“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:5 NIV
The fence was there for a purpose-not just for looks.
The first house I lived in was situated on two acres of land just outside of town. Gardening and farming had always been in my blood-I suppose because both of my grandfathers had, so I decided to set up a small farm. I bought 20 chickens, 2 goats, and 2 hogs.
Before buying any of my animals, I erected two fences. A six-foot high fence for the chickens, complete with one by fours around the bottom. For the hogs, I put up hog wire and fastened it to the ground with stakes. Though I’d had none of these animals before, I knew their tendency. My maternal grandfather raised hogs, and I watched as they continuously tried to root under the fence. Since goats go over, I topped the fence with barbed wire. I’d watched my maternal grandmother raise chickens, so I knew they love to fly over a fence and roost up high.
I didn’t hem my animals in because I wanted to make their lives miserable. Just the opposite. I knew if they got out, they might be killed by other animals, run over in the highway, or tempted to go into the neighbor’s yard and root up everything. The fence protected them.
The psalmist also knew God hemmed him in for a reason. He was hemmed in by God’s commands and principles as well as His daily interaction in his life. He enjoyed being hemmed in.
As His child, God hems me in also. Instead of looking at His commands and principles as cruel and cumbersome-things given to make my life miserable, I see them for my good. Like my hogs and goats, I have a tendency to root under God’s commands and jump over His principles. Things on the other side look more appealing.
But God knows what’s best. That’s why He gave guiding ideologies. And that’s why He gently brings me back into the fence with His discipline when I get out. He loves me and wants me to experience the best in life-which I won’t if I go over or under what He’s put there to hem me in.
Learn to live within the hemming boundaries of what God has erected. He provides the fences for your good, not your detriment.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA