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?


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 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?

Wholesome associates?

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.

James 1:2

Why? Shouldn’t we count it as joy when these things don’t befall us?

James 1:3-4

There is purpose in trial.

Begging the question, is it wrong for us to hope bad things don’t come our way?

Didn’t Jesus teach his disciples to pray:

Lead us not into temptation (temptations being trials) but deliver us from evil.

Then how are we to count it as joy when that very request Jesus tells us to make is denied?

Did these have hedges of protection?

1. Apostles

Did the apostles have hedges?

The 12 were sent out in Matt 10 prepared to be persecuted :

Matthew 10:16-22 -read

In Luke’s account of Jesus’ explanation of the destruction of the temple, he told them this:

Luke 21:16-19 - read

The apostles were to suffer.

If the apostles had hedges, why did such horrific things happen to them? Let’s continue.

2. The faith heroes of Hebrews 11:

Hebrews 11:35-38 Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated--of whom the world was not worthy--wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

3. Martyrs have suffered and died in horrible ways all through the ages.

Stephen, the first of countless Christians who have died because they honor Christ as Lord, and will not recant.

In all likelihood one Christian martyr was Paul, who was present at Stephen’s stoning, clearly an influential figure in the earliest persecution of the church, if not the most influential persecutor.

In Rome, Ephesus, and other places Christians were put in arenas and hungry lions set on them for people’s entertainment.

John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs documents how Christians suffered and died for no other reason than their unshakable faith in Christ.

Persecution today animation

4. Persecution in the world today

According to Pew Research Center, 75% of the world’s population, many of them Christians, live in areas with severe religious restrictions.

According to the US Dep’t of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their government or surrounding neighbors simply because they believe in Jesus Christ.

Mat 5:11- Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Christians are some of the favorite targets of terrorists.

Someone may say, “…They people suffering persecution and martyrdom in those countries are not really Christians (or they’re not doing Christianity right?)”

If people dying for Christ are not real Christians, and we are, on what do we rest our claim?

What is there about our faith that exceeds those who are dying because they claim him as their Lord?

I’d be ashamed and fearful to meet the Lord in judgment with my only claim being I was correct on all doctrinal positions, expecting my claim to exceed that of someone who gave their life for claiming Christ.

To suggest that Christians are suffering persecution now because they’re not true Christians; that is, not enough like Job, is to say that neither were the apostles enough like Job, or the heroes of Hebrews 11, or the martyrs of centuries past.

That none of these had hedges because they weren’t enough like Job - “blameless and upright, who feared God and turned away from evil.”

What’s wrong with these people’s hedges?

Are they barren and broken down, affording no protection?

Are their hedges the same as having no hedge at all?

Has God killed their hedges, or has Satan poisoned them?

5. Me

Not outright persecution, but does God pour pain upon pain into our lives, telling us to count it all as joy?

Are we really protected by hedges, or is God’s plan to not protect Christians, exposing us instead to the ravages of ill fortune so that by enduring them we will glorify him?

How do we place those assurances alongside the hard things we know happen?

What do we believe - what are we supposed to believe about God’s protection, since at times it seems to be absent, or threadbare and ineffective as a protective barrier?

Is all this really what God wants?

Where is the hedge protecting these people?

Why doesn’t my hedge protect me? Why do I sometimes feel unprotected, exposed to the harsh forces of hard trials and bitter losses?

- God’s will? A convenient explanation, but it assumes that which we do not know.

By declaring every negative in our lives to be God’s will, we may be blaming God for Satan’s actions.

B. Are we expected to build our own hedge?

If we are to have a hedge of protection, are we to build it ourselves, or does God just put it around us?

C. Or is our hedge to be supplied by God?

If the protective hedge is God’s work, not ours, we have no business trying to do what only God can.

Sarah tried to do the Lord’s work, and look at the disastrous results.

Some argue that the hedge of protection is something we build ourselves out of various virtuous actions and qualities Christians are to practice and possess, all of which on their own validity have some aspect of protectiveness for the Christian.

But it seems to me that if we assume Satan was telling the truth, and there was a protective hedge surrounding Job, it was so placed by God himself, not something Job meticulously created and maintained. In fact, the scripture doesn’t make it evident that Job even knew it was there.

