Summary: How God utilizes a variety of ways to teach us—and adversity is one of His most effective teachers.
There are many examples in the Bible of God’s promise to protect His servants. For instance the Bible says, “His faithfulness will be your shield and your rampart...If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;” (Psalm 91:4,10-11)
God’s hedge is not a hedge of stones or a hedge of plants; it’s a hedge of angels. In my book on angels I recount the story of missionaries John Pollock and his wife who went to the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific. When they arrived, they were the first Europeans the natives had ever seen. The tribal magician feared these white intruders, so he convinced the members of his tribe these strangers had come to kill the children of the tribe.
On that first evening, the natives surrounded the hut John and his wife were in, planning to attack and kill them. Expecting to be attacked at any moment, the Pollocks stayed on their knees praying for safety all through the night. The night passed and the native warriors never attacked. Gradually, the Pollocks learned the local language and won the trust of the people. Many of them came to know Christ. After the chief of the tribe became a Christian, John said to him, “We have always been curious about the first night we were here. Your tribe surrounded us with your spears, but you didn’t attack. Why not?” The chief replied, “Because of all your guards. Where did you get all those men?” John said, “It was only my wife and me.” The chief responded, “Oh, no. All that evening we saw large men with swords in their hands surrounding your hut. We were afraid so we never attacked.” It’s great to know God can dispatch angels to provide a protective hedge around his servants.
Before I leave this point about a personal hedge of protection, I want you to notice something very important: You can pray for a hedge of protection around those you love. Parents and grandparents you should pray for a hedge of protection around your children and grandchildren. Husbands and wives, you can pray for God to put a hedge around your mate so they will stay faithful to you. This can be illustrated from the story of Hosea and Gomer in the Old Testament. Hosea’s wife, Gomer, was an adulteress. When she wandered away from her husband God put up a hedge to keep her from being unfaithful. The entire story is an allegory of how Israel tried to be unfaithful to God. God said, “Therefore I will hedge her way with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them...then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for I was better off than now.’” (Hosea 2:6-7) If your mate is working or traveling in an area where there is sexual temptation, you should pray for God to hedge them in!
Job was the kind of father who prayed for a hedge of protection around his children. Job 1:5 says, Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. (Job 1:5) Job realized God had called him to be the spiritual leader of his family. There is an important question I want to ask every man: Are you being a good spiritual leader for your family? Is it your regular custom, sir, to worship and pray and intercede on behalf of your family? If you want to learn what it means to be a spiritual leader I challenge you to join me starting this Friday morning at 6 a.m. in the Galilee Room as we start Men’s Fraternity. I’m going to start a study for 10 weeks this fall called “The Quest for Authentic Manhood.” If you need something new in your spiritual life, this can be what you’re looking for. It’s for men of all ages, both single and married. You can sign up at the table in the foyer, or just show up at 6 a.m. this Friday. I dare you. I double-dog dare you guys to apply yourself to become a real spiritual leader!