Heart Cry for Revival Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Text: “Why have You broken down her hedges, So that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit?...Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; Look down from heaven and see, And visit this vine" (Ps. 80:12, 14).
Scripture Reading: Psalm 80
Let’s begin by reading our text for today: “Why have You broken down her hedges So that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit?...Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; Look down from heaven and see, And visit this vine" (Ps. 80:12, 14).
What I read is verses 12 and 14 of Psalm 80.
Read the entire Psalm sometime; it’s a wonderful prayer for the restoration of Israel, but it also contains a truth which is vitally important to all of us.
It is a word from God that will help us to understand what’s happening in our world today.
If we will listen to what God has to say and then do what He says, it will lead us to have a cry for revival that comes from our heart.
We need revival personally and revival will pump new life into the church.
For our Bible lesson today, let’s consider three words that pinpoint this truth-hedges, hope, and heart cry.
The first word to consider is “hedges.”
Verse 12 says, “Why have You broken down her hedges.”
We want to have a clear understanding of what God is saying, so let’s see first, “what is the purpose of the hedges.”
The Hebrew words for “hedge” mean simply “that which surrounds or encloses,” whether it is a stone wall or a fence of some other materials.
Today, the stone wall hedges which surround the sheepfolds of modern Palestine are frequently crowned with sharp thorns.
Together, they make a pretty good barrier to confine the sheep.
What do you think about when you hear the word hedges?
If you are like me, you see hedgerows.
I was raised in Kansas where the farms are sectioned off by hedgerows that usually have a straight line of trees and a barbed wire fence, so that’s what I think of.
Or perhaps what comes to mind are the beautiful hedges that are so prominent around our homes.
If you have hedges, you know that it takes a lot of care to keep them clipped in whatever shapes you have fashioned.
Last year, Sierra and I visited the Biltmore Estates in North Carolina.
They had miles of hedges that were beautifully maintained.
That is some of my thoughts about hedges, but what we want to know is what the biblical understanding of hedges is.
In the Bible, we find hedges around three things.
First, there is the hedge that God put around the nation of Israel.
God protected Israel from all her enemies as long as they obeyed Him, but when they turned away from Him to worship other gods, and then they became corrupt in their actions, God took away the hedge.
When God left them exposed, their enemies would attack, because they were just waiting for an opportunity to destroy them.
I think that this would be a good lesson for America.
We must return to being a Christian nation, and worship and obey God so that he doesn’t remove our hedge.
Second, there is the hedge that God places around a family.
It says in Job, “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side…?” (Job 1:10).
This is the question Satan asked God.
Satan argued that the Lord had put around Job and all his possessions a protective “hedge” that no one could penetrate without God’s permission.
He suggested that it was only this hedge that had kept Job faithful.
God put a hedge around Job and his family.
But we must not think that if we are good, we can make God do the same for us.
God is sovereign, and though he often blesses those who serve Him, we can’t force Him to do so.
None of us are sinless or good enough to demand blessings from God as a reward for faithful service.
However, the implication here is that those who love God and
seek to serve Him with all their heart has a hedge about them today.
Satan cannot touch them unless God allows it, and even then it is for some purpose of God.
On the other hand, through the sin of unbelief, a person can abandon the protection of God, and leave himself open to the attacks of Satan.
Third, there is the hedge that God puts around a person.
The prophet Hosea wrote, “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, And wall her in, So that she cannot find her paths” (Hos. 2:6).
The suggestion here is that God will restrain us from wandering into sin-the sinful path is hedged with thorns.
The crosses we have to bear are great blessings if they make the way of sin difficult so that we don’t go that way.
God’s hedge is an invisible wall of protection that He builds around a nation, a family, a person, a church or even around our possessions when we are obedient to Him.
In our scripture reading today, the hedge was protection for a vineyard.
In the Bible, many times a vineyard represents the nation of Israel and that is the meaning today.
God protected and blessed Israel as long as they obeyed Him.
In the New Testament, Jesus prayed for Peter; He essentially built a hedge around him.
It says in Luke 22:31-32, “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail…”
It is comforting to know that Christ also prays for us as He did for Peter.
He knows what we experience, because He shared our experiences and He makes intercession for us.
Jesus also prayed for the protection of His disciples.
He said in John, “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are…I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (Jn. 17:11, 15).
In these verses, Jesus is speaking of His death as if it had already occurred.
He asks the Father to stand guard over the disciples in this wicked world and to protect them against Satan.
Like Jesus, Paul also prayed for those under his spiritual care.
For example, in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Paul wrote about the power of God that is available for our protection.
He wrote, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
When Paul wrote these verses, he knew that the Corinthians were in grave danger of being led astray by false teachers.
The Corinthian church needed to express loyalty to Christ by demonstrating loyalty to Paul, Christ’s representative.
He urged the Corinthians to use spiritual weapons to war against Satan.
He urged them to pull down the strongholds that had been established in their minds by making every thought obedient to Christ.
We have seen that God has several purposes for the hedges that he places around us, but next, consider that there is a problem with hedges.
Verse 10 mentions “broken-down hedges.”
Somehow the hedge around Israel was demolished, and the nation was ravaged by enemies like a pack of wolves ravage a deer it has brought down.
Today enemies like wolves are running rampant throughout the world, the nation and even our own area.
The United States has been suffering a critical moral crisis for many years.
We have been confronted with terrorism, street crime, domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual immorality, and the decay of marriage and the family.
But there is more.
Spiritual illiteracy, apathy, irreverence, greed, pride-all threaten America.
Something has been happening in America.
Our hedges are almost broken down.
Who has broken down the hedges?
Verse 12 says that God is the one who has done this.