God hems me in!
(Alexander Smellie, "The Secret Place" 1907)
"Blessed be the LORD, who has . . . restrained His servant from doing evil." 1 Samuel 25:39
Even when my heart is resolute in its pursuit of iniquity, God hampers and hinders its unholy determination. Mercifully, that He may halt me in my fatal course — He raises one barrier after another.
For example, there is His written Word. In lands like India and China, there are peoples with intellects and emotions and aspirations as manifold and high-soaring as mine. Yet numbers among them are abandoned to the shameless vices of paganism — vices to which, with all my folly and wrong-doing, I do not succumb. Why am I morally better — why am I less openly wicked, than they? It is because God's Word is in my hands. It is because the truth of Jesus permeates the atmosphere I breathe, and leavens the world in which I live and move and have my being. God hems me in, and I cannot so easily and so foully transgress.
And there is His living Spirit. He acts on mind and will and conscience and affections. Often He snatches me from the brink of the abyss, and from the jaws of the grave. He quenches my defiling thoughts. He rebukes my vain imaginations. He reins in my sinful passions as with bit and bridle. He prevents me from the commission of much that is unworthy.
And there is His watchful providence. God is so constantly and busily at work in my biography, that it is difficult for me to sin scandalously. He places me in the midst of a great multitude of sobering and restraining influences:
the just laws of the country,
the social restraints of culture,
my godly friends,
the appealing voices of my home,
the wholesome chastisements of my Father in Heaven.
By these, and by many other restraints and constraints, the Lord Who is the Lover of my soul stops me when I would run recklessly on to spiritual ruin!
I cannot thank Him enough for the whole array of His fences — where would I have been without them? I cannot hate enough the evil things which He hates. And, by His grace enabling me, let me set about speaking and doing the things which are pleasing to Him.
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat — but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail." Luke 22:31-32
"When my foot slipped, Your mercy, O Lord, held me up!" Psalm 94:18
"My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish — ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand!" John 10:27-28