Summary: Was Satan telling the truth or lying when he accused God of surrounding Job with a protective hedge? If Job had one, do we? What is it? What kind of protection does it give, in view of illness. accidents, temptation, enemies, and loss that befall us?
HEDGES OF PROTECTION
Note: I have developed a set of slides on PowerPoint 10. If anyone is interested in having the pptx file I will send it to you by Email. Send your request to me at email@example.com with the subject Hedges of Protection Slides and I will send them directly, along with a file of sermon notes with cues for changing/animating slides in Microsoft Word.
I. Introduction - literal hedges in general need no explanation
In the scriptures, a hedge is almost always used figuratively, as a protective barrier from any nefarious or hostile invasion
We provide figurative hedges for our children
We protect our children when any danger threatens
II. The Hedge in Scripture
Job 1:6-12 - read
This scripture gives rise to a host of questions, and those questions in turn spawn more questions.
I will ask dozens of questions in the next few minutes and perhaps find answers to some of them. Firstly…
A. Is Satan’s claim that God placed a hedge around Job true?
How much credibility should we place in a doctrine whose source is Satan?
Can we place any confidence in the hedge just because the words are in the bible?
Of course not. Isolated snippets of scripture yanked out of their context may say the opposite of what is true. For example…
1. In John 9 Jesus gave sight to a man who had been blind from birth.
The Pharisees hated that, and interrogated the man, trying to feed him words to parrot back, saying that Jesus was a sinner. The man answered:
Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.
When they pressed him, he answered:
We know that God does not hear sinners.
But he went on to say
If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.
This man was a blind beggar who had experienced Christ’s healing, but he was not a theologian.
He didn’t know Jesus, but he thought he knew that God doesn’t hear sinners.
But if that is true, God hears no prayers.
2. Another example from Acts 24:
Your great learning is driving you mad
Festus spoke this to Paul in Caesarea.
Taken as an out-of-context snippet, it would seem to say that Paul was a madman.
Or that great learning produces insanity.
But Festus was no more a conveyer of divine truth than the blind beggar who only know that Jesus had given him sight.
But is Satan’s claim that there was a hedge surrounding Job like the examples? Let’s examine the question.
Satan’s implication was simple. That Job maintained his uprightness solely because God protected his wealth and prosperity.
The fact Satan is a liar doesn’t mean everything he says is untrue.
While Satan is a liar, for Satan to say Job was protected by a hedge doesn’t make it a lie.
B. In Job 1, it seems likely to me that Satan, for all his wickedness and lies, knows better than to lie to God.
I believe we will find that a hedge of protection did surround Job, which brings into focus the sibling question:
III. Do we have hedges of protection?
If we do, what are they like?
What is a hedge of protection?
A supernatural “force field?”
Panoply of God?
The Word of God?
The blood of Jesus?
Right living? (Job feared God and turned away from evil)
Some of these are wonderful bible doctrines that unquestionably have a positive effect on our lives, but I do not believe they are the protective hedge Satan spoke of. The for example, the armor of God Paul wrote about in Eph 6 is protective equipment that enables us to stand against the devil’s schemes.
But what Satan describes seems to be something God surrounded Job with that Job didn’t know about.
A. If we do have hedges, some terrible things seem to get through the hedge
Illness. accidents, disappointment, temptation, loss, enemies, natural disasters, persecution, false accusations, unmet needs, self, pride, illness…
Look at our prayer list. Everything on there is because something has penetrated the hedge, or we fear it might and are praying God will prevent it, protect our travelers, watch over medical teams, etc.
These things seem important. They make us unhappy.
Doesn’t God want us to be happy?
If he does, shouldn’t God provide a hedge of protection for the purpose of assuring our happiness?
B. Instead, we are counseled by James to “count it as joy” when various trials befall us.
Why? Shouldn’t we count it as joy when these things don’t befall us?
There is purpose in trial.
Begging the question, is it wrong for us to hope bad things don’t come our way?