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 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.