Understanding God's 'Hedge of Protection' Over Your Life
- Clarence L. Haynes Jr. Contributing Writer
- 2020 30 Jul
Everyone shares the desire to feel safe. It’s one of the reasons people will move, for example, to a “safer” neighborhood—because they want the peace of mind of feeling protected. The Bible tells us, however, that God has promised to protect you. If you remember, Jesus stated in John 10:28-30 that no one can snatch you out of his hand or the Father’s hand.
This biblical promise of protection prompts the question: what exactly does a “hedge of protection” mean for my life and yours? As you continue reading, I want to point you to three answers to this question, and 3 ways to pray for a hedge of protection. But first, let’s begin with a definition.
What Is the Meaning of a Hedge of Protection?
Let’s create a literal (Merriam-Webster) definition for this term before we give it a biblical context.
Hedge: A fence or boundary that can define an area or create a level of security or defense
Protection: Covering or shielding from exposure, injury, damage, or destruction
When you combine these two thoughts together, then a “hedge of protection” is a fence or boundary that is designed to act as a covering to shield you from exposure, injury, damage or destruction.
Where Is ‘Hedge of Protection’ Referenced in the Bible?
Surprisingly this term “hedge of protection” does not appear in the Bible in those exact words. The concept, however, is evident throughout scripture:
Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
Clearly, you can make an implication of the hedge being a hedge of protection. The words “of protection” are actually added in parentheses for further explanation, when you look at the Amplified version of the Bible.
The Contemporary English Version (CEV) translates Job 1:10 this way:
You are like a wall protecting not only him, but his entire family and all his property. You make him successful in whatever he does, and his flocks and herds are everywhere.
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This concept is also evident in other verses, such as these:
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
In these verses in Hosea 2, we discover another meaning for hedge of protection, in the form of a hedge of thorns:
For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. (ESV)
If you’re not familiar with the book of Hosea, I encourage you to read it. God instructs Hosea to take a prostitute as a wife, which was symbolic of the relationship at that time between God and Israel. In doing this, Gomer (Hosea’s wife) can’t remain faithful to Hosea and she is drawn back to her life of prostitution. If you want to know how this story turns out you have to read it.
Now let’s go back to the question: what exactly does a hedge of protection mean for my life? Here are three answers:
Answer #1: God’s Protection from Outsiders
God has promised to protect you from things meant to harm you. He will watch over your family. He will provide shelter and safety in times of trouble. He will keep you when you are attacked by the enemy.
There are times in life where tragedy may happen in your family...I know from personal experience, as I am sure you do as well. This does not negate the promises of God. Rather, our trials are reminders of the fallen world we live in. When life doesn’t make sense, I pray you would trust God’s heart all the more. He has not forsaken you.
Answer #2: God’s Protection from Ourselves
God is not only interested in protecting you from outsiders, he is also interested in protecting you from you. Don’t you agree that sometimes we are “our own worst enemy?” Or, maybe I’m only talking to myself, and you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about.
However, for those who can understand this reality, sometimes God has to protect us from us. To do this, he may create a hedge that makes it difficult to engage in the behavior that he knows is not good for you. He may put obstacles or thorns in the way, as in the case of the Hosea verses above.
I can recall many instances where I was on my way to do something I shouldn’t be doing and an obstacle arose to try to prevent me from doing it. This was God using a hedge of thorns to help me. Sometimes we may foolishly push through the thorns, always asking "why am I doing this?" anyway. That’s why we can say thank God for his grace. If you will allow him, God will protect you from yourself.
When people ask what exactly a hedge of protection means, they will often turn to Psalm 91. Here are some verses from this psalm that people often refer to for protection.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:1-2
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. – Psalm 91:4
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. – Psalm 91:7
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. – Psalm 91:9-10
I could have put the entire Psalm 91 here because it all talks about God’s protection—that’s why I encourage you to read it. Many people have prayed these verses as prayers of protection over themselves and their families, and that’s a good idea.
However, I want you to also be careful not to use these verses as some kind of “magic formula,” thinking you can do whatever you want and God will protect you. Remember, when Satan tempted Jesus he said these words to Jesus:
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ – Matthew 4:5-6
Guess where Satan was quoting from…Psalm 91. I want you to pay attention to Jesus’s response.
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test. – Matthew 4:7
With this in mind, let’s go back to our question what exactly does a hedge of protection mean for me? We have just discovered another answer:
Answer #3: God’s Protection, Not an Excuse for Reckless Behavior
You can be confident in God’s protection, but that does not give you license to act foolishly or recklessly.
As Jesus said, don’t put God to the test. God will watch over you, but don’t be so smug to think you can do whatever you want (test God) and still be under his umbrella of protection.
3 Reasons to Pray for a Hedge of Protection
When you are seeking God’s will and direction and a relationship with Him, you can pray God’s promises to Him. Here are three reasons to pray for a hedge of protection:
1. It’s God’s promise for you:
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Don’t be afraid to ask and believe God and believe His promises.
2. It’s God passion towards you:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
God’s love for you is eternal, and nothing will ever get in the way of his love for you.
3. It’s God’s peace within you:
But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; - Isaiah 43:1-3
God desires to remove fear and replace it with his peace...knowing he will be with you and watch over you.
It’s Wonderful to Know God’s Got You
You really don’t have to be afraid because he will uphold you. The best part is that this hedge of protection carries over from this life to the next. One day you will experience God’s eternal hedge of protection where you will be safe and sound in his presence forever.
Here’s the best part—God will watch over you until you get there. I leave you with this one promise and I hope you let it resonate in your spirit as you walk through your day.
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. – Jude 1:24-25
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, teacher, author, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled to try to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.