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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1258

When God Removes the Hedge
Conclusion

November 13, 2016

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1258 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: 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! I’m not going to question Your love! I’m not gonna question Your power or Your purpose! Lord, I just leave the question in Your hand! I’m trusting You!

This is where God is going with every one of us! If we can adopt that posture, if we can find the grace to do that, it’s gonna make an awful lot of difference—make all the difference in these situations.

But anyway, they go on and on and on for chapter after chapter where they’re trying to explain their theology to him. And he’s trying to say, I didn’t do anything. And you know, I loathe my life. I’m not gonna try to go through all the arguments and all that.

He calls them ‘miserable comforters.’ And of course, he’s right in that sense, because the Lord didn’t have kind things to say about them. In spite of Job and where he got, the Lord still was upholding his righteousness. It’s amazing how God was merciful to him.

And of course, you get to a point where finally they ran out of arguments. And a young man comes in and begins to tell everybody what’s what. And he says, you guys…I’m against you. I want to show you what’s going on here. You have been telling Job all these things and yet you have not been able to show him where he’s wrong. You guys are just way off base! I know you’re older than I am, but you’ve just missed it here.

But, on the other hand, Job is so clinging to his rightness in this that’s he’s willing to question God! And say, my sense of personal rightness is so strong and so important to me, that based on what I think I know, there is something wrong with God’s justice here.

But God’s theology and God’s knowledge and God’s purpose goes way beyond this little understanding of ours. God wants a people…yeah, He wants us to know truth. But there’s something beyond theology. You can learn every doctrine, and have it down pat and be able to get 100 on a test. And that’s not the same thing as what we need.

You think about what Job did right and what he did wrong. He did a lot of things right, didn’t he? I mean, literally, upholding the righteousness of God in the face of everything that had happened. And recognizing that it all comes from His hand. He could take it away. He can give it. He’s still God! And I’m still gonna worship Him! Man, that’s amazing…the faith that he exhibited in all of that!

And standing up to these guys in all that he was going through. This was not sitting in an university classroom or faculty lounge somewhere, debating stuff. This was not just a philosophical discussion. He was sitting there, scratching himself with sores from head to foot, feeling like he wanted to die! It was at his weakest point!

You think about Jesus and how the Father sent Him to be tempted by the Devil. And the focus of the temptation was after He had fasted, what was it 30 days?

( congregation inaudible ).

That’s right 40 days. It was a bunch of time anyway. It was more than I want to try it. There He was, at His weakest. And you see, even in our Savior, the purpose of God being worked out by pulling back the hedge, and showing the Devil and His Son an experience—not just in theory but in experience, that I can stand upon the Word of God! I can do what is right! I can trust God and God will bring me through!

And you see, we find out about our Savior, that God was laying a foundation in Zion. Doesn’t it say that in several places? God laid a foundation and that foundation was a stone. But it wasn’t just a stone, it was a ‘tried stone’, one that had been put to the test and found faithful. And so, there He was…now we can build upon that foundation because God has laid it. We already know that it has stood every possible test! He was tempted…

( congregational response ).

…In all points, every way, just as we are, but He didn’t sin. So we find the grace of God sustaining Him through all the extremities of what He went through and how we’re called to build upon that. But are we not living stones?

( congregation inaudible ).

Isn’t God building, not just a little corner stone but a whole temple to live in? Are we not that temple? We sing about it. Do you think we’re gonna be stones in His temple without being tried…without being found faithful in all kinds of circumstances?

I’ll tell you, we live in a world where the world system…Jesus said, we’re gonna have trouble in the world. He’s not just talking about the globe. He’s talking about a system of government…of life. There’s a spiritual side to it. There’s a government over it. It’s a system ruled over by wicked spirits. This is the context in which we come to live.

He said, I’ve overcome the world. Praise God! You’re gonna have trouble but I have overcome it! But we have to live here. And I’ll tell you…just as we have angels that are assigned to us…thank God…do you not realize that there are devils who are assigned? Who have a nice thick folder on you and me…about our weaknesses and our personal characteristics…because everyone is different. There are things we have in common, but there are certain unique-nesses about every one of us. And there are devils that know your weakness.

And I’ll tell you, there comes a time for every one of us, where God says, I want to help this brother, this sister. I want to help them in this area. But, I can only do so much by telling them about it. I mean, they’ve heard all the sermons about it. But now it’s time for them to deal with that issue in battle!

And the only way I can do that is…I’ve got this hedge about them. The Devil would love to do something but he can’t. I’m gonna remove the hedge a little bit and I’m going to particularly allow the Devil to probe that weakness. Did he not do that with Peter?

( congregational amens ).

Yeah. What the Lord told Peter was, Satan has ‘asked’ that he might sift you. Does that not tell us something…that Satan had to get permission to do what he did with Peter? And the Lord said, don’t worry, I’ve prayed for you. You need to pray. But he said, I prayed for you, what?

( congregational response ).

