You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5 NIV
My early plans to be a farmer never materialized, but I did manage to accumulate a few farm animals.
After high school, I rented a small house just outside of town. A field lay on the side of my house, but a major highway lumbered just beyond. I decided to fence the field and get a few animals.
Hog wire and chicken wire work wonders to keep animals where they should be. I stretched the wire tightly and nailed it to heavy duty posts. Since hogs love to root out under the fence, I made stakes, inserted them in the bottom of the wire, and drove them deeply into the ground. Goats love to jump over, so I ran a strand of barbed wire on top of the hog wire. Chickens love to fly, so I purchased six-foot chicken wire and clipped their wings.
Tragedy could have resulted had my animals escaped their pens. Hemming them was in their best interest—and mine too, if I wanted to make any money from them.
I doubt the psalmist erected a fence to hem in his sheep, but he may have corralled them in an area surrounded by hedges. He was responsible for keeping them safe. Wolves, bears, and lions love mutton.
God’s Word often compares God to a shepherd and His people to sheep. Sheep are dumb and need guidance. God doesn’t mean to say through the comparison that His creations are ignorant, but we do need supervision—and thus the reason He hems us in.
God’s erects fences because He loves us. If He didn’t, He’d let us go our own way. He knows His children need boundaries just as children need them—whether they recognize it or not. Discipline is one of the main ways God keeps us on track. I hated discipline when I was under my parent’s authority, but I accepted it because I had no choice. God disciplines me for the same reasons they did. I don’t usually appreciate God’s either—until I look back in hindsight. Then I see what He has done was for my good.
God knows our fleshly nature which implants within us the tendency to wander . . . to sin. His fences keep us on track.
Appreciate the ways God hems you in. Don’t try to jump over or go under His fences. His love placed them there.
Tweetable: Do you feel hemmed in?
Prayer: Father, thank You for the fences You erect to keep our lives on track.