Hedges

April 27, 2013


Job 1:9-1:11

You have often heard I and others pray a hedge of protection or thorns about folks but you may not have known where we get the idea from even though you might like it. One lady told me she loved it when I prayed that because it gave her great comfort. Hedges can be a great comfort depending on what they are made of, why they are there, who put them there. Some can be bad news and not having one at all can mean disaster.

The first mention we have of hedges in Scripture is in Job.
Job 1:9-11

9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. KJV

Job was a righteous man and was doing quite well in life. Indeed, when God can call your name to the devil for an example of a man God approves you know he had to be quite a fellow. Of course, that ticked the devil off and he accused the Lord of buying him. He said God hedged him in from all the trials and tribulations of life so no wonder Job loved God. Tear down that hedge and see what happens, said the devil.

Note that God never agrees with the charge. He never said he treated Job differently they anyone else. Job may have been merely reaping the rewards of a righteous man versus ending up with the hard life and way of an unbeliever or backslider.

Prov 13:15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard. KJV

Nevertheless God allowed the devil to go after Job. If God did not have a hedge around Job before He did now. He placed a small one around him so that satan could not touch his life. That was a good hedge to have and it was impregnable since God placed it there.
Some hedges we put up ourselves and they are not so wonderful though they are as nearly as impregnable.

Prov 15:19 The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain. KJV

Have you ever heard someone complain about they can never seem to get ahead in life? They can never pay their bills; keep a job and a long list of other problems. Often when you get down to the root of it they are lazy. No matter what advice you give them they always find excuses for not doing it. You tell them about jobs and they don’t apply or wait until it is too late. They complain if they do not get hired or promoted so you tell them what they need to pursue either in education or experience and they never get it done. There is always a difficulty or as scripture puts it, “a lion in the way, a lion in the streets”. (Prov 26:13)

They toss and turn on their beds because they have anxiety over their condition or just because they don’t do enough to be tired. (Prov 26:14) You tell them where food can be procured and they want you to go get it or they don’t want t because it is too hard to prepare. You wonder how they find energy to even eat and if they want to be spoon fed. (Prove 26:15)

Their life is hedged in by thorns of their own making. They may have natural ability to succeed but not the diligence or determination to make it happen. They may even ask for God’s guidance but they don’t move. We all know it is much easier to steer a moving vehicle than one that is parked. They want God to tow them to the ideal job or keep feeding them like fledglings in the nest. Every bird has to grow and fly and like the eagle God will push them out of the nest at some point if we don’t continue to enable their laziness in the name of grace or familial love.

Isa 5:4-5
4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: KJV

God did hedge in His people Israel when they were obedient. However there were times when He tore the hedge down and allowed the heathen to punish them for their sin. Habakkuk questioned how God could use the wicked to chastise those that were more righteous. The Lord told David that when Solomon took over that if Israel sinned they would be chastened with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men. (2 Sam 7:14) The wicked belong to Him as well as the righteous and He has the right to tear down the hedges if He so desires. What is praiseworthy is that His actions are for redemptive purposes or else we would have no hope.

I believe that America’s hedges are being torn down due to our sin and turning from God and at this late stage in timeline of man there may not be any return or redemption for the country. Individually, all we can do is come before Him and to be sure that we are in a place in our relationship that He does not have to take down our hedge and allow satan to pillage and destroy to get us to return to Him. Worse yet, we want to be sure that He does not have to turn our body over to satan allowing him to take our life though our soul will be saved. (1 Cor 5; 1-5)
Sometimes God looks and expects to find some of us to be used as a protective hedge and He can’t find any. Abraham was hoping for enough souls to be present to be a hedge for Sodom and Gomorrah and had he gone down to one righteous person they would have been spared. He stopped and there were not that many there so God took out four but ended up with three.

Sadly, God often looks to those who are called his men or prophets to be the one who stands in the gap to protect the nation and in Ezekiel he did not find someone. He was going to use them to fill up the gap to make the hedge and they failed so Israel fell. All the prophets had left the Word of God and God and preached what people wanted to hear for their own gain, fame or whatever. They had the titles and position of prophet but they were opportunistic foxes taking spoils where they may in the desert they created by not using the water of God’s Word to irrigate it thus by that drought they set up the country for judgment.

