For some, the focus of a new year begins with a word, a Scripture, a resolution, or some other thing that will usher in change for the coming year. Last year, for me, it was the book of Jonah. This year, it is Psalm 139.

This beautiful Psalm contains more than I can post at one time. But two things have grabbed me so tightly that I can’t help but speak of them.

Verse 5 (NIV): You hem me in, behind and before. You lay your hand upon me.

Hem: In this context, the word means to form an edge or border, on or around.

Verse 10 (NIV): even there your hand will guide me. Your right hand will hold me fast.

Hold me fast: In this context, the Hebrew root word means to seize, to be caught, grasped, to enclose, take hold of, to fasten. In the dictionary, fasten means to attach firmly or securely in place; fix securely to something else; to make secure; to enclose securely; to direct (the eyes, thoughts, etc.) intently:

I agree with David. This is too wonderful for me. Too lofty for me to attain (v 6). God surrounds me. He has formed a border around me. He holds me securely within His grasp, He has enclosed me within His hands.

Oh, just imagine His big, beautiful, strong, right hand, where you are held so tightly and securely that you become etched in His palm. Oh, how this comforts me and gives me strength! You would think that knowing God held me so tightly would be constricting and confining! But just the opposite is true. It gives me the freedom, courage and strength to walk out this life knowing I am held within His everlasting grasp.

Isaiah 49:16 (a) (NIV) See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;