Summary: How God utilizes a variety of ways to teach us—and adversity is one of His most effective teachers.
School has started back and most folks are settling in to the school year routine. I have the utmost respect for schoolteachers. It’s tough being a schoolteacher, especially an elementary school teacher. Recently someone sent me a humorous list of seven ways to know if you’re an elementary school teacher.
You might be an elementary schoolteacher if:
1. You think caffeine should be available in intravenous form.
2. You can tell if it’s a full moon without ever looking outside.
3. You believe the teachers’ staff room should be equipped with a Valium salt lick.
4. You laugh hysterically when someone calls the teachers’ staff room a “lounge.”
5. You want to strangle the next person who says, “Must be nice to work 8 to 3:00 and have summers free.”
6. You believe “Shallow gene pool” should have its own box in the report card.
7. You would approve the aerial spraying of Prozac. All joking aside, you’re probably a schoolteacher if you love children and love a challenge! We should pray for all of our schoolteachers and administrators. If you can read your Bible, hug a teacher!
This is the second message in the series from Job entitled “Turning Tears into Telescopes.” In this book we are going to discover that God utilizes a variety of ways to teach us—and adversity is one of His most effective teachers. The story of Job begins with a description of a man who is happy and wealthy. He owns great riches and has ten children. But all of that was about to change because of a conversation that took place in heaven between God and Satan.
Job 1:6-12. “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.’ 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? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’ Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.”
In this message I want to focus on the statement Satan made in verse 10. Satan observed God had built a hedge of protection around Job. Based upon that observation, I want to talk about being “Surrounded by God’s Hedge of Protection.”
1. GOD PROVIDES A HEDGE OF PROTECTION FOR THOSE WHO HONOR HIM
Did you notice God’s evaluation of Job? He said, “Have you considered my SERVANT Job?” (Job 1:8) It would be nice to think God builds a hedge of protection around everyone, but the truth is, He is looking for people who have surrendered their lives to Him to become His servant. Do you want to have a divine hedge in your life? Then your goal should be to become a servant of God.
When you hear the word “hedge,” what you think of? Most people think of a hedge made of plants. You may have a set of hedge clippers somewhere in your garage that you use to trim plants. But the word “hedge” in the Bible describes something more substantial than a bush. The Hebrew word really means “wall.” A hedge was a defensive wall often built around a city. The bottom part might be comprised of stones or hard packed dirt, and there might be thorny plants on the top of it.
The general idea of a hedge is that of a protective fence–a barrier. In his conversation with God, Satan pointed out that God had built a spiritual hedge around Job, around his family (household) and around all his possessions. Job couldn’t see the hedge, but Satan could. As I mentioned in the last message, there are many things that exist in the spiritual world that are invisible to our eyes, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real–they are. It is a wonderful insight to realize God can provide a spiritual barrier around His servants to protect them from spiritual attacks. Let’s notice a couple of things about this divine hedge of protection:
(1) We need God’s hedge individually
God’s hedge of protection around His servants is part of God’s promise. This hedge can only be removed by God’s permission. The great Bible teacher, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, was born in Hillsboro, Texas and pastored in Los Angeles for many years. He had a radio broadcast called “Through the Bible.” Dr. McGee wrote in his commentary on Job: “I believe there is a hedge around every believer today, and I do not think that Satan can touch you unless God permits it. And IF God permits it, it will be for His purpose.”