‘Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.’ This verse stood out to me from the fourth session of Phil’s anxiety talks on the Fill In, was verse one of Psalm 125. Link to the course here.
The Psalm desclares, ‘those who trust in the Lord are as unshakeable, as immovable as mighty Mount Zion! Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord’s wrap-around presence surrounds his people, protecting them now and forever.’
Psalm 125 is part of the collection of Psalms known as ‘a song of ascents.’ Songs sung by pilgrims as they made their way to Jerusalem during festival times. Imagine yourself as the pilgrim heading up to Jerusalem, Mount Zion ahead, the place where the temple stands. Your mind wanders to the many victories that have taken place there. Mount Zion, while the centre, it wasn’t the highest. I love this, that as the pilgrim saw the immovable, solid Zion, he also saw the surrounding mountains as God’s presence – His wrap-around presence.
Imagine our world of thoughts as a weather system surrounding Mount Zion, dark clouds, swirling, foreboding, storming – your anxious thoughts and struggles written in the dark.
Back to this verse, you are like the mountain. You are not the weather. Be still, and take your place on Mount Zion and see beyond the storm to the higher mountains surrounding you. You can be secure in your soul with this promise.
I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
There’s a great story in the bible about the prophet Elisha who woke one morning and found that the enemy surrounded the city. Elisha told the servant, ‘don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ I’m sure the servant was a little confused at Elisha’s counting. The whole army versus two does not equal victory.
“Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17) The all-around in this verse is the same meaning as surrounds in Psalm 125:2. And in Psalm 34:7: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7)
I love the practice of Lectio Divina, or Holy Reading – feasting on the word.
Let’s feast on this verse in Psalm 125 word today,
‘Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.’
- Read the verse out loud, listen to the verse, hear God is speaking to you.
- Pick a word or phrase from the verse that stands out to you and meditate on it. For me, it was trust (again…)
- Pray about what you’ve just read, ‘why am I focusing on trust Lord, what do you want to show me?’ In my current world, where clouds threaten to shift the weather pattern away from the promise of peace. His word asks me to trust him. He has me surrounded.
- Ask the Lord how He wants you to respond to this verse, how will I change, how will the word transform me? How will I live differently?
From this final response, it is useful to respond with a written prayer or write out some steps to transformation. Or, simply rest, sit still and repeat the word or phrase, for example, ‘’you surround me, Lord,’
It seems to me that prayer and scripture are essential for keeping your mind on truth, and I would frequently cry out in prayer and turn to the bible for answers in my darkest moments. But if I’m honest, it wasn’t easy. I was so sick with anxiety that opening my bible felt somewhat like walking into a hospital. I knew that I needed to be there and that there was healing to be found, but it was almost easier not to touch the wounds. My anxiety would increase just because I was addressing my anxiety. And prayer, well God definitely didn’t answer my prayers in the timing I asked Him to. I think the best thing that I did regarding prayer was to ask others to be in prayer for me. Now that my anxiety is more under control, it is my goal to be in daily devotions and to keep giving everything over to God through prayer. It’s better for my life, and it’s better for my mind.
Scripture tells us we can have God’s peace guard our hearts and minds. I’ve dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember, so this idea of peace always seemed elusive to me.
I would read Scriptures like Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you,” and I would get frustrated that I didn’t have this perfect peace.
It was when I realized that those wasn’t a passive thing, but something I had to choose, that I started to understand how to have peace guard my mind instead of anxiety. It’s about choosing to trust and keep our minds on God. In 1 Peter 5:7, we’re told to “Cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for [us].” That says we have to do something.
When anxiety comes, I have to choose to give it to God, and then I need to declare my trust in Him. I declare the truth of what scripture says about God and who He says I am. Often I do this out loud, so I can hear it.
To do this in the moment when anxiety comes, I have to be daily in scripture, filling my mind with the truth. That is when I’m able to declare it when anxiety comes.
From a practical perspective, I’ve actually created a list in my phone of Scripture I can read when anxiety comes. It helps me to more quickly turn my mind back to God.
Mediate and Memorise
‘When I said, ‘My foot is slipping, your love, O LORD, supported me. When my anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.’ Psalm 94:18-19
Listen: House on a Hill, Amanda Cook