A Hedge of Protection…

Posted on March 20, 2016
Filed Under Exhortation, From Daily Readings, Uncategorized, Wisdom Literature | 10 Comments

Comedian Tim Hawkins has a bit that he does in which he talks about how many Christians pray. In the midst of that comedy piece, Hawkins talks about how many will pray for a “hedge of protection” around a person or family. This is an idea that many people in the religious world use to talk about how God is protecting them from something. This is also an idea that King David expressed as he was writing the 139th Psalm. Consider his thought:


You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. (Psalm 139:5)


When David wrote this, he had a completely different idea in mind than most of the people who would ask God for such a “hedge” today. With this brief study, we want to consider the difference between how the typical religious person prays for this “hedge” and how David (and therefore others who would be servants like him) would view this idea.

David’s Approach…

When David wrote concerning the hedge that was laid behind him and before him, he had faced many trials. While this particular Psalm does not give us a specific instance that brought about David’s thoughts, we do know how difficult his life had been. David, after slaying Goliath, would serve King Saul faithfully for some time. It would not, however, be long until he had fallen out of favor with Saul. In fact, it was not long before God declared that Saul was going to lose his kingdom, and that it would go to a man who was better than he was. That man was David! (1 Samuel 13:14, 15:27-29)
David, it would seem, had things going his way. However, that was not to be the case for some time. David ended up being anointed by Samuel to be the next king, but would have to wait several years until he could ascend to the throne. During the interim period of time, David had to flee from Saul. His life was very difficult, spending much of his time hiding in caves. At one point, he had the opportunity to kill Saul, but declared that he was not willing to raise his hand against God’s anointed (1 Samuel 24:2-7).

During his time of fleeing, David fought against the Philistines. He grew stronger and gathered men to him that would be his “mighty men.” These men would be dedicated to David, and would fight for him through thick and thin. In all of this, David never had an easy time. He faced difficulties, he faced hunger, he faced enemies that sought to take his life. He was forced to be on the run constantly. His life was threatened constantly.
It was in this type of environment that David could write about God placing a hedge in front of him and behind him. He was happy for the protection of God, but that protection was not something that would keep any harm at all from coming to him. God’s protection did not keep every bad thing from coming upon David. There were many things that he suffered, but was still under that protection from God!

Modern Christian Approach…

Many who identify themselves as preachers in the religious world today work at selling an idea that is simply not biblical. They speak of praying a “hedge of protection” around people to protect them from anything negative that might come upon them. Their idea is that this “hedge of protection” will insulate them from anything bad that could possibly happen. They are never going to have to worry about having a well paying job. They are never going to have to worry about getting sick. They are never going to have to worry about an accident happening to them. That is the basis of Tim Hawkins’ comedy sketch, and it is humorous because there is a seed of truth to it. It reflects the very idea that many people have in mind when they ask for God’s “hedge of protection.”

God has never promised that He will shield His people from anything bad ever happening to them. Just the opposite is true. An examination of the situation at the time of the book of Revelation shows that God told His people that they would soon suffer greatly:


Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)


Peter also warned his readers that they may have to suffer for the cause of Christ:


Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. (1 Peter 4:12–16)


Instead of having an idea in our minds that God’s protection means that nothing bad could ever happen to us, we should view His protection more like David. David could praise God for His “hedge of protection” even knowing all of the bad things that he had gone through. He was able to be strengthened by all that he went through!

Jesus, as He prayed for His followers shortly before His death, asked the Father to care for His disciples:


I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15)


He was not asking for God to keep His disciples from all bad things that could happen to them, but rather to protect them from Satan, that roaring lion who would be stalking around seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). God has no problem keeping His faithful children protected from Satan. There is nothing that can break the bond of protection that God has given to His children:


For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39)


We have the same type of “hedge of protection” that David had from God. He would watch over David and provide what was needed for Him, and He will watch over us and provide what is needed for us. We may not be granted physical protection from the bad things that can happen in life, but we can have confidence in the spiritual protection that we have in Him when we remain faithful:


For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Timothy 1:12)