Psalm 139:1-6 NRSV
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
The Psalmist marvels, (or is it laments?): “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” The Hebrew word for “hem in” used here doesn’t mean cuddle. It doesn’t refer to a protective embrace, a great big bear hug, or to being wrapped in bubble wrap. It’s not a hedge of protection – it’s concertina wire for trespassers. The word for “hem in” is the word used when a city is laid under siege. You besiege me, O God. You hem me in. You besiege me. You entrap me. You encircle me. You beleaguer me, behind and before. You will not leave me alone.
How fearful a thing to be searched and known by this God.
And yet how wonderful, how wonderful.
– Jeremy Troxler, “Hemmed In” – Psalm 139
God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.
God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.
God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my soul,
God in my heart.
God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber,
God in mine ever-living soul,
God in mine eternity.
~ ancient Celtic prayer found in Alexander Carmichael’s Collection Carmina Gadelica
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