Hemmed In

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
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Psalm 139:5 – You hem me in — behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. (NIV)

The fence was there for a purpose — not just for looks.

The first house that I lived in on my own 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 farmed — so I decided to set up a small farm. I bought twenty chickens, two goats, and two hogs.

Before buying any of my animals, I erected two fences. For the chickens, I built a six-foot-high fence, 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 tendencies. 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 that they love to fly over a fence and roost up high.

I didn't hem in my animals because I wanted to make their lives miserable. Just the opposite. I knew that if they got out, they might be killed by other animals, run over on the highway, or tempted to go into the neighbour's yard and root up everything. The fence protected them.

The psalmist also knew that 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 tend 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 inside 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.

Let's learn to live within the hemming boundaries of what God has erected. He provides the fences for our good, not our detriment.

Prayer: Father, thank You for hemming us in so that we won't wander on paths that we'd be better off leaving alone. Amen.

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About the author:

Martin Wiles <mandmwiles@gmail.com>
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks, Martin. Praise God for His fences!

    Amen Martin. Thanks for sharing.
    God’s blessings all the way.

    Just right, Martin! Really enjoyed the memories this brings up. I think it has inspired another for me. Blessings.

    Your devotional about being hemmed in is excellent. It was a surprise for me. I appreciated your detail about keeping each animal safe in its own way.

    Very well said, Martin, and since we live on a ranch in a rural county of Texas, the illustrations were understood readily.
    Thank you.

    Dear Martin: Your message was an inspiration for both my wife and I. We grew up on farms. Your story brought back many wonderful memories. Thanks so much.
    (Ontario, Canada)

    Life is full of restrictions some good others not.
    We can count on God to lead us out of the restrictions that are not of Him and know the wisdom of those he has put in place. We just need to ask.

    Hi Martin
    My Dad always said (who was a farmer) “Good fences create good neighbours ” since no neighbour appreciates cows or other creatures wandering through a crop ready for harvest.

    “Hemmed In
    Psalm 139:5 – You hem me in — behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. (NIV)
    The fence was there for a purpose — not just for looks.”
    Appreciate the paradoxical sentiment that the psalmist “enjoyed being hemmed in.” One could mediate on this devotional … for a lifetime.

    Hi, Martin
    Another good devotional. Thanks for sharing.
    I noticed that you live in Greenwood, SC. My mother-in-law lived there for many years. It is a small world.
    Keep on keeping on.

    Martin, Thanks for this insightful devotional. Your endeavors to protect your small animal flock remind me of my efforts to protect my canine companion, a young one who would race into the road or run pell-mell into the bush after a rabbit and get lost. Thus she’s micro chipped and is leashed when we’re outside for her own good. Blessings.

    Dear Martin,
    Your story of the knowledge you gained from your grandparents and the reason for the fences was a good way of exampling the Bible verse. Understanding the reasons for something helps us to be positive and grateful for why God has designed it. We won’t always understand God’s ways for our lives, but little clues helps us to obey and to thank God even when times are difficult. Thank you for always sharing honestly and from your heart.

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