Friday, April 17, 2009

A Hedge of Protection

There are times in our lives when life is not as we had dreamed of or hoped for. Pain, fears, rejection, disappointments and uncertainty whirl around us like the blowing winds of Spring. We desire and cry out for safety and certainty, and they seem far out of reach. We yearn for a hedge of protection.

I have been thinking about Job today. Talk about drama and loss! In very brief summary of the first two chapters of Job, we hear of a man named Job who God describes as being blameless and upright, a man of prayer who shunned evil. The despicable Satan visits the throne of God and a conversation takes place.

Although the text does not explain why Satan has come, God cuts right to business and asks Satan if he has considered His servant Job. Satan sarcastically implies that the only reason that Job fears God is because of all that God has given him, and at this point, he had been blessed in abundance.

Job's hedge of protection, or so Satan thought, was at the root of Job's peace with God. God knew otherwise. God allowed Satan to strip it all away, except Job's body. It was to remain untouched.

Satan destroyed almost everything - sons, daughters, livestock, servants, households and houses - but when Job heard the news, he fell to the ground and worshipped God. Satan's plan was foiled. In fact Job's first response was to worship God. Double blow to Satan.

So, Satan tried again. God remains confident in Job. Satan wants Job's own physical self this time. Surely, he must of thought, the pain in a man's own body will destroy His spirit.

Satan inflicts Job with painful sores. Job mourns. His wife does not stand by him and his friends are not really friends at all. Job is left alone, trusting God.

As I reflect on this hedge of protection, I wonder how many years Job had asked God for this? The story of Job challenges me to think of the "hedges" that I ask God for and the "hedges" that I depend on. Job had prosperity, but I believe that this was not Job's hedge of protection. Job's hedge was something entirely more precious and wonderful.

What strikes me is that Satan tried to take away the hedge he thought was Job's, when all along Job's hedge was God, and Satan can't touch God.

Dear reader, we can learn and be encouraged and strengthened by this. Perhaps you are struggling with a great number of losses right now. Maybe very little seems like gain. I know that feeling, too. It is very hard. Whether our suffering is part of a greater battle between good and evil, I can't even pretend to know, but I do know that when we make our hedge God, we are safe. When we pray for a "hedge of protection" we can be confident that God, Himself, will be our Protector.

In the end of Job, God blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. I do not know what God has in store for any of us, but I do know that if we walk with Him, trusting Him for all things, that He will be all that we need and He will provide for us in abundance.

I am thankful that God is my Hedge, and tonite, I rest confidently in the safety of that.

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