The story of the Patriarch Job, above, of the Bible, gives us a few hints about what the phenomenon of…”hedges”… are about…
A lot of folks depict Job as a very old man, but he wasn’t. He was probably in the prime of his life, relatively speaking. After his trials, he lived another 140 years, long enough to sire another ten children.
The Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament, states that Job died when he was 240 years old. This indicates then that Job was about a 100 years old, or about 40% of his lifetime lived, when he underwent his tribulations. This 240-year longevity was pretty much a consistent full-age lifetime then, as Abraham’s great- grandfather Serug, lived to be 230 years of age. Most chroniclers put Job living around 2200 B.C.E., or around or just before Abraham. Configuring this chronological age today, would put Job in about 35-40 years of age, as we can relate to it, when we pick up his story in the Bible.
Job was called a Patriarch as he was the head of his family and accountable before God in their regard, who offered up ritual sacrifices for them, and of course, himself, to God. Obviously, since Job was about 400 years before the time of Moses when he became a Law-Giver, Job did not know anything about Levitical law, or the Law of Moses, but Job was aware of the Noahide Laws implemented by Noah to his sons (Talmudic tradition states that Noah instituted this of a sort). This was the basis then, in addition to the Patriarchal Laws, that constituted what was righteousness before God. These type of laws or adherence to the Lord God, went all the way back to Adam and Seth, and given a platform for wider dissemination by Enos, the first to preach and prophesy by preaching to men.
I just wrote about Enos or Enosh, and his influence and Message in my last month’s blog.
Enos, the FIRST Preacher of Righteousness…
Hence, the only improvements in preaching from Enos, had been from Noah himself. Yet, Noah pretty much preached along the same lines of the spirit of Prophecy that Enos did.
Noah, a Preacher of Righteousness Warning the Antediluvians of Coming Destructions…In Reality, those listening, Mocked and Derided Noah. Real Preaching still Encounters such Unbelief and Derision. If your Preacher, or one who claims to be one, does not elicit the Same Response as Noah,…then he is not a Real Preacher…
Indeed, Noah didn’t change too much from what Enos had said at all, since the very same conditions that were in the time of Enos, ongoing in Noah’s era, had deteriorated greatly.
Noah pretty much just “updated” the Message of Enos, as shown by this graph below.
|ENOS||TO CALL OUT A PEOPLE FOR THE “NAME OF THE LORD.”||TO ADMONISH THE PEOPLE OF SETH NOT TO INTEGRATE WITH THE SEED OF CAIN.|| THE PEOPLE BECAME CORRUPTED and SET FOR CORRECTION.
|NOAH||TO CALL OUT A REMNANT.|| FOREWARNED OF A “FLOOD” THAT WOULD DESTROY THE WORLD AS IT WAS ENTIRELY CORRUPTED BY THE UNION OF SETH WITH THE SEED OF CAIN.
||THE WORLD WAS OVERCOME WITH WATER.|
From this,we can surmise that after the Flood, that Noah consolidated his Message with factual testimony of God’s faithfulness in His Word to Noah, or fulfilled Prophecy, along with the Noahide Laws. Also included in the evolving message were the prophecies that Noah made, some in regard to his progeny. This body, or record of belief was pretty much what Job believed in his day, along with the other Patriarchs which the Bible lists and describes their faith covenants with God, most notably, Abraham and his descendants.
It appears that while Job was a pretty upright and moral person, his faith was just not exactly where it should have been.
In the narrative of the Book of Job, the Enemy, or Adversary, pointed this out to God. “Satan” advocated that if Job were to be tried, and undergo tribulations and sufferings, then Job would not be such a God-fearer at all.
Indeed, Satan said that Job would curse God, once all of God’s Blessings were taken away.
The Lord God thought that this was all too interesting.
Genuine faith, by its intrinsic nature, is to be tried, tested, and undergo hardships and sufferings, as to strengthen this very faith.
God then, was obligated to allow this testing to occur. Particularly, since that Job did trust in his own moral uprightness and integrity a bit MORE…rather than that of believing that God could impute and grant such a dispensation.
What follows in this account at this point, is a series of highly calamitous events to singularly befall Job.
