“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
- Job 1:10
“Why is light given to those in misery,
and life to the bitter of soul,
to those who long for death that does not come,
who search for it more than for hidden treasure,
who are filled with gladness
and rejoice when they reach the grave?
Why is life given to a man
whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
For sighing has become my daily food;
my groans pour out like water.
What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
- Job 3:20-26
“Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more could have been done for my vineyard
than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
why did it yield only bad?
Now I will tell you
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland,
neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
not to rain on it.”
- Isaiah 5:3-6
In the first two Scriptures above, we see the good and bad regarding God’s hedges. Satan taunts God, saying that God’s hedge of protection is around Job and if that hedge were removed, Job would curse God. And after Job has lost nearly everything, he laments to his “friends” that God has hedged him in.
The word “hedge” is only mentioned two other times, one in Isaiah (above) and one in Zechariah. The Isaiah passage gives a glimpse into the meaning of a “hedge of protection.”
If you have a vineyard and the neighbor has cattle, sheep, and goats, the right kind of hedge could keep the livestock out. Otherwise, with the hedge removed, the livestock will trample what they do not eat.
Maybe that is why the knights who say “nii” or “nee,” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, want a shrubbery. They want to protect themselves with their own hedge of protection.
But most of us want something more when our friends commit to praying that God places a “hedge of protection” around us and our whole family.
These two videos did not inspire this post. I thought of the videos when a pastor talked about a hedge of protection on a television panel discussion.
Even then, the pastor did not explain what a hedge of protection was or is. I was thinking about a sturdy house or, in really hard times, an underground concrete bunker.
As the Russians were attacking Berlin at the end of World War II in Europe, Hitler was safe, far underground in his bunker complex. The citizens of Berlin were on the surface, being ripped apart by aerial bombing and when the soldiers got close enough, the artillery and armor was blasting the city. But as for Hitler, he was safe. He only died when it was obvious that he had lost, and he claimed his own life.
Thinking of sturdy houses, I have retold the story before of a stern project manager at the Pascagoula, MS, shipyards. He was a retired naval Commander. If you needed the job finished on time, he got it done. People might not like him afterwards, but the project was completed on time. He had no time for people’s feelings. He knew that the Mississippi Gulf Coast was prone to severe hurricanes. He built his house on stilts, far above the standard. Even the storms that exceeded the previous record storm surge would wipe out his neighbors, but not his home, or so he thought. They rode out Hurricane Katrina, sitting on the sofa until a wave came through the window and shoved the sofa and them into the far wall.
Days later, as they were sifting through the wreckage of what had been their home, someone that they knew came by to visit them. He was from the local Presbyterian church. He showed them the work order that he had filled out on their behalf. In most cases, people had to ask the church for help, but this guy from the church knew that the old naval Commander was too stubborn and too proud to do that. The old naval officer broke down. He had rarely shown love for anyone, and here this church came into his home to help him. He accepted Jesus as his Savior and became active in the church. My wife and I met the naval Commander and his wife. They served us a meal at the church when we went to the Mississippi Coast to help put someone else’s life back together.
So, bunkers do not protect you. Strong houses do not protect you. But according to Satan himself, a hedge was placed around Job, and Job remained secure until the hedge was removed.
It is not that Satan has a weakness in landscaping. He could produce fire and burn the hedge, but Job trusted a hedge, because that spiritual hedge came from the Lord. The concrete wall with razor wire on top or the concrete bunker deep underground or the strong, well-built home are all made by man. They all have flaws. But the weakest of these protections is the strongest. We look at the hedge and see that we could simply jump over it, but God made the hedge and Satan could not scale it or burn it or trample it down.
The hedge of protection requires Faith. The others remove that faith in God and place it on the object protecting us.
That is why a hedge of protection is so effective. God made it for our protection, and He gave us the gift of faith so that we trust that God’s protection is all we ever need.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.