“You hem me in, behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”
Psalm 139:5, NIV
Here are some brief definitions and interpretations of the phrase hem: to surround, to restrict the space of, to form a border around, a “hedge of protection”, to be folded back and sewn down… while somehow still allowing room for growth, such as the way a parent might hem the pants of a child to later extend the extra fabric space for what will be needed at a time to come.
Psalm 139 is a widely known psalm of David. It begins with, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me,” (v. 1, NIV). Like a tailor knowing the threads of the raw cloth in his stock room, God plans and cuts and carefully chooses the material needed for each job.
You, O LORD, hem me in, from both sides and all angles. You border me. You surround me with your truth and presence. You align me and straighten out all my rough edges! You lay your hand upon me in order to hem me in. You lay your hand on me as you work on me, as you turn me about to clean me up. You guide me, like the hands of a sewer guiding fabric through a machine. Creating straight lines and even stitches, beauty from tattered cloth. You are in control. You are tucking away, knowing exactly what will be needed for growth later, in preparation. You are preparing me, both for now and for later. You surround me. You hem me in! I am so hemmed in by you that I cannot be lost! I am caught up in you, I am hemmed in by you, I am surrounded by you and I cannot get loose. Nor do I want to! Your hand is upon me, guiding and navigating my life and me. You navigate me. If a hem is a border, you are my protective border! This is the edge of a finished cloth! I will not remain undone. You finish my edges!
A hem is something one sews in order to make the material more presentable. God hems us in to make us more presentable!
Be encouraged. God hems you in, from behind and before. His hand is upon you.
Devotional written by Heather Christy. Graphic designed by Heather Christy.