What is interesting to note, that precipitates such terrible disasters, is that Satan asked God to remove His…
…hedge… around Job…
What then is exactly a… hedge…?
A standard English dictionary defines a “hedge” as a “fence or boundary.”
A Biblical definition of what a “hedge” is, is given by Smith’s Bible Dictionary.
Dr. Smith defines a “hedge” as a: “simply that which surrounds or encloses.” It also implies that along with the protection that a wall or hedge gives, such a surrounding structure is frequently “crowned with sharp thorns.”
Perhaps, the most definitive description of what a hedge is, Biblically, is found in the authoritative Interpreter’s Bible Dictionary.
The exegetes of this publication describe a “hedge” as being a “fence of any kind,” or a stone wall or fence. Hedges were constructed to protect vineyards from predators in accounts in the Bible. In fact, as Jesus pointed out in Luke 14:23, that the greater countryside all around them, could be regarded as “consisting either highways or hedges.”
The Interpreters also cites that: “Figuratively, the verb ‘hedge’ is used to express both God’s protection, and His constraint,” or constraining power over, “a person.”
Again, the implication of sharp thorns is given by a quotation from the Prophet Micah, that even “the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge” (Micah 7:4).
A Biblical “hedge” signifies the above. A stone wall, or structure, that protects and encloses. In this example, a shepherd adds to the protection by sleeping at the door of the hedge. Jesus referred to this, when describing himself as the “good Shepherd,” who is placed at the “door,” where the sheep are protected. It is also implied by the Bible, that when David was a shepherd, he also protected his sheep by putting himself at the door, or entrance of a similar hedge or structure, as David told Saul that he defended his flock from the “paw of the bear,” and the “mouth of the lion.”
A hedge then, is a protective barrier, suggesting an angelic agency, that God grants to a person or individual who pleases Him, so that the individual is protected from unforeseen events of a dire nature. This signifies divine protection and guidance from these “watchers,” another name for Angelic protectors, particularly in Jewish commentary.
The Bible implies this as well, in reference to other texts and stories in the Bible. We read, for instance, in the Gospel of Luke, that some asked Jesus what he thought of the unfortunate but seditious Galileans, who Pilate, being the Roman Governor, executed (Luke 13:1).
Jesus succinctly replied that unfortunate consequences could happen to anyone… unless they repented and had a covenant relationship with God. Jesus then extrapolated more, and cited a devastating accident in which the Tower of Siloam collapsed and killed eighteen people. Jesus then repeated the same mantra…”except you repent…”
Obviously then, these Galileans and the Eighteen, had little protection from any type of hedge, and there was no angelic agency that protected them, as Satan had pointed out, that Christ enjoyed, in the Temptations of Christ on the Mount, that the “angels (have) charge over you, to keep you, lest at any time you should dash your foot against a stone” (Luke 4:10-11).
A person once told me of a terrible accident, in which a loving father and pillar in the community, was swimming in a river, a popular swimming area, with his two sons. The younger one was caught away by the current of the river, which the father and older son were able to rescue. But in so rescuing the child, the current then swept the more experienced swimmers, the father and older son, into the rapids, where they both drowned.
They found the victims downstream, where they were found deceased, holding each other’s hand.
This person wanted to know my assessment of such a tragedy. Indeed, it is a heartfelt loss. But I replied in the same manner of Jesus, as in the account of Luke. I also added that despite the man and his family being held in civic regard, that did not guarantee an Angel being on duty, to keep them from such ruin.
So you see, that this hedge business is very relevant to our well-being in this life.
It was the story of Job, where we first learn about a hedge.
A hedge also signifies a constraint or rather, a restraint, on such an individual who pleases God, in which that individual cannot go past certain limits of misbehaviour. We see this type of behavioural control in the Bible, set by God, as a set of parameters, not to be exceeded. For example, Joseph is falsely accused of an attempted rape of Potiphar’s wife. However, Joseph calls this behaviour a “great wickedness” that he implies that he is not capable of, as it is a “sin against God.”
This suggests a definitive parameter and pattern of behaviour in regard to Joseph. Joseph is just too chaste to be considered to be such a person. Probably this is why that Potiphar, despite having to “save face” in regard to his wife and household, did not have Joseph executed, but placed into prison, until such a time in which the conditions surrounding Joseph could be ameliorated.
