I love plants, and flowers especially. They add so much joy to a room. But I don’t have much of a green thumb.
O.K. I don’t have a green thumb. At all. In fact, it is a joke in my house that if I buy a plant, I have sentenced it to a short life.
I love and water my plants and want them to live. I’ve just never been able to determine how moist is too moist.
So, out of sympathy…I don’t own any house plants right now. I know. Sad!
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But outside our home, we have a hedge, a very tall hedge that runs along our driveway and separates our yard from our neighbors’ yard. I love that hedge and the privacy and shade it provides.
In my reading of Hosea this week, I discovered that God has a hedge, too. However, His hedge is made of thorns. Ouch! Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. Hosea 2:6
Why would God build a hedge of thorns?
3 reasons—Love, Protection, and Guidance.
First, God loves His people.
God decides to use tough love to redirect them back toward Himself. He brings roadblocks of judgment to their path. He places a wall of thorns on either side to teach and guide Israel to stick to His path, not “her paths.”
Verse 5 tells us —
For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink. Hosea 2:5
This verse tells us of Israel’s going after her lovers, the false gods of the land, and forsaking their true God. Verse 6 is God’s remedy for the situation.
He will place a hedge of thorns along their path.
In judgment, yes. But also in love. He ever wants His people to repent and return to Him, to the place of blessing and peace and joy. In this Book of Hosea, God uses His prophet Hosea and Hosea’s family as an illustration to Israel of their adulterous ways.
God commands Hosea to go take a prostitute for his wife. And Hosea obeys. (Hosea 1:2-3)
That is a strange command to me. But not as strange as the command God later gives Hosea after Gomer leaves him and lives in adultery.
God then commands Hosea to go and take her back! (Hosea 3:1-2)
Now, that would be extremely hard to obey, in my way of thinking. How about you? Yet, I know of men and women who have lived just such a testimony of grace. They forgave their spouse, by God’s grace, and their marriages were healed.
Israel has forgotten the God who brought them out of slavery in Egypt and blessed them with plenty during this time of the reign of Jeroboam II. They credit their idols for their prosperity! (Hosea 2:5,8)
Gomer, likewise, forgets that Hosea had brought her out of such a life of bondage, and instead of being thankful and loving Hosea, she returns to her sinful life.
Hosea is tasked with the job of not only telling, but also showing, Israel just how much they have grieved and angered God…just as much as any wronged husband would be grieved and angered by his wife’s infidelity.
God is done allowing Israel to pretend to be His people. (Hosea 2:2) He loves them and wants them back. It’s time for judgment.
I wonder how long it will be before God must judge our land, our people, for our pretense of Christianity?
Are you pretending? Or, are you a faithful wife and bride of Christ? Is He the love of your life?
Next, God desires to protect His people.
God hedges in His people not only as judgment to bring us back to Him, but also to keep out that which would harm us.
The thorns aren’t only on the inside of the hedge!
The outside of the hedge is also covered in thorns. God desires to protect us not only from our own selves, but from the evil and temptations that seek to get at us from without.
There is evil all around us. The principalities and powers of the air. That try with all their might to get through God’s hedge. (See Job 1:8-12)
Evil wants to destroy us.
Are you married? Satan would love for you to believe the lie that the grass is probably greener on the other side of the hedge, the other side of your marriage. But…it never is.
Instead of being happier in life, if you break through that hedge of thorns to commit adultery, all you’ll be is wounded and torn and living with regret. And outside the protection of the Almighty God. **
I pray daily and fervently for God’s hedge of protection against harm, and evil, and temptation — About my marriage, my family, my church family, and my brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. For I know this truth—
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12
Finally, God wants to direct His people’s path.
God’s hedge of thorns is there to define and direct our path, to give us guidance.
I think of Hosea 2:6 and God’s hedge as a picture of life before we surrender to God. Every way we turn pricks us, hurts us, and frustrates us until we turn and head God’s direction. Until we return to our first Husband, our first love, the Lord Jesus, in complete and trusting surrender. (Revelation 2:4)
Maybe you are a single woman seeking that special someone to marry. But instead of finding him, you’ve been experiencing break-up after break-up.
It’s God’s hedge you are running into. Like someone once told me, “It’s like God won’t let me have the wrong guy.”
Are you seeking the right guy, God’s choice, a faithful Christian man? If not, it will hurt as you keep hitting that wall of thorns in going your own way to fill that need and to fight that loneliness.
Let God be your “husband.” Follow after that which is godly, holy. Seek, obey, and love God and let Him direct your path toward His man for you.
The thorns hurt, but they do make an impression, and are effective…when we let them be.
Praise God that He loves us enough to correct, protect and guide us with His hedge of thorns! For none of us will ever become spiritual enough to go without His chastisement, guidance, and protection!
Trust His path. Follow it…
And stay away from the thorns!
Drawing nigh to Him,
**Jesus died to pay for all sin. His blood covers and cleanses any and every sin that we confess to God and turn from in repentance.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
If you have fallen in this way, adultery (or any other sin), you don’t have to remain in misery and regret. Jesus can and will forgive you, and restore you. And replace your regrets with joy.
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.
How do you see God’s hedge? Thorny? Or beautiful?