Happy New Year! The scriptures on my heart this week are all about being unshakable, which brings to mind a famous song from a long time ago…
My hands are shaky and my knees are weak
I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet…
My tongue get tied when I try to speak
My insides shake like a leaf on a tree
Name that tune, anyone? Elvis is all shook up about his love for his ‘buttercup.’ Shaky hands, weak knees, tongue-tied, shaking inside like a leaf on a tree. Have you been there? Those lyrics sound like the story of my life. I get all shook up just talking about politics, for goodness sakes! The passion in my heart sometimes translates into nervousness so extreme that I am on a first name basis with knocking knees. When I talk to someone about Jesus, or how the Lord is working in my life, I get all shook up. I come away from the conversation feeling light-headed and faint. Short of carrying around smelling salts, what’s an anxiety-filled girl to do?
I am in the midst of a two-month-long headache odyssey. The doctor calls it a ‘muscle contraction headache.’ Its origins are in the stress I carry in my neck and shoulders. How can this be? I follow Christ. I am transformed…I am a new creation. Yet I still do battle daily with an underlying tension that creeps its claws in deep and causes great pain. Outwardly I am calm. Inwardly, the small stresses of life build and build and build.
God is whispering to me this week that it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, He’s telling me that it IS NOT this way. Take a look at Psalm 125 with me:
1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
I trust in the Lord. I believe him; I take him at his word. This verse tells me not that I “will be” like Mt. Zion. It says that believers ARE LIKE Mt. Zion. (My daughter would tell you that this is a metaphor!) God says that like Mount Zion, I cannot be shaken (mowt). The Hebrew word mowt means to totter, to move, to be overthrown, to drop, to slip. Though my knees may be knocking at some new terror in the world or a challenge that appears daunting, I cannot slip. Notice it doesn’t say “shall not” be shaken, or even “will not” be shaken. The verse says CANNOT. Why will those who trust in the Lord endure forever? Why is it that we CAN’T be shaken? ‘Can’t‘ has a different connotation than ‘won’t.’ It implies an inability. So, as a believer, I am unable to be shaken. I will endure forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.
Now the above verse answers the question I just posed earlier. Why can we not be shaken? Because the Lord himself surrounds us now, at this very moment, and he will do so forevermore. Always. When people say ‘forever,’ sometimes they just mean ‘a long period of time.’ But God means it. Forever is eternity. We who trust in the Lord are in the safest possible place. History has shown the value people have placed on living in areas surrounded by mountains. Why do mountains make good protection? They make it impossible for foes to creep in unseen. They hold back the enemy. They provide shade from the hot sun. Can you get your mind around that truth? The LORD is around us.
3 The scepter of the wicked will not remain
over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
their hands to do evil.
God will not allow the wickedness in this world to remain. It will end. We know when Christ returns wickedness will be wiped out, for good. It is good to dwell in the safety of these promises when we hear instant news stories of people burned alive in churches in Kenya or of kidnappings and shootings and poisonings.
4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
to those who are upright in heart.
5 But those who turn to crooked ways
the LORD will banish with the evildoers.
Peace be upon Israel.
One day the evildoers will be banished, and peace will be upon Israel and upon those grafted into the vine. As God’s adopted child, I need only to step back and view the big picture when life’s tensions swell up in my neck and back. I need to take a quiet moment and view a spiritual satellite image, if you will, of God himself surrounding me in times of turmoil. I can rest in the safety of Him. There simply is no safer place to be. And for that, I praise Him!