“God is never better to us—than when the creature is most bitter to us!
Thus God dealt with Israel, “She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore I will hedge up her path with thorns; I will wall her in—so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'” Hosea 2:6-8.
God has two hedges which the Scripture takes notice of:
1. The hedge of his protection, which you read of Job 1:10, “Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns?”
2. The hedge of affliction, which you read of here: “I will hedge up her path with thorns.”
Now the Lord make use of both these hedges:
The hedge of protection—is to keep His people from danger.
The hedge of affliction—is to stop His people from wandering.
The hedge of protection—is to keep them in God’s way.
The hedge of affliction—is to keep them out of sin’s way.
The hedge of protection—is to keep them from suffering.
The hedge of affliction—is to keep them from sinning,
and to put them upon returning to God.
So it was with Israel here—when God had hedged up her way, that she could not find her paths, nor overtake her lovers—then she cries out, “I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now!”
It is a great mercy for God to wean a soul from the world; for it never suffers greater—than when it forsakes God to live upon the creature! “Those who cling to lying vanities—turn their backs on all God’s mercies!” Jonah 2:8. It is forsaking the living fountain—to quench our thirst from a broken cistern! Jeremiah 2:13.
When the Lord weans a soul from the world—He embitters the world to the soul; either by some affliction, or by some disappointment in the creature—which makes the soul look out for the more pure and lasting satisfactions, which are in Christ.”
— Matthew Mead, The Power of Grace in Weaning the Heart from the World