Originally published as Zareba of God’s Word]
One morning, while I was perusing my dictionary in pursuit of a new word, I came across: zareba. It’s suitable for a spiritual analogy, and I’m excited to share it with you. (Podcast version of this post is available here: He Hems Us In.)
Recently, I was reminded it’s wise to expand your vocabulary—especially if you’re a writer. But to tell you the truth, I don’t like reading text that’s riddled with speed-bumps. But if a word is intriguing in appearance, definition, and pronunciation, I’m hooked. Such was the case when I chased down my word of the day.
But let’s rewind a few hours first…
I climbed into bed the night before, hoping to fall asleep right away. I knew I was too tired to think positive about my prayer list of concerns regarding family and friends. My personal motto is to leave worries with the One who never sleeps. There’s no point both of us staying awake.
In peace I will lie down and sleep…
Psalm 4:8 NIV
I suspected a battle was being waged against me. For the enemy is as clever as he is evil. So, I needed to wield my shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit to ward off the onslaught of negative thoughts. It seemed that since I added more people to my prayer list, I also attracted more of the enemy’s advances.
To pray is to wage war against spiritual enemies in the heavenly realm.
If we don’t pray, we’re not a threat to darkness.
I grabbed onto a verse an Instagram friend suggested as a good one for guarding and keeping our inner peace:
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone,
LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8 NIV
And when I woke later in the night, and my heart sank under the weight of worrisome thoughts again, I reminded myself of God’s faithfulness. Each morning He meets me when I go meet with Him. So I chose to trust He would be waiting for me the next day with words of encouragement.
When I woke the next morning, feeling disappointed my recent health trial was still alive and hurting, I chose to give thanks for a cozy bed, a cozy cup of coffee, and a cozy hot water bottle. I propped my open Bible on a pillow and immediately noticed:
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength…
Isaiah 30:15 NIV
Yes, quietness of spirit enables us to trust and tap into His strength.
Quietness of spirit enables us to trust and tap into God’s strength.
So I finished reading my daily portions of Old and New Testament Scriptures and then I wrote in my journal. And after I looked up how to spell a common word I needed for a poem, a nudge suggested I peruse my Webster for a new word of the day too.
And that’s when I spotted zareba.
Zareba. According to Webster’s Dictionary, it’s a noun meaning: stockade of thorny bushes to protect against enemies and wild animals.
Zareba comes from the Arabic word: Zariba, meaning enclosure.
Now let me tell you, if I had known ahead of time how many enemies and wild stuff were going to come at me over the last few years, I would have been tempted to be preemptively put out of my misery. But the thing is, although God does give us more than we can bear alone, He doesn’t allow more than what we can bear when we’ve preemptively put a zareba in place.
…in quietness and trust is your strength… Isaiah 30:15 NIV
The best time to collect and memorize Bible verses is before, during, and after suffering strikes.
We need to be enclosed with His Word. We need to invite and allow God to hem us in with His Truth. That way, when the trials trickle in or fall as torrential rains, we’re covered and protected by a stockade of Scriptures.
A wise Christian continuously builds, maintains, and stands behind a zareba of God’s Word.
Because according to Psalm 139:5 NIV: *God will hem me in from harm and lay His hand upon me. (*Wendy’s paraphrase)
I’d like to close with the poem I wrote that morning:
When worries whirl around in our minds
May we give them to God instead
Because strength is found in trusting Him
To quiet the storms in our heads
When worries fan the flames of fear
May we cast them at Christ’s feet
Because He will hem us in with His hand
And our enemies He’ll defeat.
Zareba Blessings ~ Wendy Mac