Jesus Creed

Not only is God revealed as “teacher” in Psalm 119:113-120, but God is also the protector in v. 114. The psalmist uses two concrete images for God’s protections:
First, God is “my refuge” — the place where the psalmist hides.
Second, God is “my shield” — the place where one is protected from attack.
Third, it appears that his refuge and his shield are found in God’s Word (114b).
Fourth, therefore, since God is protecting him, the psalmist exhorts his opponents to keep their distance.
The image is rather graphic but I think fairly clear: the psalmist is under attack from enemies who oppose his commitment to follow God’s teachings. He gathers himself in trust behind God’s protection so he can follow God’s teachings and exhorts his enemies to keep their distance because his commitment is to obey.
We should not imagine a child jumping behind a parent in fear of a stranger, nor a teenager tucking himself or herself behind a strong friend when a bully arrives. Instead, we are dealing here with adults whose moral vocation is under attack, and one adult (the psalmist) publicly makes it clear that no matter how much opposition he is to face, his commitment — like Abraham’s decision to go to the Land or like Moses’ to obey God in the wilderness or Joshua’s commitment to obey God or like Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness — is to do what God has called him to do.
God, he says, will protect those who trust in him, who hope in him, and who obey him.

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