Despite various extra-biblical explanations and self-serving excesses offered to explain that we must build our own hedge, there remains a ring of truth in Satan’s claim that a hedge was protecting Job.

I am convinced that a hedge of protection was/is there, protecting the apostles, heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, martyrs throughout history, and Christians suffering and dying under persecution today, protecting them all in some way we need to perceive and understand.

God does sovereignly protect his people

It is right to recognize that God sovereignly protects His people.

Psa 91:1-12 God’s protection - read

It is not wrong to desire God’s protection in this life. The Lord himself instructed us to pray for deliverance from evil (Matthew 6:13).

A. The Eternal View

While the Lord blesses his people and, many times, shields them from harm this side of heaven, the ultimate fulfillment of his guarantee of protection comes in eternity.

We may experience temporal suffering, but should not fear that it will steal our eternal reward.

So we train our hearts to rest safely in the assurance of God’s secure, eternal grip.

Job’s suffering was not without purpose. God removed his hedge around Job in order to put his faith to the test.

We honor prayer requests every time we assemble.

But earthly danger and tribulation should not be considered proof of failure of God’s protection, as if suffering was always outside God’s providential plan.

Instead we ought to pray for God’s grace to sustain us through suffering, remembering that he uses trials to draw us closer to Him:

Job 23:10 When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.


There is a hedge. It protects you from:

A. Unbearable temptation.

1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

That’s a hedge, and every Christian has it.

It might not be the hedge of protection we wish we had, but it’s a definitely hedge.

No temptation will ever come upon you except what you’re able to withstand.

Every temptation, calamity, disappointment, loss, hardship…that reaches you had already passed through God’s hand before reaching you. God knows about it and knows you can withstand it.

So it was with Job.

So when hard trials come upon you, God didn’t send it, but he made sure it wasn’t too much for you.

Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ now!

Romans 8:35-37 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

These are the things that might try to get through our hedges.

You can easily visualize the love of Christ as a protective hedge surrounding you that nothing—absolutely nothing—can penetrate.

Many attempts will be made in the form of trials and tests.

But not one has the power to separate you from Christ’s love.

C. Protection from eternal death - the permanent and deserved effects of your own sin

The apostles, heroes of Heb 11, etc. were so protected

1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

As they were protected by the power of God, so are we!

This, as I see, it is the hedge of protection God surrounds us with.

Is it enough?

It is true that many of us could tell about experiences we have had where we experienced God’s protection, through the Holy Spirit or the ministry of angels, where his protection was immediately obvious, and we had not the slightest doubt that we were sheltered in his loving arms from some threatening calamity.

It is also true that some people seem to be given an easier road than others. Some hedges seem dense and high, while others are porous and barely there.

I can’t explain that and you can’t either.

Maybe it varies according to the strength of the one tested.

But trials and temptations are different but the common denominator is their purpose - to turn us from God, just as Satan wanted Job to do.

Is there a better, truer answer to these questions?

Job’s experience teaches us that God doesn’t always answer our questions.

Nothing compelled God to answer Job’s desire to call God to account.

But where God has spoken, we do well to probe for the meaning of what it reveals.

V. What are we to do with this knowledge?

A. Rest in the calm assurance that God has never failed in a single word of a single promise.

B. Don’t indulge in guessing why we’re suffering some trial, demanding that God explain himself. That’s exactly what God rebuked Job for doing.

C. Under no circumstances blame God for your misfortunes.

No one love you as God loves you.

The trials, though hard to bear, and make us unhappy, are opportunities to glorify him and refute Satan’s accusations.

That’s what trials are about.

D. Be prepared for real persecution.

Far-fetched as it may have seemed 20 years ago, or even a year ago, it is not unrealistic that even at my age I may see or experience bitter persecution.

We must be prepared to face it, and stand for Christ!

If it comes, when it comes, you have a hedge of protection.

Real persecution cannot separate you from the love of Christ.

If persecution should come to us, its presence does not mean the absence of your hedge of protection.

E. Have you considered my servant Sam, or (your name)?

We know without a doubt THAT goes on.

But we know Satan’s accusations end at the cross, where their guilt is borne.

In the bearing of that guilt, Satan’s entire plan collapses in ruins.