The Hedge of God
Mary Crane, Texas
The rod of God which brings hardship and adversity in its wake is often a blessing in disguise. Prosperity and good fortune frequently dull the senses but trying times will compel the prodigal to come to himself (Lk. 15:17). The Lord will chasten the son in whom He delights (Prov. 3: 12). God builds a thorn-hedge around the transgressor to keep him from further iniquity. Hosea said of faithless Israel: "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them but shall not find them; then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now" (Hos. 2:6,7).
Because the Lord loved Israel He raised up thorns and walls to frustrate her projects and desires. Israel was shut up in her way, first, by a hedge of thorns, then by a stonewall. The vineyards of the ancients were so protected; surrounded first with a thorn-hedge, then with a wall (Isa. 5:5). The lesson is clear. The Lord ever corrects with growing severity (Lev. 26: 14-39). If Israel will not be contained by the thorns, then the wall will deter her.
Often those who are the most bent on sinful ways are hindered by thorns and obstacles. Such is a kind rebuke from a kind Lord. The Sodomites were struck blind and wearied themselves to find the door (Gen. 19:11). Balaam was hindered in the cursing of Israel by an angel who stood in his way (Num. 22:22). Obstacles and hardships are great blessings in an evil course. They are Gods hedges to restrain us from further transgressions. It has well been said, "Heaven smites in mercy, even when the blos is severest."
The difficulties of this life are not always what they seem. God sends adversity not because He is merciless or unconcerned but rather because He cares. The Lord chastens those whom He loves. The problems, which sometimes surround churches, the pressure of unpaid bills, and the seeming curse of physical infirmities, serve to keep us from wandering out of the green pastures and to withdraw man from his purpose (Job 33:17). We need to pray for a blessing upon our daily rod as well as upon our daily bread.
List of References
Brown, Francis; Driver, S. R., and Briggs, Charles A. A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament: with an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic. London: Oxford, Clarendon Press. 1907.
Hengstenberg, E. W. Christology of the Old Testament. trans. Ruel Keith; abrid. Thomas Kerchever Arnold. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications. 1970.
Henry, Matthew. Commentary on the Whole Bible. reprod. Fisher ed. 1845. Marshallton, Delaware: Sovereign Grace Publishers. n.d.
Laetsch, Theo. Bible Commentary: the Minor Prophets. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House. 1956.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 7, p. 13