Ezek 13:4-10
4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.
5 Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The LORD saith: and the LORD hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.
7 Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The LORD saith it; albeit I have not spoken?
8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD.
9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter: KJV

Ezek 22:29-31
29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD. KJV

When He found the prophets were unworthy in chapter four we see Him in chapter twenty-two saying He sought for a man. Sounds like when the leadership failed He looked for another Amos that He could call though he was not a prophet or a son of a prophet. He just wanted an obedient man and He found none. One righteous man was all that was needed to spare the country and none was found. In chapter fourteen, verse twenty we see God finally got to the point where His anger would no longer spare even if Daniel, Noah and Job were there. They would be spared but not the country. Woe unto us if we have no one God can use to make a hedge to fill in the gap for the country or ourselves. We are in an age where we definitely need to dare to be a Daniel or eschew evil like Job if we hope to have an ark to run to when the flood of God’s wrath comes down on the nation that forgets God.

Sometimes we do not see the benefit of God’s hedge because we are out in sin or rebellion and we are singing “don’t fence me”. It is good to grow up and leave home and find out what life is all about but sometimes we think that means tossing everything we learned or were told in the trash and seeking new things and thoughts. Our eyes catch the glitter of the world’s trinkets and we leave behind or trade out our real treasure for fool’s gold.

Hos 2:5-7
5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now. KJV

Hosea was told to marry an unfaithful woman or a harlot. She represented Israel whoring about with the pagans and their gods to gain their delicacies and treasures. They seemed better than what God had provided. Yet, the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof so all the stuff the pagans had came from the true God they just did not give Him the credit.

There came a time when God said He was going to hedge in her path so that she would come back to Him. He made her life difficult with that hedge of thorns so that there was no place she could go or turn was without trouble or pain. He made her allure fade so that those who have loved her no longer found her exciting or pleasurable. All the things they gave her were taken away or not replaced when she had consumed them. The grand life she was living became not as grand as the prodigal son found out centuries later. She, like him, had to come to her senses and say it was better with her husband and thus she returned.

I have referred this passage to many people over the years whose spouse has left them or their children have run away or gone off into sin. I don’t tell them to turn it into an evangelical rosary like some have made the Prayer of Jabez. I do tell them to use this pattern for their situation.

People run off into various sins because the devil has used someone or something to make the path they are taking desirable. To bring them back to reality their way has to become hard and they have to be broken or heartbroken so that the old 20/20 hindsight can kick in. Then they see the foolishness of their ways and if they are broken enough they will seek the Lord and the life they left.

Many people have gotten their life straight because people have prayed for this type of hedge to be placed around their loved ones. Some came back without knowing that a hedge request was being prayed. Some have been told that a parent or spouse was praying the hedge which came to mind when things started going wrong for them and they came back. Some were told that a hedge was being prayed but if they did not heed the hedge then the prayer was for God to save their soul and take them home.

Sound harsh? Remember 1 Cor 5? That is basically what Paul was saying. If they didn’t get right they would get right before the throne. Some people can only hear things when they are rough so telling someone that “I’m going to pray God hedges you in until you get right or He has to kill you” might work for some folks but I would be very sure that I had run that by God before I used that approach. We pray that it would never get to that but we must be aware that it could happen. John tells us about a sin unto death. (1 John 5:16) I believe that is the last resort for God. If you don’t listen here, He will definitely have your undivided attention there.

Isa 5:3-6
3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.
4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?
5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down:
6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. KJV

When you think about it, God has the right to expect fruit from His people. We are His vineyard. He has done so much for us than we can comprehend and as Brother John says, far more than we deserve. If He has to tear down the hedge and chastise us to get us to return do we have anyone to blame but ourselves? We are thrilled that once we are saved there is a hedge between us and Hell so why not be grateful and stay within the hedge of His protection by obedience rather than force His hand to deal with our rebellion? If our way is hard then praise His name as it may be that hedge spoken of in Hosea to keep us from evil and evil from us that we might finally see where our true treasure is and where real love abides.

Father, I ask that indeed you would hedge in your obedient children and keep them from evil and evil from them that they might enjoy all that You wish to give them in their relationship with You and that they might be forth much fruit as is only their reasonable service. For those who are straying or about to embark on the wrong path, please hedge them in as well so that they will have no joy or peace until they return to you. Let all that would lead them astray lose interest in them. Let them be deserted so that you can find them in the desert and speak comfortably to them as you did Gomer and return them to you in a betrothal of righteousness, faithfulness, judgment, lovingkindness and in mercies. Amen and amen!! Maranatha!

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