Job 3 – 4 … Consider Him Who Has Hedged Us In

“Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
And whom God has hedged in?”
(3:23).

No one can blame Job for asking questions. Nothing made sense; an all-too common occurrence in this thing we call life. And in Job’s wrestling match with the why of it all, while he never cursed God, he cursed the day he was born.

Afterward Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth, (3:1)

And the rest of chapter 3 is filled with Job’s mourning, his confusion and his utter disdain that he had ever been conceived. In the background, we hear the age-old question, “What is the purpose of life anyway?” And in this state of stupefied bewilderment, Job expresses that helpless feeling of being trapped.

“Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
And whom God has hedged in?”
(3:23).

Now Job, as well as his three friends, had no idea of what had happened around the throne room of the Great Lord of Hosts. We can certainly sympathize with poor Job, entangled in this quagmire with little hope of escape through no fault of his own, left wondering how on earth his life had come to this.

Job never cursed God, but with his limited knowledge, he mistakenly contorted the truth. Job expressed the feeling of being hedged in. And given the context of Job’s situation, feeling hedged in certainly does not come across as a positive emotion.

Below are a few translations of this verse, that certainly paint “hedged in” in a less than favorable light.

Why is life given to those with no future, those God has surrounded with difficulties? (New Living Translations)

Why do I go on living when God has me surrounded, and I can’t see the road? (Contemporary English Version)

God keeps their future hidden and hems them in on every side. (Good News Translation)

To the formerly successful man who lost his way in life, and God fenced him in? (International Standard Version)

Why give light to those whose paths have been hidden, to those whom God has fenced in? (NET Bible)

To a man whose way is hidden, and God hath surrounded him with darkness? (Douay-Rheims Bible)

To a man whose way hath been hidden, And whom God doth shut up? (Young’s Literal Translation)

In the prologue to Job’s story, we hear the accuser asking God, “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land,” (Job 1:10 emphasis added).

Hedge: “7753. שׂוּךְ śûḵ: A verb meaning to hedge in, fence in. It refers to erecting a protective or restraining barrier of some kind.”

The enemy was convinced the only reason Job served God was because he had been hedged in by God’s protective blessings.

“But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face,” (Job 1:11).

But the word, hedge, used by Job’s accuser, is a different Hebrew word than that which Job spoke. When Job used the word hedge, he spoke of being covered, hidden.

Hedge: “5526. סָכַךְ sāḵaḵ, שָׂכַךְ śāḵaḵ: I. A verb meaning to cover. It means to hide something or to shield something: the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant was covered by the wings of cherubim (Ex. 25:20); God’s hand covered and protected Moses (Ex. 33:22). It is used of separating off an area with a curtain or hanging (Ex. 40:3, 21).”

When Job voiced “Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom the Lord has hedged In,” he wasn’t feeling very protected. Job was drawing a comparison between light and darkness, between what is hidden and revealed. Job felt vulnerable, separated from all understanding about why he was ever born. Job was convinced that grasping the purpose of his life was unattainable, as though hidden in some dark and mysterious corner out of his reach.

And understanding was also hidden from Job’s first friend to speak. Eliphaz was also unaware of the interaction in the throne room regarding Job, but he sure was convinced he knew the answer.

“Remember now, who ever perished being innocent?
Or where were the upright destroyed?
“According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity
And those who sow trouble harvest it,
(4:7-8).

You can almost hear Eliphaz say, “Hey Job, the innocent doesn’t suffer. You have obviously brought this on yourself. He has hedged you in, because that’s exactly what you deserve.”

The truth is, God’s ultimate and spiritual purpose was hidden from them all; their understanding had been covered up by Job’s misfortune and pain. But this word hedged in, is the same word used of the wings of the cherubim covering and guarding the mercy seat where atonement for sin would be made. And this word is the same word used to describe God’s hand that covered and protected Moses.

