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Psalm 139:5 (NASB)

You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

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Bible Commentary

Psalm 139:5 is a Bible verse in the Book of Psalms from an intimate conversation King David is having with God, because he is overwhelmed by God’s amazing Presence and gifts in his life.

What does King David mean by God enclosing him behind and before? The word “enclosed” is defined as: to shut in all around; surround.

If you are acquainted with God’s love in your life, it sounds comforting to be enclosed (surrounded) by Him. David knew God’s love personally, and this revelation was a great comfort to him.


However, if you are more acquainted with control in your life, rather than God’s love, it might sound a bit troubling to be enclosed (shut in all around) by Him. For as long as I can remember, I have been claustrophobic, like many others, which is a fear of being in a confined place.

In my attempt along my spiritual journey with Jesus Christ to overcome fears, He challenged me to look deeper into my claustrophobia, to ask myself what I was really afraid of. 

Unlocking the Truth - Fear

Was it only the fear of being in a confined place, or something else? As I thought deeper into it, I realized it wasn’t the confined place that bothered me so much as the fact of not having control in a situation.

What would I do if I was literally buried alive? Thinking through it, at first all I could see as an escape from such an overwhelming terror, was dying. Then, it occurred to me that after the initial panic attack, I would call on God.

So then, the question became: Do I trust God in a situation like that? Would He leave me there to suffer in fear, or would He somehow comfort me with awareness of His Presence? Would He do some kind of miracle to free me, like He did when Paul and Silas were in prison?


Look at the last part of Psalm 139:5, which says, “You have...laid your hand upon me.” A Hebrew definition for the word “hand” here is: power. If you look up “power” in Webster’s Dictionary, you’ll see these definitions: possession or control; official authority, or right.

So then, do I really trust God with my very life? I gave it to Him long ago when I asked Him into my heart to be my Saviour, but I didn’t realize I was afraid to give Him total control.


What I didn’t know until I looked into my claustrophobia fear, is that it was not giving Him total control and authority of my life that scared me, but it was giving up my right, possession and authority over my own life. That was the fear that had to be faced and conquered. 

A decision was before me. Would I hold on and control the power, or right He had given me over my life, or relinquish it to Him? Looking back to frightening situations in my life, He has always responded to my cries for help. He has always proven Himself faithful.

The cross proves His great love and faithfulness to His children—all of them. Why would this situation be any different? There is power in His hand, but He won’t exercise it until we relinquish our own.


Remembering His faithfulness, I decided to trust God even in that scenario, knowing He is always there and He always answers with love and mercy. I welcome His hand upon me, His complete authority over me, like Psalm 139:5 says. He goes before me and behind me.

Now when I’m in a packed elevator or some other tight space or scary situation, I can focus on God, remembering His faithfulness, and be free from that fear. God is just as faithful to you as He is to me. The difference is your awareness or knowledge of it—believing it.

That’s where our confidence and courage come from—believing His faithfulness in our life by remembering our history with Him, remembering His display of great love on the cross, and how He has responded to our prayers.

Just as Psalm 139:5 says, He goes before you and behind you. His hand is upon you when you give up control over your life, and welcome His power and authority in its place. He is trustworthy. He is a good Father.

You’ll be overjoyed when you see how closely He walks with you, how easily you can overcome fear and enjoy life, together with Him.

Study the Bible verse of Psalm 139:5 for yourself and examine the depths of your heart, so you can face and overcome fear, by faith.



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wow!!! just wow!!! 
I too have phobias. Learning to pray through them is mind-blowing. Thank you!!

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