Have you ever felt surrounded? Utterly and totally overwhelmed? Like you’re suffocating under the pressure of the impending forces around you?
I think the author of Psalm 118 could relate!
“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; He is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: ‘The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!’ I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” – Psalm 118:5-17
I find it interesting to note, from verses 10-12, that the attack gets more and more specific, and it also gets up close and personal.
1) they surrounded me
2) they surrounded me on every side
3) they swarmed around me like bees (all up in your face!)
That word for surrounded, surrounded on every side, and swarmed around in the Hebrew is cabab; it means “to encircle, engulf, prowl about, to change direction, led around, marched around, dragged, waged against from all sides”.
I’m always amazed how a song can speak to my soul and carry me through a season. There is power in worship! I stumbled across this song in January when I was fighting to hold on to faith for the sale of our house in WA, and it radically changed my perspective on this subject of being surrounded. The song is called “This Is How I Fight My Battles” by Upper Room (in Dallas). The line that spoke to me the most was this: “It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by You.”
The truth: it might seem (or appear) that we are surrounded by an enemy that is too strong for us.
The greater truth: we’re surrounded by God Himself.
If we can get our eyes off the enemy and our problems, and get them FIXED on Jesus… overwhelmed by HIM and underwhelmed by the world… watch out, devil!
In Psalm 118, three times in three verses it says “in the name of the Lord I cut them down”; cut down means to ward off or destroy. We need to learn to relegate the enemy! (Thank you Webster for teaching me a new word many years ago!) Relegate means: “to send into exile, banish; assign to a place of insignificance or of oblivion, put out of sight or mind; assign to an appropriate place or situation on the basis of classification or appraisal.” Where is the appropriate place for Satan? He belongs under our feet! In our minds and our hearts we have to put him there – we have to relegate the enemy!
“Through You we push back our enemies; through Your name we trample our foes. I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but You give us victory over our enemies, You put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your name forever.” – Psalm 44:5-8
In the Lord, we have victory! Psalm 118:15 says “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous.” The Hebrew word for victory there is yĕshuw`ah! It means “salvation, deliverance, aid, welfare, prosperity, victory”. What sound is coming from your tent – praise or problems? Shouts of joy and victory, or frustration, sorrow, and defeat?
We need to recognize the enemy’s schemes, and receive God’s truth. The enemy will march around you, taunt you, and throw lies your way. He will attempt to change your direction and your path. He will try to make you feel like you’re surrounded and defeated.
“They have now surrounded us in our steps; they have set their eyes, to cast us down to the ground.” – Psalm 17:11
BUT GOD! In His great mercy, He sent His Son for us to bring us salvation and give us the victory, and HE is the One surrounding us now! We can enter into His presence and find the refuge, protection, and love we long for. We have unlimited access to the Father, because of Jesus!
Housefires sings a song called “Mountain to Valley” and the chorus says, “From the mountain to the valley, from the desert to the raging sea, in the silence or the city streets, Your presence always covers me.”
I love that! His presence always covers us!
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” – Psalm 91:1-4
We are covered by His feathers; we find our refuge under His wings. He is our safe place. Our haven. His truth is our shield and buckler! His love drives out all fear. We can rest in His shadow, trusting that we are covered.
“This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Winston Churchill
The enemy’s might may seem apparently overwhelming, but don’t forget for a moment that you’re surrounded by your Heavenly Father.
“Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; You surround them with your favor as with a shield.” – Psalm 5:12
“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance… Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.” – Psalm 32:7, 10
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them.” – Psalm 34:7
“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” – Psalm 125:2
Back to Psalm 118:5 one more time…
“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place.”
When you’re feeling surrounded, cry out to the Lord. Let Him bring you into a spacious place – into His presence. We have an opportunity in trouble, to lift our eyes to our King… to let the enemy’s lies get quiet while we tune our ear to the song of love and truth our Father in Heaven is singing over us…
Don’t miss His glory, His presence, when you feel surrounded by the “apparently overwhelming might of the enemy”.
There is a freedom and beauty, such liberty, in that spacious place, when you’re free to dance and spin and celebrate His glory all the more.
With fixed eyes and a fresh perspective.
To know that you’re surrounded by Him.