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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1257

When God Removes the Hedge
Part One

November 6, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1257 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Brother Phil Enlow: Good morning.

( congregational response ).

I am betting that I am not the only one who’s experienced a lot of oppression this week. It seems like it’s been one of those weeks when the Lord steps back sometimes and lets you feel your weakness. It felt like that during the service Wednesday night. Was I the only one that felt that? It seemed like everybody was tired and struggling and just kind of ‘under the circumstances’ a little bit.

But I just was thinking about that and my mind went to a number of Scriptures, but certainly Job comes to mind. And I guess, if I were gonna put some kind of subject on this, it would be something like, “When God Removes the Hedge.” And you know, I think we realize, if we really know anything about the Lord, that we believe that God’s in control, don’t we?

( congregational response ).

We sing, ‘nothing can happen outside of God’s will,’ and we know that no matter what the Devil does, God is absolutely in control. There’s nothing that happens that it’s where the Devil slips up on Him, and slips in and does something, and God’s just sort of looking the other way. God is absolutely in charge. And so, we can’t step back and do like Job actually wound up doing, which was questioning the Lord.

But anyway, you remember how we had this story about this man named Job. I feel like it’s evident that he lived in the post-flood world. I don’t know exactly when…somewhere in the east is about all we know. It was east of Israel, because it almost had to have been a Jew or an Israelite who wrote the book. And so, from his point of view it was east…don’t know how far.

But anyway, one clue is in the fact that after the story was over, he lived 140 more years and people didn’t live that long going forward very far. But in the post-flood years, you still had a certain amount of that longevity that they had before the flood that was carried over, and people lived long lives.

And, I’ll just refer to a phrase that Job used toward the end of the book, when he finally had his real meeting with God about what had happened. And he said this, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear.” (KJV).

Now just think about that part of it. And you realize that the knowledge of God that Job had was really kind of second-hand. It was the kind you could get out of a book, if there was a book. It was no doubt word-of-mouth. Evidently he came from a godly line of people who had heard, maybe some of them from Noah, himself, ‘cause Noah lived a long time after the flood himself.

And there were people…it wasn’t many generations. And so the message of the flood, the reality of God, a God who has created everything, was not that far removed from the culture of those who had continued to maintain a knowledge of God. And so, he knew that there was a God who hated evil, who judged evil, was able to…he was faithful in saving His own, but He destroyed the world of that day.

And, so they knew that He hated what was wrong. He hated what was evil. He loved what was good. He blessed those who did good. And so, he had quite a body of knowledge and if you listen to, or read the dialogue with him and his would-be comforters, they knew a lot. It’s amazing, some of the knowledge—the detailed knowledge they had of God and His ways.

And so their theology was not really limited, in a sense. They were not far from a real knowledge of truth, but it was still kind of hand-me-down. It was something that…it caused Job to realize that there was a God, to really watch himself to make sure that he did what was right. It even says that when his children would have a feast, that he would actually after that, he would offer sacrifices. And his reason was that maybe they sinned in their heart…there was a real sensitivity to God and a desire to do right and desire to be right with God. And, in other words, he was walking in the light he had.

And so, all of a sudden you come into this scene where the angels, undoubtedly it says sons of God in the King James and the Hebrew, but undoubtedly this was referring to angels, who came to God one day and Satan shows up. You know, he’d been cast off into the earth and we see the fruit of his work here after he’d rebelled against God. But Satan comes in, and it’s God who brings up Job.

And so, if we step back, we can sort of see that God had a purpose that obviously, for a long period of time, was very mysterious to the folks that were in the middle of it, particularly to Job. He didn’t have a clue what was going on, but God had this amazing purpose to bring Job into something greater than what he already had. He saw this is a righteous man, but I don’t want him to have just a hand-me-down religion. How many of you know that these things apply today?

( congregational response ).

God does not want anybody to have a religion that is just simply a product of sermons and books, and even reading the Bible. God wants everyone to know Him. And so, you can sort of read between the lines and see that God is setting something up here. He’s the one who points out to the Devil, “Have you considered my servant Job?” (NIV).

You know, I think from time to time of a scripture in Ephesians 3 about how the Lord is demonstrating His wisdom to the powers and principalities, because they thought…Satan thought it was the wise thing to do to rebel against God and to be his own God, to take charge and just go his own way. And the Lord is gonna show him! He’s gonna demonstrate through us the true wisdom of God, because Satan’s wisdom will absolutely lead us to destruction, but God’s wisdom leads to life.

And many times He uses us as a demonstration to the kingdom of darkness, because when God’s grace is manifested in our lives and we’re on board with what God is doing, and we’re cooperating and we’re growing, and we’re getting closer to Him, and freer from the enemy, the Devil cannot win for losing.

And so what happens here is that Satan objects and said, yeah! Sure, You’ve blessed him. That’s why he’s serving You. You’ve just given him everything. Why wouldn’t he serve You? It’s all self-interest, God. And besides that, You have put a hedge about him. I can’t get to him anyway! If You just let me get to him, I’ll show You!

