Thursday, 20 January 2011

A Hedge of Protection

The current devastating floods that have washed over Australia have ruined the fruit and vegetable industry. I'd like to brag that I could see prophetically that this was going to happen. But I can't, because I didn't. However, a few months ago I planted a vegetable garden. I have a few corn plants, beans, lettuce, chives, and tomatoes growing. So as the Global Food Crisis (GFC) bites harder, we'll continue to be eating well on chives and beans with home-made tomato sauce! But after I planted my vegetables, I discovered that the local birds and wildlife were helping themselves to my fledgling plants. I then had to fence and net my vegetables. While they were grateful for the protection, I discovered that somehow there was one tomato plant seedling (which I hadn't planted) was growing about 4 metres away from my vegetable patch. This prompted me to make a decision.

I decided to put a wire hedge around this free-range tomato. I still have no idea how this maverick tomato plant got there, but I knew that unless I protected it - it wouldn't remain there much longer. Inside its wire fenced protection it has survived frequent visits by wallabies, rabbits, and various birds. And over the past few weeks this single tomato plant has gone from 3 inches tall to nearly 3 feet tall! It has also meshed somewhat with its wire fence and is now dependent upon it for support. This past week it has gone into horticultural labour. It's amazing what a hedge of protection will enable.
Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.Job 1:10
When Satan came before God back in the days of the Old Covenant, when he still had access to God's Throne-Room, he complained that he was unable to attack Job because God had also been "hedged" or "fenced" by God. Today, God still fences and places people inside a protective hedge. In fact, Jesus told a story of a shepherd who cared for his sheep by placing them within a hedged pen. When they were safely protected he went out and searched for the one missing lamb. The Shepherd of the flock of God still places His sheep within a protective pen. And this leads me to my other tomato plants.
 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.

Psalm 91:14
While my maverick tomato plant is flourishing, I forgot to mention that within my vegetable patch I have another dozen tomato plants who spend their days singing, laughing, rejoicing, playing, and having a good time. These tomato plants enjoy living within the fenced and netted vegie patch. They are also much larger and much more pregnant and much further into their horticultural labour than my maverick tomato plant. There is something about being protected within a community that causes tomato plants to thrive. I think people might be like tomato plants. Sure, on their own they can do well - as long they live within strong boundaries - but they can always do better they live out their purpose within a protective community.
Thank God for the Church.
Father, continue to protect Your people as they live within the boundaries of the spiritual hedges You have provided. Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

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