the Lord provided for them each step of the way. Their clothing or sandals never wore out, food was provided as manna from heaven. Their enemies were defeated in battle as long as they were obedient to God’s promises. The key word is obedient.

As we shared in worship and fellowship in southeast Alaska with the officers and soldiers of that great division, I was reminded again of God’s beautiful creation, not only in nature totally surrounding us, but in the beauty of each soul that is committed to him. How wonderful to be in the mist of fellow believers that are on the same journey, with the same destination ahead. In the singing of the songs, and the reading of Scripture, we were united as one body in Christ. I believe it could be summed up in the chorus of a song sung by Dallas Holm:

Here we are in your presence,
Lifting holy hands to you.
Here we are praising Jesus
For the things he’s brought us through.

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