The Surrounding Hills

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time on and forevermore.
Psalm 125:2
Perhaps those of us from Appalachia can understand how Jerusalem felt, surrounded as it was by mountains. There's something about living in the hills that makes a person feel secure and protected. It reminds hill people of the love of God.

But the hills can also isolate. The same people who feel secure among the hills might also be behind the times, have fewer opportunities, or feel that the outside world has less to do with them that it does with other people.

That's why it's nice to find inspiration in nature, but we should never equate nature or its wonders with God. God surrounds us with protection and always gives us peace, but God's peace surrounds us on every road we travel—and travel we should. God's people are a pilgrim people: though we might find ourselves isolated for a time as we sojourn in green pastures or by still waters, God will always lead us on to some new work, to minister to a soul crying out for help, to meet some need that we haven't encountered before. As the hills surround Jerusalem, so God protects us—but that doesn't mean we're intended to stay in this same valley. 

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you.
 2 Thessalonians 3:16
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Hear, O God, the prayer we offer:
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength, that we may ever
live our lives courageously.

Not forever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be,
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.

Not forever by still waters
would we idly, quiet stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wanderings be our Guide;
through endeavor, failure, danger,
be the Shepherd at our side.
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.

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