Praying for a Hedge of Protection EGP Blog post from December 23, 2012

Job 1:6–12 (NASB)

[6] Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan° also came among them. [7] The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” [8] The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered° My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing° God and turning away from evil.” [9] Then Satan answered the °Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? [10] “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. [11] “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” [12] Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power°, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord.

Job 1:6 I.e. the adversary, and so throughout chs 1 and 2
Job 1:8a Lit set your heart to
Job 1:8b Or revering
Job 1:9 Lit LORD and said
Job 1:12 Lit hand

In some Christian circles, when someone is facing some sort of adversity (especially if it’s deemed a spiritual attack), you’ll hear the prayer that God will “put a hedge of protection” around them or even their house. While it doesn’t expressly say that “Job prayed for a hedge of protection,” it does say that he was “blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1) and that he would “consecrate” his children by “rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings” continually just in case they MIGHT have “sinned and cursed God in their hearts” (Job 1:5). So, undoubtedly he was a devout and prayerful person who cared deeply about His children’s spiritual protection.

The word translated “hedge” here isn’t simply some bushes about the house, but carries more the idea of a fence made of intertwined branches (see “suwk” [H7753] and “sowk” [H7754]). In fact, this same word is used in Hosea 2:6, when it says, “…I will fence her in with thornbushes…” (NLT) Though in the “hedge of protection”, it’s Satan and his minions being fenced out.

This passage, however does beg the question: Why God would seemingly recommend Job out of the blue to be tormented by Satan when he was praying for protection? Well, first of all, God can do whatever He wants. Secondly, it was said of Job that he feared God, but Satan said, “Does Job fear God for nothing?”, meaning that he was quite blessed and his faith had never truly been tested. Also, I think we get a bit of insight from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 3:8–12 (NASB)

[8] To me, the very least of all saints°, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, [9] and to bring° to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; [10] so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. [11] This was in accordance with the eternal° purpose which He carried° out in Christ Jesus our Lord, [12] in whom we have boldness and confident° access through faith in° Him.

Ephesians 3:8 Or holy ones
Ephesians 3:9 Two early mss read make all know
Ephesians 3:11a Lit purpose of the ages
Ephesians 3:11b Or formed
Ephesians 3:12a Lit access in confidence
Ephesians 3:12b Lit of Him

Sometimes we forget that things happen in the physical realm because of what’s going on in the spiritual realm. In this case, I think God was teaching Satan a lesson more so than Job.

Key verses

James 1:2–3, 13–14