The fence was there for a purpose—not just for looks. It hemmed in.
The first house I lived in was situated on two acres outside 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—a six-foot fence for the chickens, complete with one-by-fours around the bottom, and a hog wire one for the hogs, complete with stakes that fastened it to the ground. 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 loved 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 on the highway, or tempted to go into the neighbor’s yard and root up everything. The fence protected them.
“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5 NIV)
The psalmist also knew God hemmed him in for a reason. God’s commands and principles, as well as his daily interaction in his life, hemmed him in. He enjoyed God’s restrictions.
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 us back into the fence with his discipline when we get out. He loves us and wants us to experience the best in life—which we won’t if we go over or under what H=he’s put there to hem us 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 is an author, pastor, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina. He is the founder and editor of the internationally recognized website, Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and an Administrator/Editor for Vinewords.net. He has authored seven books. His most recent is Don’t Just Live…Really Live.He has also been published in numerous publications. He is the husband of one, the father of two, and the grandfather of six.