When It Comes to Prayer – and Faith – Don’t Hedge Your Bets

How about a cement wall with razor wire?

“I’m going to pray a hedge around you.”

I can’t remember who said it the first time I heard that, but I do remember thinking it was about the goofiest thing I’d ever heard. Apparently so did Tim Hawkins:

It turns out the hedge of protection is biblical:

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?” (Job 1:8-10, emphasis added.)

Tim Hawkins was more right than he knew. Satan can’t get through the hedge.

The hedge goes both ways

Job saw the hedge from a different angle, though.

Why is life given to a man
    whose way is hidden,
    whom God has hedged in?
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 3:23, 25-26, emphasis added.)

Job knew God had blessed him, but didn’t know that God preserved those blessings by what Satan described as a hedge keeping him out. Job saw God’s protective covering as a barrier, not to those trying to get in but for those within trying to see beyond the hedge.

Job felt trapped. He feared what he could not see and was disquieted by what he did not understand. He had suffered disaster, and life as he knew it was over. For most of the following chapters Job wonders if he ever understood God in the first place.

Trust greater than understanding

In the middle of his complaints about how he had been treated, though, Job turns from demanding answers to instead putting his trust in God despite not understanding:

I know that my redeemer lives,
    and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
    with my own eyes – I, and not another.
    How my heart yearns within me!
(Job 19:25-27.)

Job asked for vindication, but even more he yearned for his Redeemer’s presence. He put his hope in God even when he questioned whether he understood who God is. This is faith.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:1-2.)

Job’s is an ancient faith, a commendable faith, one shared by believers from the earliest days. Job’s ability to persevere in his faith – to trust even when he couldn’t see beyond the hedge – is itself considered a blessing from God:

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11.)

Fearing what is over the hedge and beyond your sight is common. Faith in the One who sees everything is not so common but – as with all gifts of God – it is commendable.

Trust in the One who has given you that faith, whether you understand or not.


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18 Responses to When It Comes to Prayer – and Faith – Don’t Hedge Your Bets

  1. Laura Droege says:

    Beautiful post, TIm.

  2. Laura Droege says:

    Reblogged this on Laura Droege's blog and commented:
    This post was encouraging to me, and I hope it will be for you, too.

  3. Juli says:

    This is great timing Tim, thank you for posting!

  4. Did you see the Babylon Bee’s take on “hedge of protection,” Tim? http://babylonbee.com/news/landscaper-accidentally-trims-churchs-hedge-of-protection/

    That’s really interesting about Job’s interpretation of the hedge. The Message puts it this way: “What’s the point of life when it doesn’t make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?” Yet as you say, He kept trusting God, keeping God in the picture, not just abandoning his faith in the midst of what seemed meaningless.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks for the BabBee link, Jeannie. The Message gets at Job’s drift: Job wants to know why and he thinks God is keeping him in the dark for no apparent reason.

  5. Pastor Bob says:

    More tahn one speaker has used this idea as an example – form Hosea 2:6, to isolate Gomer from improper influences.

    • Tim says:

      Interesting imagery in Hosea 2:6: “Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.”

  6. This reminded me of a poem by Annie Johnson Flint called “The Wall and the Hedge”. http://www.homemakerscorner.com/ajf-wall.htm

    Sometimes it can feel like we are trapped in a place where we are in reality being protected or given time to grow. It is a good reminder (which I needed) to put our trust in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

  7. SLRK says:

    So encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Thanks for reinforcing the faith.

  9. Pingback: A man who hedges his bets… | Mountain Climber's Lament

  10. Jenni says:

    Job 13:14 Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?
    (and my personal favourite v15) 15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
    16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.

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