Psalm 119:114 (ESV) … “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.”
We need a hiding place when danger threatens: we need a shield when danger makes its thrust. A hiding place suggests that the danger, though real enough, is not yet at hand. It can still be averted perhaps. A shield is needed when the hiding place no longer affords protection. The danger has become immediate, a present-tense peril.
The psalmist’s first line of defense against his foes is God, and his final line of defense against his foes is God. He has no other defense, nor does he need any. His hope is not in his friends or family, in his own resources or resolution, in his skill with sword or spear. His hope is in God and in God’s Word. Since that cannot fail, his victory is assured.
Our thoughts go back to Abraham, when he had just won a tremendous victory. With a few hundred of his retainers and a motley force of ragtag and bobtail allies, he had taken on an invading army from the East which, flushed with victory, was returning on its triumphant way back toward the Euphrates. Then had come the reunion with Lot. We can imagine excited talk and chatter, with Abraham delighting in it all. He would talk of old times with Lot, and earnestly counsel him to remain committed to the Lord. There would be reminiscences of Lot’s wife, about life in Sodom. There would be laughter and games with Lot’s children. Then it was all over. To Abraham’s dismay, Lot headed back to Sodom, arm in arm with Sodom’s king. In the silence that descended on the patriarch’s camp, the aging pilgrim looked at his beloved wife, now growing old. The silence that reigned in his camp seemed only to emphasize the fact that they had no children. Brooding over it all was the possibility that the eastern army, robbed of its spoils, might return to take summary vengeance on this petty chieftain who had caught them by surprise.
Then came the I AM of God, one of the first of the mighty I AMs of Scripture: “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield …” (Genesis 15:1). And behind that shield Abraham rested. No weapon forged by hell could penetrate it. He was safe from the kings of the East. He could rest in God’s promise of a son. The psalmist rested in the living God: “Thou art my hiding place and my shield,” he says. “I hope in Thy word.”