It’s a staple of nearly every western and cop show. That moment when the bad guy is confronted and the hero declares something along the lines of “Get your hands up, you’re surrounded.” Sometimes that declaration is real, sometimes it’s a bluff. The idea is always the same. You can’t run. There’s no escape so just give up. With a slump of the shoulders, the situation is accepted and the bad guy gives up.
We also see in the history of war the value or hopelessness of being surrounded. And generally, that is how the word surrounded is used in the Bible. An army surrounds a town. Enemies surround. The wicked surround. But there are three verses where being surrounded is comforting and empowering.
Surrounded by Grace
“But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11–12, NASB95)
Those who take refuge in the Lord are surrounded with a shield of favor – more specifically a shield of grace. No matter what slings, arrows, and darts come our way our refuge is God’s grace, His favor, His acceptance.
Surrounded by Declaration
“You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.” (Psalm 32:7, NASB95) Here’s how I picture this verse. As I take refuge in God He stands all around me shouting and singing. To my ears, I hear a song of rescue, safety, and deliverance. My enemies hear a fierce shout, “This one belongs to me, he is mine!” Imagine how Satan trembles at those words.
Surrounded by Love
“Many are the sorrows of the wicked, But he who trusts in the Lord, lovingkindness shall surround him.” (Psalm 32:10, NASB95) Lovingkindness is more than just a feeling but a love that is active and never quits. It’s actually very difficult to express how high, deep, and wide God’s love is for us. Is it like a warm comforter on a chilly night? The embrace of a parent when a child has skinned their knee? The fierce love that protects those loved? The lovingkindness of God is all of those and so much more.
Surrounded by God
To put a different spin on the old western or cop show. If you are in Christ you’re surrounded – and that is a good thing. There no escape from God’s love, grace, and protection. So, hands up! Not in yielding to the inevitable but in praise and worship – like a young child reaching up for a hug from their mom or dad. Hands up! God has surrounded you with His love.