That it won’t happen? That the hedge won’t be moved? You’ll never experience this? No! I’ve prayed for you that your faith fail not! In other words, you’re gonna have to go through this, but I’ve got a purpose that’s going to strengthen and do something for your faith! And when you come through this, you’re the one who’s going to be in a position to strengthen your brothers…the ones who didn’t go through this!

So, who came out ahead? Think about it! It was the one who came through all of this…went through the heartache, the bitter tears that flowed when he realized what he had done. The doubts! The questions! The fears! All those things that he had to go through. But in the process he met Jesus in a way that changed him forever. He grew, he learned about the love and the forgiveness of God that didn’t throw him out because he failed.

Peter was a self-confident, zealous man who didn’t understand. Again, nobody here would be like that! But he thought…was he sincere when he said what he did? Sure he was! He said, I’ll never do that! Was he lying? No! He really believed it! But he did not understand the warfare and the battle that he was in. He didn’t know that he was no match for what was coming against him. He needed divine help!

And so, the Lord taught him in a way…that’s the kind of thing…you can hear it in here, and that’s great because you need the knowledge. But I’ll tell you, there are a lot of us who hear things about our condition, about our need, about how much we need the Lord! And somehow, it never dawns on us that it’s really true about me, now! That I really can’t stand up to what the Devil is capable of throwing at me when the hedge is pulled back.

Well! How many of you had to learn things the hard way? Yeah, I certainly have! And I thank God for it!

( congregational amens ).

You know, we need our self-confidence destroyed—self-confidence to be replaced with the only confidence that really works! That’s a confidence in Him and His love! Praise God!

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! Oh, my goodness! If we had to depend on self-confidence, only the strong would survive! But God has leveled the playing field, where all we can do is just lift up our hearts and just praise Him!

And so you know, the Lord looked down and I know He knew, I know He was compassionate. He understood what was going on. He waits until Elihu, the young man, gets done. Then, finally He comes in. The Lord steps in and says, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” (NIV). Don’t you think the Lord knows just a bit more that we do?

( congregational response ).

You see, that’s our problem. We, as I said earlier, we will somehow, if we get in a situation and we’re experiencing warfare, temptation, something, and the feelings aren’t there, and we’re can’t seem to break through—seems like the prayers bounce off the ceiling. What do we do? We reason, don’t we? We are subject to trying to figure it out. Upon what ground will we figure it out? We’re going to figure it out by reasoning in our own strength, based again upon what we think we do know…and on top of that, the Devil is constantly going to be shoveling in his ideas.

And so we’re gonna be going back-and-forth...I mean, what did I do? And He won’t tell me! So God must be not the kind of a God I thought he was, ‘cause I know I was doing right and here I am! It’s bad! And He won’t answer me!

He had every reason to go through all of that at the time. But the problem is, he didn’t have all the answers. He didn’t see like God sees. This earth-bound idea, the theology that they had, was just simply about life here. If I’m wicked, God punishes me. If I’m righteous, He blesses me! He didn’t have any idea about anything beyond this.

This is a temporary world…that God is preparing a people to live with Him in a perfect place forever! And there is a whole bunch of work He needs to do…a transformation of the heart! And a growth of that new life that has to happen in order for us to be fit to live there! God’s going to engineer that, one way or another!

And oh, how we limit Him by our ignorance. And God longs to take us to a place where we know things that can only be known by experience. We can only know them because we meet the Lord in the valley! When we are at our worst! Circumstances are at our worst. We have fallen on our face in the mud and there we meet God, who is willing to lift us up and clean us off…and welcome us as His sons and His daughters!

Praise God! There is no…there is nothing beyond that kind of knowledge! That’s another realm! You could sit in a church and know it all from the standpoint of the scriptures and never know something like this, until you went through it!

( congregational amens ).

And the Lord was doing something wonderful for him and for us, by extension. And so, you have several chapters where the Lord is just really laying it out, and just giving Job a perspective that just went beyond anything that he had ever heard. He had heard about God. But, he didn’t hear this stuff!

Then all of a sudden, his mouth is stopped and he realizes, oh my God, I’ve been sitting here talking about God. I didn’t know what I was talking about! Do you ever come to that place?

( congregational amens ).

Yeah! God, I had this thought about you! And, Lord have mercy, was I completely wrong, or what! And anyway, that’s when he says, “Surely I spoke of things…” This is chapter 42. “…I did not understand, things too wonderful for me…You said, Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”

Now he says, “My ears had heard of you…” This is that second-hand knowledge that had come to him. He knew about God—knew a lot of things. “…But now my eyes have seen You.” God wants you, and you, and you and me, to have a real, personal experience with God.

( congregational amens ).

And in the light of that kind of experience, we learn about ourselves—we learn the truth about ourselves. But we learn the truth about Him! We learn that the things He says in here are true! Just like Jesus relied on the Word of God at His weakest point, He went right to this and stood on it! Very simple, wasn’t it? Not easy, but simple!

