Psalm 125 compares those who trust in God to the mountain of Zion–rock solid, dependable, unable to be moved. I must confess that, most days, my faith feels less than mountainous. I’m more like a young tree with firm roots and a really flexible trunk–bent, but not likely to break or be uprooted. The message of this Psalm moves me toward the spiritual/protest song “We Shall Not Be Moved.” (In fact, go back and read the Psalm again, and imagine it being read at a rally for justice and peace. It could easily be a protest Psalm). While “We Shall Not Be Moved” dates back to the slave era of the United States, the song has been used by civil rights activists, labor unions and other justice movements. It’s been recorded by Mavis Staples, The Seekers, Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger, Elvis Presley and many others.
While there is great power in singing this song, it becomes even more powerful when coupled with Psalm 125. We can sing “We shall not be moved” and really mean it when we know that:
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people,
from this time on and forevermore.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous–Psalm 125:2-3
Even when our faith is lacking, God never is. God surrounds us like the mountains that surround Jerusalem–for now and all time. In this era of #resist, know that you do not have to stand on your own strength, for that strength will eventually wear down and you will wear out. But if we trust in God, God’s strength becomes our strength, and we can continue to stand up and speak out against any evildoers who may be wielding a “scepter of wickedness.”
–Rev. Anne Russ