When God Presses In

You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power. Psalm 139:5, GNT

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5, ESV

What happens when God presses in upon you? What does life look like when the hand of God is upon you and He encircles you? The word picture here reminds me of Moses and the Israelites at the Red Sea. Their enemy was behind them, the red sea in front of them. There were millions of people ready to be slaughtered by the Egyptian army. They were like helpless sheep waiting to be slaughtered by a prevailing army. God was pressing in upon the Israelites.

Some may view this as certain doom and despair, but God saw this as an opportunity for His glory to be shown in the earth and lives to be transformed. God encircled round about the Israelites. His fire protected them, and the breath of life parted the Red Sea. In His goodness He even dried up on the ground the Israelites would walk on so they would not sink in the mud.

The Lord, the Victorious one has gone before you. He stands as your rear guard and He leads onward as the conquering King. He has hemmed you in and has laid His hand upon you. What will you do now? Will you quit and give up at the first sign of trouble? Will you return to the Egyptian army hoping they will not slaughter you as they had been sent to do? Will you go back to the way things used to be, hoping for some sort of peace in slavery? Or like Moses and the millions of Israelites, will you move forward, deeper into the greater things of God?

God has even ensured that you will not sink into despair along the journey. The muddy path had become dry ground. Walking in God’s grace makes muddy paths become dry. He leads you into paths of righteousness. He places you on His highway of holiness. To turn to the right or to the left will guarantee quick sand in which you will surely sink into despair. But to remain on His path with His Word as your light and your direction, you cannot fail.

When God presses in upon you, in the natural you may see chaos and uncertainty; however, God sees provision, blessing, and growth. Your God-given assignment is only validated by the pressure. As wheat is threshed under great pressure, God separates the chaff from the wheat in your life through the weight of His hand upon you. Just as the olives are pressed for the abundance of oil to flow, God lays His hand upon you to press out what is within you.

It is during these moments we realize what inadequacies we have. As God encircles us we see His greatness and our lack, our vulnerability, our need. We see the uncrossable sea and the fierce army. God sees His power to deliver. God sees His promise being fulfilled. God is certain of His ability to do what He has promised in your life. He will use the enemy to bring about His plan. He used the Egyptian army to apply pressure. He used the army to reveal His power. He used the army to reveal the heart of man. He used the army to drive the Israelites forward. And when He was finished with the enemy, He brought down the waters of judgment upon them. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of God’s judgment. But, oh how wonderful it is to be in the hands of God’s grace. He has encircled me and laid His hand of grace and power upon me!

Jesus spoke of these wonderful hands. John 10:28: “No one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Paul said it like this in Romans 8:31, 35: “If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”

In the natural you may see the problem, but through the eyes of faith you will see His power upon you. It is foolish to kick against the goads. Saul learned the great lesson of God’s hemming when God’s glory shone about him, knocked him to the ground, and changed His life.

In what ways might God be hemming you in? Like the caterpillar, the hemming brings about a change to great beauty. Learn to rest in God’s sovereign hand. When the pressure comes, don’t resist His hand, but yield and rest in His power upon you. God is ‘round about you, and He has placed His hand upon you. Yield to God’s unchanging hand! Certainly, He will deliver you. Certainly, He has brought you to a place of victory. If you could only see what’s awaiting you on the other side of the Red Sea!

There’s an old song written in 1906 by Jennie Wilson that captures the eternal, unchanging nature of God’s hand upon you:

Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring,
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling.

Covet not this world’s vain riches
That so rapidly decay,
Seek to gain the heav’nly treasures,
They will never pass away.

When your journey is completed,
If to God you have been true,
Fair and bright the home in glory
Your enraptured soul will view

Hold to God’s unchanging hand,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand;
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

One thought on “When God Presses In

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