But you know, we need to learn things about the Devil in these circumstances. We need to get wise, because Paul referred, in Chapter 6 of Ephesians, that we refer to so many times…the wiles, the tricks, the strategies that the Devil employs to try to bring us down.

There are weaknesses that you have. And if God allows…God pulls back the hedge and lets the Devil probe that weakness, He’s not doing it to defeat you or to discourage you, or me. He’s doing it to teach us that we can overcome if we will do it His way! If we will trust Him! Learn of Him!

When we fall, we come to Him! We receive the cleansing that’s based, not upon us and our worth, but upon what Jesus did! And then, we get up and we go on and we fight on scriptural ground! And we’re going to find out that God fights our battle!

( congregational amens ).

And then we realize, I need to pray! I need to depend upon God! I need to walk with Him! I just need Him! Because we do not have a theology to ascribe to! We have a Person! And God’s purpose is that that Person come in as ‘Resident Lord’ to transform us from the inside out, and to give us a new heart and a new life!

( congregational amens ).

And oh, God’s gonna bring us to the point where that’s the reality, because if it isn’t, we don’t have what it takes to stand up against the darkness of this world! And if the battle does not come, we will sit there and coast in our comfortable little nest!

But God loves us too much! Oh I can just sort of see God’s heart…listening to all this debate down there and knowing they were just pontificating about stuff. It’s almost like what you’d see on some of these websites! Good Lord! They’re going to debate theology! I can take about two or three sentences and I just walk away from it…ignorant people.

But I don’t want to have that kind of understanding. I want one that comes from having met Him, experienced Him! And the kind of experience that changes us is the kind that happens in the valley most of the time...that’s when we realize He’s faithful, underneath are the everlasting arms! Praise God!

And of course, you see where it goes. When the Lord had Job pray for these friends ‘cause they were of no help. They thought they were telling him right and they just didn’t have any clue. They were going on human knowledge and reasoning. But the Lord blessed him! He gave him twice as much as he had before! It even resulted in natural blessings! That’s not what it’s about! But God can do that!

But I’ll tell you, the blessing we need is the blessing of having Him. You think about what Brother Saeed has right now. He doesn’t have much in this world, does he? He’s separated from his family, in pain, oppressed, physically tortured at times. But I’ll tell you, I believe with all my heart, he’s in the center of God’s will at this moment. We can pray for him.

But God is getting us ready for our place in the end of this age. He is going to empower people in this place to stand and to be a light! But we’re not gonna get there if we can’t stand up to a little bit of depression, oppression, little bit of trouble, little bit of feeling bad, little bit of this.

We need to rise up and get on our hind legs, spiritually speaking, and say, God, You are in charge! You pulled the hedge back to help me! You didn’t do it to hurt me! You did it to grow me up! You did it so I would rely upon You and not upon me! You did it so I’d get my eyes off of my little ‘pity party’ and ‘my feelings,’ and get them on Your purposes! And let You change me and make me somebody that I’m not—that I could never be in myself! Lord, I just want you.

I’ll tell you, if we’ll listen and learn in these times, we’re gonna grow up. How many of you feel like we need to grow up?

( congregational amens ).

Yeah! There ain’t no other way! But we’ve got a God who knows how to manage the hedge. In fact, doesn’t He say that? “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able…”(KJV). Now He’s not talking about human strength. “But, will with the temptation also make a way to escape...” But, what’s the way of escape?

( congregational response ).

That we will not be able to bear it. So, He takes the hedge. He allows the Devil in. But then He gives us what it takes to stand up against that. And in standing up, our faith becomes stronger! Do you know there’s strong faith and weak faith?

( congregation inaudible ).

God wants faith to become stronger.

( congregational amens ).

Paul spoke of some who are weak in the faith. He also spoke of Abraham, who was strong in faith!

( congregational amens ).

Giving glory to God! And he waited those twenty-five years and he received the promise! Well, I just sense that, in a lot of ways, this is where we’re at. This is why things are happening the way they’re happening.

And I’ll tell you what, I don’t know where you’re at specifically. But I feel like the Lord wants to encourage us, to grow us up again. We’re talking about truth here that I believe is true and applies. But the only way we’re going to get this is to go through it. The only way this is gonna move from just having gotten in our heads and we say, yeah, yeah…to where it really means something, is we’re gonna have to meet the Lord in the circumstances that He’s describing.

Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. Remember His promises. He’s never going to bring us into something that’s too much. He’s always gonna be enough. We can always look to Him, and experience His victory in the middle of it! But there is no victory without a battle, is there? What good is it to say, I’m the victor, and you’ve never faced a foe.

( congregational amens ).

It doesn’t make much sense, does it? But I’ll tell you, we have a God who knows when to close the hedge and when to open it for His eternal purposes. And don’t ever forget, that what He’s doing isn’t just about here. It’s about there! And it’s about here, in the heart! And He knows what He’s doing! And He will finish what He’s started! Praise God!