“For he will conceal me in his shelter in the day of adversity; he will hide me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.” Psalm 27:5 CSB
One time my two sisters and I were playing hide and seek. I had been waiting with excitement for the next time we would play for I had discovered the best hiding place you could imagine. I was so confident that I would win the game I could barely conceal my joy. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, ready or not here I come!” I buried myself under the dirty clothes in the laundry closet and lay as still as mouse. I made sure they had given up before I revealed myself. Actually they had already changed games to playing dolls or something else.
Psalm 27:5 could almost be a riddle. What is hidden under cover and high on a rock? As with riddles, the answer is not at all obvious. The Psalm moves through two strong sentiments: seeking and confidence (The Message of Psalms by Michael Wilcox). The two are not mutually exclusive in that when we face armies of opposition we hold a mixed bag of earnestly seeking God — because we have a clear view of the threat — and confidence in God because we have come to trust he is with us. Remember how seeking and confidence were so intertwined in the story of Gideon (Judges 6-8).
The two metaphors that stand behind these statements express the nature of King David’s confidence as the shadow of war blanketed him. The enemy ranks were all lined up and ready to fight. The first metaphor could be stated this way: “Confidence in the Lord is hiding under his cover.” The cover is the tent or tabernacle of the Lord. The temple had not been built or it would say, “I am confident because I am in the temple” or more to the point since “in the temple” was a metaphor for “in the presence of the Lord; “confidence comes from being with God”. Before we do battle a visit to the temple will bring confidence. Confidence scatters any similitude of fright.
Back to the riddle: “What is hidden under cover and high on a rock?” The second metaphor, “Confidence in the Lord is being high on a rock” presents the image of holding the high ground and therefore being out of the reach of the enemy. The enemy can clearly see the king, but is at the disadvantage. David can rush down on them, but they cannot get up to him. Confidence concerning the things that frighten us comes from knowing that God gives us the high ground.
There is still a battle to be fought. Blood will be spilled and some may lose their lives. Only in Psalm 27:1 in the Old Testament is God called “my light” (UBS Handbook: Psalms). Since God is the source of the light within me (my light), it cannot be put out. It will burn as the source of my life-force beyond the use of my earthly body. This is then something that mortal and earthly enemies cannot demolish. They have no effective weapon to put this light out. They can kill the body and still lose the war. So there is no force or pestilence on this earth that can snuff out the eternal light within us. This is why “the world is a perfectly safe place to be” (Dallas Willard, Life Without Lack).
Jesus said, “Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul….” (Matthew 10:28).