Of course, in Joseph’s case, God had planned meticulously the path of the life of Joseph, in which Yahweh used all such circumstances for a much greater purpose in which prophecy was fulfilled, and the nation of Israel could be saved from famine, and be preserved for the future, besides being a record of God’s great faithfulness.
The Bible speaks of such a hedge being taken away from Job.
When Job did not have his hedge anymore, he was subject to calamity.
Is this what happens when an individual goes past his behavioural parameters? Is this what happens to one’s hedge when such a restraint upon an individual is rejected? What occurs when the limits or restraints of good or moral behaviour are continually violated?
Do you know anyone like this? Have you met folks who have “torn down” or contributed to their “hedge” being “broken?”
Most people don’t have any knowledge or a clue of what I am writing about. This type of knowledge and experience comes as a result of a covenant relationship with God, and knowing God’s ways and His unalterable spiritual laws.
As for me, I have met more than a few of these people…
These people usually get into trouble when they persist in behaviours that they know themselves are potentially “dangerous.” They kind of feel that God is looking elsewhere, and that they can indulge “the flesh,” or beyond the “norm” of simple carnal desires.
They can, at opportune times, catch themselves from “falling,” in which their protective boundary is violated in which the Enemy wishes to come in “like a flood.” Before this cataclysm of the enemy can occur however, these folks retrieve themselves from such an upheaval. They react with a “whew,” and remark that that “was close.” Apparently, they knew full well the great stakes involved.
The problem is though, is that they cannot avoid temptation. After awhile, they start engaging in compromising behaviour once again. You would think that they would have learned a lesson. You would think that they completely “turned away” from this danger.
When “your” repentance is not quite enough, and you didn’t seek God’s ability for you to repent thoroughly and completely,… then your hedge is subject once more to being broken down. You will find such people with a “harder heart” than what they had before, when engaging in errant conduct. Despite fearing the earlier consequences of hedge-breaking, they become more inured to the destruction to befall them.
What follows is something along the same lines of what happened to Job…
A few folks, like Job, go into what is implied in the Bible as a “prison-house.” Jesus referred to this type of prison as a place where you “would pay the uttermost farthing,” or unit of money. This phrase today would be described as “paying the last penny.”
One thing for sure is, though, like Job, you won’t come out of this trouble, affliction, or “prison-house,” until you have satisfied some level of “justice.”
So the pattern of losing or breaking your hedge down is: A great loss or losses occur, and your spiritual eyes are put out like Samson’s when Samson went into his prison-house. There you are, in a place as dark as Egypt, and you feel incredibly forsaken. God does not hear you nor your complaints, just like Job. The heavens are as hardened brass and no rain or sustenance falls from any result of your prayers. You even pray like Samson, to perish with your enemies, mockers, and detractors, who visited Job, as well.
Finally, you are delivered, in most cases, miraculously from your prison, bondage, or captivity. You will never go back again. You will never wish to. But you paid…the last penny…
Most folks though, become wholly deceived, and no longer recognize their former parameters, or their former selves, or what could have occurred to have such misfortune overcome them.
Many of them become completely destroyed. They have changed. They are no longer the person that you had known them to be. It is like some form of “body-snatching,” or personality disintegration of who they had been. They are a shell of a person. The one thing is left, is the continued pursuit of their lusts and desires that have made them spiritually destitute in the first place.
It is a fearful event…to have your hedge taken away. It is a even more fearful thing, to destroy it yourself.
This life is a precious commodity. It belongs to God. If you take as your own, and do not offer it back to God, Who gave you this gift, then you will lose it for a certainty.
What I have written are “hard” things. They are realities. Hedges, a part of spiritual law, are just as real as real can be. If you finally dally around, and violate your parameters, you will fall. This fall will be great. This… you can depend on.
Like Samson, you will lose all your strength, persona, and spiritual sight.
May you always keep your hedges intact. Your life may very well depend on it.
Thanks for reading.
Copyrighted. Joseph Spickard, 2017. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this intellectual property without prior permission from the author is prohibited.