“Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?” Job 1:10
Say “Hello” to one of the real annoyances of Arizona: centruroides sculpturatus (AKA: “Mr. Nasty Scorpion”). I know he/she is a creation of God and has an ontological purpose on this earth, but in our household we don’t really like them! In fact, after having been invaded by more than 8 scorpions since moving to Phoenix three months ago, we have decide to wage chemical warfare on the whole species! We’ve found the stuff that really works and my chemical officer (i.e. wife) has laid down a “protective barrier” around our whole house that stops the little buggers in their tracks! The Point: we find relief in the “hedge of protection” around our home!
What a great lead in for a preacher! For does not the Bible tell us of a similar “hedge of protection” that God, in His grace, puts around his children so that the enemy cannot prevail against them? In Job, for example, Satan points out to God that He (God) has “put a hedge around him (Job) and his household” (1:10). In other words, Satan is complaining that the divine protective hedge of the Lord has prevented him from assailing Job! The Point: God’s protective hedge is our protection and security against the Evil One!
We see something similar in Isaiah 5, where we read that the Lord has built a vineyard and provided it with divine protection and a multitude of blessings (i.e. a hedge of protection). But we read a twist: “He looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit” (vs. 2). What will the Lord do in such a circumstance? He says: “I will take away it’s hedge and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated and briers and thorns will grow there” (vs. 5-6). The Point: When God removes the protective hedge, disaster comes!
What is the “protective hedge” that protects us and which we pray is not removed? Some suggest the “hedge” is comprised of God’s angels who protect and watch over us. Others suggest the hedge is God’s Law (i.e. the 10 Commandments) which serves in a prophylactic sense (i.e. as a preventive) against the consequences of sin and immorality in this world. Others maintain the hedge is simply God’s grace and mercy. Maybe it’s all three. But the terrifying prospect Isaiah warns us of is when God takes away the hedge altogether! Indeed, the warning is clear: God lavishes His grace and blessings upon a people (America?) for a purpose: He looked for good grapes but finds only bad fruit (vs. 2). In righteousness, He finally simply removes the “protective hedge” altogether and allows the vineyard to become a wasteland!
What’s He doing to us as a nation? Why?
Pastor Wayne D. Kirk
Northminster Presbyterian Church
13001 N. 35th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85029