And then, somehow, in that place of longing desperation to see Him rise above humanity’s pain, light was shed. Perhaps being privy to the prologue of Job’s story brought illumination; or even more compelling, having insight regarding the epilogue of God’s story. And somehow, both insight and hope arose out of the darkness of Job’s confusion.

He Has Hedged Us In for our own protection, for our own discipline and training, and always for His Purpose and Glory; and whether or not we fully comprehend it all, that is the safest place we can be.

Consider Him Who Has Hedged Us In

  • He Has Hedged Us In for our protection
    • “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
      And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.
      This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
      And their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord,
      (Isaiah 54:17).
    • My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30).
  • Has Hedged Us In for our discipline and training
    • Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him, (Deuteronomy 8:5-6).
    • All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness, (Hebrews 12:11).
  • He Has Hedged Us In for His Purpose
    • I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me, (Psalm 57:2 ESV).
    • also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11).
  • He Has Hedged Us In for His Glory
    • “I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness,
      I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
      And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
      As a light to the nations,
      To open blind eyes,
      To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
      And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
      “I am the Lord, that is My name;
      I will not give My glory to another,
      Nor My praise to graven images,”
      (Isaiah 42:6-8).
    • to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory, (Ephesians 1:12).

How do we respond to Him Who Has Hedged Us In?

Once we have placed our faith in His death and resurrection for our salvation, He Has forever Hedged Us In Himself.

For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God, (Colossians 3:3).

We can be assured we will be protected in Him here on earth until He brings us to our home in heaven, to be with Him for all eternity.

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen, (2 Timothy 4:18).

But we need eyes of faith to see clearly because there are times when this life is more than perplexing; when perhaps we feel anything but protected; when being Hedged In even feels scary, like being kept in the dark. And if we let feelings speak louder than faith, the questions and confusion ushered in by trials and suffering will cause us to grow both blind and deaf to His Truth.

In those times, we must heed the advice of Him Who Has Hedged Us.

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God, (Colossians 3:1-3).

We must choose to seek the things above, where Christ, Who is the Truth, is seated on His throne in absolute control. Let us ask Him to grow our faith in His Sovereignty and Providence, that we would realize our place in Him Who Has Hedged Us In to strengthen and protect us.

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one, (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

Perhaps the Lord Has Hedged Us In for training, to discipline us in our faith for days ahead. Let us ask Him to increase our faith to accept His loving discipline, that we may be strengthened to face every challenge in this life.

My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof,
12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delight,
(Proverbs 3:11-12).

The Lord was not surprised by the outcome in Job’s life, as though this test would prove anything to Him. He knows and declares the end from the beginning. The testing of our faith is always to accomplish His purpose in our life, as well as to silence every accusation of the enemy. If we have trusted Christ for our salvation, we have the assurance of our eternal outcome. We can rest in Him Who Has Hedged Us In, for His purpose will be accomplished in our life.

“Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure;’”
(Isaiah 46:9-10).

And ultimately Job’s faith brought God glory. That’s what Job was created for. And that’s exactly what every single one of us was created for.

But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
Everyone who is called by My name,
And whom I have created for My glory,
Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
(Isaiah 43:1, 7).

To think that we can somehow bring Him glory, is really unimaginable. But He has declared it to be so. And when we call on Him in our day of trouble, He has promised that not only will He deliver us, but that our life will glorify Him.

“and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me,” (Psalm 50:15 ESV).

When we do not understand, when we feel we are trapped in the dark, we must trust Him Who Has Hedged Us In, and believe His Word that it is always for good.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, (Romans 8:28).

Let us pray the Lord will so grow us in faith, that our questions, confusions, pains and suffering will not become the guiding forces of our life. When we feel hedged in by the circumstances of life and a world that is in chaos and misery, let us ask Him to remind us of Job, for nothing was outside of His control.

As we seek Him in His Word, let us remind ourselves that He Has Hedged Us In for our discipline and training and for His purpose and glory. And let us ask Him to strengthen us to walk by faith in Him Who Has Hedged Us In.

for we walk by faith, not by sight, (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Let’s Grow Together!

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