Why Was the Fence Built?
A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
She was a new hire, and her supervisor was teaching her some of her new duties. One report was rather complicated, so her mentor began to explain its intricacies. "That's ridiculous," said the new clerk. "I could simplify that whole thing with an hour's work."
"Maybe you should find out why the fence was built," her boss said mildly, "before you start to tear it down. Don't make silly judgments like that until you know this company well. This form is required by the government, and there are no short-cuts."
Good idea! Find out why the fence was put there before you tear it down.
Walt and I did build fences, we made rules, to protect our teenagers. They had a curfew they could extend with a phone call if needed. As they proved their reliability, the restrictions eased. Another fence: they couldn't be alone with a date in an automobile. They could double date, or we would transport them. What a protection it was! Our daughter had a date for a school-sponsored banquet. The next day at school her date bragged that he had "made out" with the pastor's daughter the night before. But her friends had been with them the entire evening. They could vouch that he was lying, and he in shame admitted the truth.
Not always did our children appreciated the fences. Sometimes they thought they were too restrictive. But it's interesting that they make the same kind of rules for their children.
Job, the poor man in the Bible who lost everything because of Satan, didn't like the fences God put around him either. Job's livestock had been stolen, his children killed by a tornado, his body was festering with boils, and his wife deliberately taunted him. In anguish Job said about God, "He has fenced up my way, so that I cannot pass; And He has set darkness in my paths" (Job 19:8).
Oddly, Satan had uttered the same complaint to God about Job! Satan didn't like the fences God had put around Job either. Satan stood in the presence of God and made accusations against God's children. Job 1:8-10 tells the story:
"Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?' So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?'"
The fence Job protested against was the fence God used to protect him from Satan's wicked plots!
Yes, God's fences, His commandments, were given in His wisdom and mercy to protect us from harm, not to hurt us.
They are His expression of His infinite love for us. First John 5:3 says it this way:
For this is the love of God,
that we keep His commandments.
And His commandments are not burdensome.
Should you ever come to feel like throwing off the restraints God has made for your welfare, should you decide to do your own thing and flout the rules, maybe you should investigate the reasons God built the fence before you decide to tear it down.