It was the experience of a lifetime when my husband and I toured Israel three years ago. Such incredible history. A beautiful land. A resilient people. The bible came alive geographically, contextually and culturally as we walked, and heard, and saw, and tasted, and touched, and breathed in the heat and the heart of God’s promised land. I would love to go back one day!
One of the many places we visited was Ein Gedi. It’s an oasis in the Judean wilderness which according to the biblical account became a refuge for David and his men while they were living in exile from King Saul. Ein Gedi is a natural spring hidden in a rocky valley and the spring was a life source for David and his men, whilst they hid in the many caves found in the towering cliffs throughout the surrounding countryside.
The caves are in a brilliant position to see for miles any approaching enemy. There is refuge, and safety, and water.
Perhaps it was these very caves which David had in mind when he wrote in Psalm 27:5-6 “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock and now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me…”
David was certainly in a time of trouble. He would have been physically worn out from surviving in the harshest of conditions. He would have been mentally tired of the responsibilities that came with leading his group of men and figuring out what to do next. And he would have been emotionally reeling from the betrayal of the King he had served so faithfully from his youth.
All of us go through times where we are physically, mentally and emotionally drained. This year I’ve often desired for God to pluck me up and hide me somewhere…that’s why this part of Psalm 27 appeals to me so much! Who doesn’t want to be hidden away from their troubles?
David, the mighty warrior, anointed by God, was certainly positioned with his head above his enemies when hiding in those caves. But what a humbling position to be in! After all, David was the slayer of Goliath, he was favoured by the people, he was God’s anointed. So what was God teaching David during this time?
God was showing David that His presence can be found even in the dark, humbling, unexpected places that we don’t want to be. Our own personal “caves”. Yet even in those dark places God is protecting us, providing for us, and replenishing us.
Like David, if we allow our heart to be hidden in God, no matter where we find ourselves, then God will be our spring of replenishment, our Living Water. Our Ein Gedi.
Then we too will say “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27: 14 NKJV).