Hymn text by Thomas Kelly, 1769-1854. View the full text of this hymn.

Zion Stands with Hills Surrounded” is today’s hymn. The title alone evokes powerful imagery—the righteous city of God besieged by enemy armies, surrounded by attacking forces. And yet, Zion stands. Preserved by divine power, Zion stands in the face of overwhelming odds.

Zion stands with hill surrounded–
Zion, kept by pow’r divine.
All her foes shall be confounded,
Though the world in arms combine.

Scriptural prophecy speaks of Jerusalem being attacked by wicked nations immediately before the second coming of Christ. Certainly, as a church whose name includes the phrase “Latter-day,” we take interest in such prophecies. Much of the work we do as a church is to prepare the world for Christ’s second coming. And yet, as with many prophecies, the literal fulfillment is perhaps not the most relevant one.

While the literal city of Zion may in the future be surrounded, many of God’s children feel spiritually or emotionally surrounded today. We often feel that everything is conspiring against us, that the easy choice is never the right one, that we are constantly being worn down by the comments, crusades, and sometimes even cruelty of the world around us. Everyone seems eager to tell us that what we’re doing is wrong in some way, or to point out all the ways we could be better.

In the midst of all this, we have a hope-filled promise: God himself remembers us, and will not forsake us. Isaiah prophesied:

But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.

For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

When we are beset by taunts, trepidation or trials, we can take comfort in this fact: the Lord is always with us. He will defend and sustain if we will trust in him. Of course, this does not always mean that our burdens will be light. Often, the burden remains heavy, but our ability to carry it is increased.  Our Father does not simply want to protect us as we are, spiritual infants. Rather, the whole purpose of his Plan is to help us develop the talents and abilities that are latent within us.

In the furnace God may prove thee,
Thence to bring thee forth more bright,
But can never cease to love thee;
Thou art precious in his sight.
God is with thee, God is with thee;
Thou shalt triumph in his might

So when you feel like surrounded Zion, with enemy forces on every side, remember this: God is with thee, God is with thee; Thou shalt triumph in his might.

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