“Thou has beset me behind and before,
and laid thine hand upon me.”
Oliver B. Greene writes: “The word ‘beset’ can be used in two ways: in one sense, it means to perplex or harass, but its deeper meaning – to surround – is the sense in which it is used in this verse. Have you ever thought about what it means to be ‘beset’ by God? Certainly we all know the meaning of being beset by perplexities and harassed by disagreeable people and circumstances; but when God besets us He surrounds us with His love and care. He is so close to us that He lays His hand upon us.
Surely, then, a temporary lapse of devotion on our part does not cause Him to leave us. But how often do Christians, in times of trouble and disappointment feel that the Lord has forsaken them? In Psalm 125:2 we read, ‘As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about His people from henceforth even for ever.’ It is a historically (and geographically) established fact that mountains surround Jerusalem – but suppose the people who live in that city should think of those mountains as some believers sometimes think of God? On clear days, when the sun shines brightly and visibility is good, suppose they said, ‘The mountains are really there, for we can see them.’ Then on stormy days, when the clouds hang low, suppose they said, ‘Our mountains have forsaken us! We cannot see them, and we do not feel that they are there!’ Such reasoning would be extremely foolish. And just as the mountains surround Jerusalem (whether they are visible or not), God besets – surrounds – His people, although we do not see Him and we may not even feel He is there.”
He goes ‘before’ us to show us the way; He goes ‘behind’ us to encourage and motivate us. As we continue to rejoice in hope, let us be grateful for the surrounding love of God in our daily journey to our Heavenly home.