And so, here’s where the Lord’s sovereignty comes in. The Lord takes away the hedge, up to a point. That’s a wonderful thing to remember! When God moves the hedge, it’s always with a very calculated…to a carefully measured degree. And so the Lord says, all right, you can touch everything that he has, but spare his life. Don’t touch him.

And so…oh my! One after the other, you see these disasters. All his camels are gone. All his sheep are gone. A house collapses and all his children are killed! I mean, it’s amazing! When you think about the power that the Devil has, and you realize that we’re actually getting along, more or less. We have our trials and all of that. There is a God who has a hedge about His people.

( congregational amens ).

There’s nothing that happens that God does not allow! And when we see God allowing terrible things in the world, we need to realize that He’s doing it for a reason, that He’s doing it for an eternal purpose!

And so anyway, Job really demonstrates his faith, even though in a degree it was a hand-me-down faith—to a great degree. He literally bows down on the ground and worships and he says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” I don’t many of us would have the faith to say that, or to realize that what we have, the Lord gave us.

( congregational amens ).

You know, we just heard about that from Dave Ramsey in that last lesson. That was a very good point to be made. We are not the possessors! We are not the creators! We are the stewards of what God has given into our hands. And so, Job recognized that…and I don’t know to what degree Job understood about the Devil. That’s a question in my mind. I don’t see much evidence in here that he’s really…that’s part of his theology. It’s me and God. I do good and He blesses me. I do evil and He punishes me. There’s not much beyond that. You break it down and that’s almost their theology that they understood.

But nonetheless, he saw the hand of God in this disaster that overtook him. I mean, you think about it. Everything in just an hour or two is gone, including his family, except his wife. And the Devil left her around. She wasn’t a lot of help!

( laughter ).

Was she? She didn’t seem to share a lot of his faith. So anyway, it says, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

You see, that’s kind of where this is all going. What happens when something happens that goes beyond our little theology, our concept of God? Suddenly questions begin to arise in our minds. There begins to be a doubtfulness. There begins to all kinds of reasonings that come in that are contrary to what God has told us.

And even though we possess a knowledge of God that many times it’s the product of sermons that you’ve heard, things you’ve heard your parents say, things you’ve heard somebody else say, things you’ve read in a book, things you’ve read in the Bible even. And you have a head knowledge of that and you affirm it. You say, yes, I believe that. The question is, do we believe it when it matters?

( congregational amens ).

And that many times is the sticking point. And you know, I was thinking about why in the world…this week has just been one of those weeks! I confess I just kind of went on ‘pause.’ Am I the only one.

( congregational response ).

And of course, the weather didn’t help. But there was an oppression in the air and it just seemed like the Lord allowed the enemy to oppress and tempt…and it was just, where’s God. I don’t have any feelings, and we know we’re supposed to serve Him that way, but we…they bring us down, don’t they? They affect us. And it’s like God took…as we went on through the week…it was, God, You took the hedge away, didn’t You?

I could not have experienced that if You had not stepped back and allowed the Devil to do what He did. And so, I need to step back and say, Lord, I believe You. There needs to come a point where we have enough confidence in God that that doesn’t throw us.

And so anyway, you remember what happened then. The Devil comes back and says, okay, yeah, yeah, I get it. He’s not serving You just because of what You give Him. Good on Job and all that stuff, but I know something about human beings. I know that they will give everything they have to preserve their own flesh and their own comfort and their own life. And so the Lord says, all right, do whatever you want, but spare his life.

Once again, God is moving the hedge, but only so far. It’s very carefully orchestrated. God is still in charge! But He’s doing something! He’s just using the Devil as a servant, in a sense! And so, remember what happens. All of a sudden, he’s got boils or sores, whatever you want to call them, all over his body and he’s totally miserable.

And on top of that, his wife jumps in and says, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” I’ll tell you how to get out of this! I’ll tell you how to end your pain! Just curse God and die and be done with it! That’s the end of the story!

And, he says, “You are talking like a foolish woman.” I mean, even in that, he didn’t say, you are a foolish woman, he said, you talk like one. Boy, think of the grace, think of the character that you’re dealing with here. This was an unusual guy. And what God was seeking to do was to bring Job into something greater than he had known before.

God is looking at this guy and saying this is a guy, who with all his heart he’s walking in what he knows. I want him to be closer to Me. I want him to know more about Me. I want to make My knowledge known through him. This is somebody that I want to really exalt and bring his story out, so that throughout all the ages people will know something about Me that will help them. How many of you have found comfort and strength in the Book of Job.

( congregational response ).

Yeah. I can’t imagine, other than God just doing this, how this all came to be, and the detail…it had to be divine inspiration! Because Job didn’t write this…and this had to have been written later. So there was a strong body of knowledge of what had happened here that God just brought out.

And so now, Job is really in misery and he’s got his friends who are gonna explain it. But you know, here again is the situation. You’ve got his friends who aren’t experiencing this and they have got their theology. They’ve got all the stuff they know. And how many of you realize that we’ve got a problem with what we think we know?

