Hedges and Thorns

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The things of this world are foolishness to the Creator of this world, but to mankind the things of this world are good, pleasant and desirable. Success, beauty wealth how could we not call those things good? And herein lies the confusion since the beginning of time, between what is good and what is evil: In the garden of Eden, the tree of knowledge seemed delightful to Eve, but God knew that evil poisoned its branches and seed. God knows this world has a certain poison masqueraded by appeal. He is God, the ancient of days; we are not; he knows the end from the beginning, the consequences of our choices and the end game, we don’t; we are finite in our knowledge and understanding; we base our choices on what seems pleasant.  But God wants us to base our choices on what he has said. We, like Eve, need God’s commandment to guide us.

Jesus said narrow is the road that leads to life and few are there that find it; broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many upon it.

Jesus didn’t say evil is the road or wicked and sinful and death riddled is the road that leads to destruction; He said broad is the road. This is Satan’s biggest deception. The way is broad, open and inviting.  In fact, the first steps of this way may not seem wrong at all if we base good and evil on appearances. Satan comes disguised as an angel of light. He is a master of disguise, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, A liar from the beginning. Stay on guard. Therefore, it is not this beginning that we ought to be weary of, It is the end and where it leads us, away from life. The only way for us to understand what is true and right is to know and trust what God says. He has seen it, we have not. The old saying does not judge a book by its cover could perhaps be applicable; do not judge the way by its entrance. We need God’s word to guide us. We need his commandment to inform us. We need to not trust our eyes or our desires, or even the “good things” but the Creator’s knowledge. When we fail, God hedges up our way, he walls off the road that leads to destruction.

Hosea 2:6-7 I will hedge up her way with thorns and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths.  

God does not do this because he is mad at me and wants to prevent me from his goodness, he does it to prevent me from the worlds “goodness” which ends in destruction.  My way is not synonymous with righteousness. My way is not THE WAY. My way seeks to eliminate God’s voice, in my way there is no room for commandments. My way is fundamentally opposed to God’s way, I am cut from the same block as Eve. Do not lean on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.

We don’t always know when we are on the path that leads to destruction, we think we are on the path of blessing, the path of life, the good pleasant and desirable path when things are going well. We don’t always know because we have lost the value of God’s commandments in our lives and in our faith communities. We have lost our way because we have cast aside the laws of God. Hosea 4: 6 (KJV) My people perish from a lack of knowledge. Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, ”The scripture is our inexhaustible textbook, the Lord Jesus our boundless subject and the Holy Spirit our divine infinite helper“ Our world is cluttered with noise and it drowns out the voice and word of God. We are therefore easily confused about good and the evil.

Does that mean all the good things and the abundance and life, and joy are banned from the Child of God and reserved only for heaven? NO!  God has SO much good for his children here. He has so much beauty and blessing and life-giving power and there are some thorns and hedges. The difference is, his life and joy come from HIS hand. He asks us to seek him not the things that seem delightful. When we seek the things that are pleasant, we forget God, when we seek God we are full either way.

If we start to feel the walls and the thorns of God perhaps, he is providing a hedge of protection. His thorns prevent his children from chasing after other gods that will lead to destruction, destruction that cannot be seen nor remedied.  Do not be discouraged if life is hard and the thorns are needling you on the way but be weary when the road is broad and easy and glittery. Sometimes as the apostle Paul discovered God’s thorns keep us from straying and the world’s goods keep us from returning to God.

God will indeed hedge up the paths of his children who are straying, He will wall us in so we cannot find our paths but will grant us freedom to explore his ways. He will close every door and shut up every way that does not lead to His, if we belong to him.  HE will not permit us to revel in the pleasant and foolish things that this world has to offer if it leads away from what HE has to offer. These worldly paths may look like the inroads to success, power, beauty and wealth but they are weighed down with false gods. Only through careful study and knowledge of God’s commandments can we truly know and discern what is the foolishness of the world and what is the narrow way of God.

Three things to remember: Things are not what they seem, just because something seems delightful and good doesn’t mean it’s not filled with poison.

God’s commandments understanding and are our guide to stay on his path of life.

when the commandments are rejected, God’s thorns are provided, they are not to destroy but to protect. His needling discomforts will keep his children from straying.

The commandments are a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

The commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life. Proverbs 6:23

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