CALL TO OBEDIENCE #416
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"God Puts a Hedge About You"
By Pastor Reimar A. C. Schultze
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land (Job 1:10).
One of the things we learn in this passage is that as God put a hedge around Job, so He does so for everyone of His saints. This hedge that God puts up for His beloved is so high that the devil cannot climb over it, so strong that the devil cannot destroy it and it completely surrounds the saint so that there is no opening for the devil to get through to do him harm.
The devil cannot take anything from you that is inside of this divine hedge. However, God frequently moves this hedge inward or He extends it outward without ever telling us where He has moved it. So, we never know where this hedge is located. For example, none of us know, except by revelation, whether our home, our children, our finances, our vehicles or our plans for the future are inside or outside this hedge. What may be inside the hedge today may not be inside it tomorrow. This is clearly demonstrated in the book of Job.
As you are introduced to the story of this great saint, you find out that one day all he had, from his cattle to his children, was inside God’s hedge of protection. The devil could not get at anything that was inside this protective hedge. Yet within hours this hedge was pulled in to only protect Job’s body. And soon after that, the hedge was further drawn in so that even his skin was outside the hedge. And it was not the devil, but God, who initiated this moving of the hedge. God may permit the devil to put his hands on you, but it is never to destroy you but always to enrich you, to embarrass the devil and to give glory to God in the end.
This leads us to this great insight: there is a war between God and the devil, and you and I are the battleground. The fight is over us. Each one of these powers wants to have us. Jesus paid a high price to make you His own. God invested the precious blood of His Son in you. He does not want to lose His investment in you. He does all He can to keep it. But He cannot keep it without your cooperation, without your total surrender to Him. The devil wants to take you away from God. This is what the battle is all about; it is about you.
So God keeps moving the hedge on you to fulfill His divine purposes for you. You never know where it is. He wants you to live by faith. You cannot live victoriously by trying to figure out where the hedge is located. He does not want you to be a worrier but rather a warrior. If you look to Jesus and keep looking to Him, you will be victorious no matter where the hedge is and you will make it to heaven. But if you keep worrying about the hedge, you will become a loser: now and forever. God wants you to trust Him in all circumstances of life. He wants you to live by faith. The just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17). God wants you to say like Job: ...the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21).
Do not ever put a spiritual judgment on yourself or anyone else in relationship to where the hedge is located. Do not ever judge anyone spiritually by virtue of what they have or do not have, or by how much they are being blessed or by how much they suffer. The only criteria you have by which you can judge anyone on his spirituality is if he is a worshiper of God.
Job was perfect in all his ways. He exercised his priestly office towards his children. He was the richest man both physically and spiritually in the East. Yet, within one day, he lost everything he had: sheep, camels, oxen and asses, all his sons and daughters and all his servants save four. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1:22). Rather, he worshiped God. Beautiful! If you want to see beauty, here it is.
So how did this all get started? Well, here it is: Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them (Job 1:6). This verse tells us that from time to time the angels come to meet with God for reports and instructions. The devil also comes amongst them. The devil likes to meet wherever God’s people meet. Some of you attend some of the church services; the devil attends all of them. He never misses where God’s people meet together. He was in paradise and he even was at the Lord’s supper. Remember, I said you are the battleground; the devil cannot move your hedge without God’s permission.
Now here at this meeting, the devil complains about Job, claiming that Job only serves God for His blessings’ sake. He called Job a hypocrite. God challenges the devil by suggesting a contest. So God decided to pull in the hedge and let the devil create havoc with anything outside the hedge. Notice that God offered Job to be tested, which made Job a battleground. God may offer you to be tested. But God left Job in the dark about what He did and why He did it. He wanted him to trust Him.
In a single day, Job went from riches to rags. The devil pulled out all the stops. He was determined to win this case. He even commanded the supernatural forces such as fire from heaven and destructive winds to assist him in defeating Job. Yes, the devil also has supernatural powers. (Moses could turn his rod into a serpent and so did the devil’s magicians with their rods. But God’s rod swallowed up the devil’s rods. Pharaoh’s magicians also turned water into blood and brought frogs out of water, but when it came to the rest of the miracles, they could not duplicate them.) Do not underestimate the devil, but, yet so much the more, do not underestimate God.
So my friend, God is a mover of the hedge. Do not make a judgment when He moves that hedge. Just keep worshiping. If you do that, you will have more spiritual influence for good on everyone than you can possibly imagine. When a saint is on fire with the fires of afflictions, he shines brightest. The fire of afflictions of Job, Joseph and Paul still brighten up the world today. Just keep worshiping. Again, never, never judge a man’s spirituality by what he has, by what he does not have, by what has been taken away from him or by whether he is well or sick.
So the devil lost round number one because Job kept worshiping. After he admitted to defeat, he asked for round number two and so we have this verse: Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord (Job 2:1). Notice that this chapter begins with the word “again.” The devil again complains about Job. He requests to do more damage to Job. God gives His permission for Satan to make Job sick unto death, but He did not allow him to take Job’s life. Remember, God is always at the controls. God controls how much damage can to be done to you, not the devil. Once again, the devil pulls out all the stops with God’s permission. Job is seen in the ashes scraping his skin with a piece of pottery. His wife cursed him, but Job said: ...What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips (Job 2:10). Job continued to worship and the devil lost again. As long as you worship God, the devil is defeated.
Then Job’s friends mercilessly tried to draw him away from worshiping God into debating why this all happened, concluding it was his sin. In the end, God calls his friends to repentance and restores Job, doubling his wealth and blessing him with seven wonderful sons and three beautiful daughters. My friend, judge nothing before the time: remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways and they are always for His glory. Do not despise the chastening of the Lord.
Keep worshiping God. As you read the book of the Revelation, you find out that the highest form of religion is worship. Worship God not only on Sundays, but every day in your secret closet. Worship Him no matter what happens to you and you will cash in on the blessings of God, now and forever. In this process, God will continue to refine you, to make you more like Himself so that you can enjoy eternity more. Yes, the more refined you become, the more receptive you are for the delicacies of your eternal home, the more you will enjoy heaven forever and the greater your ecstasy will be as Jesus looks upon you.
We all must come to this: God cannot refine us without putting us through the school of suffering. Peter did not want Jesus to suffer. But Jesus said to him, ...Get thee behind me, Satan... (Matt. 16:23). We do not look good to the world when we suffer. We look like losers. It was not a pretty sight when Jesus hung on the cross with just a loincloth about His waist. But within that was the salvation of our souls, the beautiful fragrance of our redemption, making us the sons of God and heirs to the throne. If we suffer with Him and for Him, we shall be glorified with Him. Remember God has greater plans for you for eternity than you have. Let Him have His way with you.