in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
Maybe it is my love of science fiction, fantasy, of well told stories. But as I read this passage, my mind conjured up an image of a royal tent in the center of camp of soldiers going to war against an opponent. The kings tent, stationed at the center, is heavily guarded by the most elite soldiers. The royal flags flying in the wind. Entrance is limited to but a few. In side, it is richly and ornately decorated and furnished. The best comforts and protections away from home that can be supplied in wartime are provided there.
From the outside, soldiers look on. Many will never see the inside of the tent. Many will never even get close. They will not be invited in. And should they approach, they would be heavily questioned, turned away, and/or even arrested for attempting to get too near or attempting to get inside. The safety of the king is paramount.
This is the picture of “tent” that my mind conjures up at the reading of this verse.
And yet, Abba, we are told that this tent, this unapproachable fortress of a tent is EXACTLY the place where you invite us in times of trouble and opposition.
Again, my mind imagines stepping inside, upon your invitation, and looking around in wonder and awe; being uncomfortable and uneasy about being in such a royal place. Where do you stand? Where do you sit? How to you behave?
And here, the king, You, invite us to shelter in the safety and protection of your own lodging. Silence, a bowed head, a humble heart seems the only appropriate action in such a regal setting.
To be invited into the kings shelter….
Well, there just aren’t words…
You hide us
You conceal us
You lift us high
You, Abba, are the protector.
We are the recipient.
And you bring us into the shelter of your own tent.
You lift us high upon the rock, way above the danger.
You invite us into the sanctuary and protection of your own tent.
Help me to grasp the enormity of such a truth; the intimacy and personalness of such a truth. The tent is not, in and of itself, what is safe. It is the person in the tent and the protections provided by the owner.
Truly, Abba, what have I to fear; what have we to fear when we are invited to shelter in the tent of the king?