The Hedge

  • Sept. 4, 2018
  • #9482

God’s hedge of protection may seem like a thorny barrier, but it offers protection from moral danger.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a lesson about hedges.

When I was a little girl, every Wednesday morning my mother would take me over to Monastery Ave. near South Baltimore to my Grandmother's house. And while my mother cleaned house, mom gave me free range to play in the spacious backyard lined with a tall, thick hedge, full of thorns. I didn't know what was on the other side of the shrubs, and I wasn't about to trespass beyond the watchful eye of my mom. I mean, I was just a kid; who knew what dangers lurked beyond the safe, secure wall of those thorny leaves that defined my grandmom’s property?

Now, I often think of Grandmother's tall hedge when I look at my wheelchair. Just like the hedge, it’s hard and impassible. And at times, I feel the pain of old thorns, as it were. True, it may be a thorn in my side, but this wheelchair is still God's barrier. It’s a safe wall that defines the space in which God has given me to live and grow. That’s how I think of my wheelchair. It stops me; it prevents me from being led astray. Otherwise, I tell you what, I’d be reaching for and running toward so many wrong things! So I thank my wise God for placing this hedge in my life. It may hurt and sometimes humiliate me, but it keeps me within the safe, secure boundaries of God's protection and provision. It keeps me out of the worse kind of danger—that is moral danger.

You know Hosea Chapter 2 verses 6-7, Hosea talks about this very thing. God has asked the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute. She’s of the kind who has a habit of wandering and straying and forever going back to her old ways and her immoral lifestyle. But God tells Hosea, “I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'"

You know I read that verse, and I think: ‘That’s me’. Not that my morals were in the gutter when I was on my feet, but trust me, I was not living a life that was pleasing to the Lord. I was full of surging hormones, and Friday nights often left me feeling morally empty and lonely. I prayed that God would rescue me from myself. I knew I was my own worst enemy. I asked God, back then, to do anything that He thought best to turn me around, back toward a righteous path. Not long after that, I had my diving accident and landed in a wheelchair. That wheelchair became my Hosea hedge.

Hosea Chapter 2 perfectly describes a rebellious, headstrong person who is ruled by desire, a person who plots and plans and looks for ways to trespass God's boundaries of safety. This disobedient, stubborn person has no interest in any border of protection. If I'm describing you, especially if you are the headstrong young person like I once was, if you see yourself today in this little lesson, do not wait for the Lord to block your path with a taller, thornier hedge. No, look at the boundaries of safety that are already in front of you. Look to the borders of protection. Be content within the confines of God's commands. The Bible's precepts give you room enough in which you can grow. Think about it: What hedges has God placed in your life? How has "hedging in" helped you? Well, be thankful for those borders. They have been set by God in your life to break the rebellion, and be grateful for the protection.  

© Joni and Friends

 

 

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