( congregational response ).

Every one of us is limited in our explanation and we get into trouble constantly…not constantly, frequently…anyway, we get into trouble at times — you got the point — when we are trying to make sense of something that is happening in our lives and we’re doing it based upon what we think we know about God and how He does stuff!

And, into that mix, you’ve got God standing back sometimes and He’s not explaining Himself. Sometimes, yes, the Lord…I mean, every situation is different. But sometimes the Lord will give us a word of encouragement, but other times He will just stand back and remain silent. Does that, by the way, mean He’s gone away?

( congregational response ).

It doesn’t mean He’s not faithful to His promise, that He’s no longer with us, that He no longer loves us. But boy, is the Devil faithful to try to minister on that subject to our unbelieving and doubtful minds. Here’s God trying to take us into a new realm, a new level of understanding of Him and His ways, and we’re sitting there stewing and wondering, what did I do? Because the God that I serve blesses those who do right and punishes those who do wrong, and this feels like punishment.

This oppression, this temptation…He wants me to do right and He lets me be tempted. What’s the deal? I don’t get this! He lets my circumstances become difficult! I don’t understand why! If He wants me to serve Him, why does He allow it? Why does He allow my desires to rage in ways that are not right if He wants me to serve Him? I don’t understand, God! I don’t understand Your ways! It doesn’t fit my theology!

It’s quiet. Well, this didn’t fit anybody’s theology in that day. This was an early day. They knew enough to know that there’s a God who is over all. They knew enough to know that God punishes sin. They saw…I mean the flood was a real recent event. And here they are. And so, his friends are going to sit there and pontificate out of their theology and their message is a relentless one! We know God blesses the righteous! We know He punishes the evil! You must have done something to deserve this!

That was the limit of their understanding and their concept of God! And what’s amazing to me is how many scriptures we can look at in this Book and quote them as wonderful revelations of truth about God, and yet they came out of the mouths of these guys, many of them. It’s not that what they knew was totally wrong! It’s that they were taking knowledge and trying to apply it with human reasoning and human understanding. Of course, we would never do such a thing, would we? Unless we had a chance!

( congregational response ).

Oh my. You see the danger. You see how the process plays out. God has got to take us into areas that are beyond our knowledge and our understanding and the things that we would desire, because we naturally want things to be smooth and comfortable. We love the kind of theology that says, if I do right, I’m gonna be blessed.

Oh, I’ll tell you, God is so much deeper than that. The Pharisees had that! We don’t need Pharisees. We need people who have had the heart transplant Josh was talking about. Oh, God is longing to do something that’s so deep in here that it begins to come out and it begins to express itself.

But oh, if He doesn’t do something really unusual, we are going to simply go the way of least resistance. We’re gonna be following our nature. We’re gonna be seeking comfort. Were gonna be seeking everything in the world except to be able to grow in our knowledge of Him.

We love what we get out of books. We love what we get out of even the Bible! And we can glory in that and affirm it. But there’s a point at which we have assimilated a body of knowledge, but it really is just a philosophy of life. It’s little more than that sometimes. It’s stuff we believe, stuff we ascribe…we go by. But it’s really us in charge. Do you understand what I’m saying?

( congregational response ).

We love to be the master, the functional director of our own lives and simply use good principles, but we’re the ones in charge, and God has got to break that down or He’s not gonna be Lord.

( congregational amens ).

It’s gonna be us! And we can’t simply leave the Devil’s principles, adopt God’s principles, but it’s still us on the throne. That doesn’t work. That doesn’t work. God is looking for issues of the heart.

But oh, these guys were just relentless. I mean, Job was all over the map. He’s saying I curse the day I was born…oh, would that my mother…that I’d been stillborn and all that stuff. There’s a whole lot of the kind of things that we would feel, every one of us. Don’t look at me like you’re super spiritual. It wouldn’t feel that way. You’d feel that way in spades. Oh, God. He’s fighting off depression of the worst sort.

And here’s God who has pulled…remember the context! God has pulled the hedge back knowing what was going to happen…knowing that He was going to have to contend with all this stuff…knowing how he was going to react! Why would He do such a thing?

Does it fit your theology? I mean, these are things we sort of know. Again, out of the body of our knowledge we know…yeah, trials have a purpose and all that stuff. But oh, when you get in the middle of it, and when we’re experiencing the oppression…and experiencing a literal attack and there’s a spirit and you know it! It doesn’t feel like our theology is quite enough. What in the world is that about?

So anyway, of course, these guys, as I say, get to explain that to him. And he, over and over and over again, contends that he hasn’t done anything and he just wishes he could get together with God somewhere and hash this out and get an explanation! And say, God, I’ve been doing right! Why is this happening? That’s what he wants to do. He wants to literally be able to question God.

You know, that’s not a good thing to do! That’s the first thing that we need to learn when something is going on! It’s to say, God, I don’t understand. But, the thing that I don’t understand, I am not going to allow this to cause me to question You!