Putting a Biblical Hedge Around Someone You Care About

Biblical Hedge: Asking God to put a protective hedge around someone to protect them from harm.

A wonderful and powerful example for the support for biblical hedges comes from the Old Testament prophet Hosea. He lived during the time of four Judean kings: Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah during the latter half of the eighth century B.C. This was a very trying time in Judah and Israel’s history and only Hezekiah was a righteous king before the Lord in Judah. Meanwhile the northern kingdom of Israel was under increasing pressure from Assyria and had fallen into serious Baal worship.

The first three chapters of Hosea are about how his personal life (his wife left him to go whoring) reflects the whoring of God’s people who go after Baal and abandon their first love of the God of Israel. Hosea wants his wife to return, just as God wants his people to return. Restitution is the primary desire, not judgement. Just as Hosea has yoked himself to Gomer, God has yoked himself to Israel, with both of them desiring the return of their beloved. However, Hosea does not pursue his wife. He wants her to choose to return to him and God takes an interesting approach to the problem for Hosea.

First we should note how Hosea initially took Gomer as his wife. She was not innocent but a whore from the beginning. In Hosea 1:2 God tells Hosea to “‘Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.’ So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.” Then his wife became pregnant again and bore a daughter and God told Hosea 6b“Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.” After weaning her daughter, Gomer immediately became pregnant again and bore a son and God said to Hosea, 9b“Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

Gomer then leaves Hosea and it is revealed that even her children were probably the products of whoredom, 2:5″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.'” But God has a response to her adultery, for he says, 2:6“Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. 7She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.'” Gomer’s whoring and abandoning her husband is a picture of how Israel had abandoned God for Baal.

Despite Gomer’s realization of her plight, thanks to the hedge God had put around her, she needed to be redeemed to return to Hosea, so God says to Hosea, 3:1Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”

Without the hedge placed around her, Gomer would not have come to her senses and desired to return home. But also, Hosea had to be willing to forgive her and redeem her from her fallen state and return her again to his household. This is a story of redemption and sacrificial love, played out in the life of Hosea and Gomer as an illustration of the relationship between God and his people Israel.

With that as background, let’s look at the idea of a biblical hedge. While this is the most direct example, it is not the only place in Scripture that hedge-like activity is discussed. For example:

Psalm 34:7
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Psalm 27:5
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.

Psalm 5:11
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.

1 Samuel 17:37a
Then David said, “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Job 1:10
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.

Praying for God’s hedge of protection over someone does several important things:

  1. It can keep us safe from things, whether people or demonic powers, trying to harm them. With angelic intervention and a hedge of spiritual thorns around us God keeps things seeking to harm us at bay. David had supreme confidence in God’s hedge of protection around him when he engaged Goliath. Satan could do nothing to Job because of God’s hedge of protection that surrounded him.
  2. It can protect us from ourselves. For example, the hedge around Gomer prevented her from successfully pursuing her whoredom and forced her to see the error of her ways.
  3. It enjoins us from acting recklessly. Just because we have God’s hedge of protection that doesn’t give us license to tempt God. While his restraint of possible consequences of our actions may be real and active, that is not a free pass to expect God to always bail us out of continuous reckless activity.

I have begun to pray hedges of protection around people I know are in need of God’s supreme intervention. Sometimes, like Gomer, they need protection from themselves and a little space to see clearly what is really going on. I have begun to couple the prayer for a prayer of a hedge of protection with serious intercession for whatever needs someone may have, whether that is deliverance, salvation, healing, or just grace to help in time of need.

So, God’s protective hedge is one more tool in the toolkit of the believer as we seek to help those in need.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.