This article is part of a series I am doing on the Hebrew word ‘paga’ translated intercession in the Old Testament. The word has a broad range of meanings that offer unique perspectives on intercession. In my earlier article, I discussed how the word was used to describe the spiritual warfare associated with intercession.
Another one of the unusual ways ‘paga’ is used in the Old Testament is in staking out and claiming territory.
After Israel entered the Promised Land, God gave each tribe an inheritance of land.
In Joshua 16:5-7, we have a record of the territory given the tribe of Ephraim described as “the border of their inheritance.”
“It went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, then reached (paga) Jericho and came out at the Jordan.” (v 7 NASV)
The word ‘paga’ is used in this passage to mark the territory or boundaries of each tribe’s inheritance. In almost every instance “paga’ described the outward border (see also Joshua 17:10, 19:11, 22, 26-27 etc).
Paga is translated in this context as staking territory. It is a shade of meaning important to an intercessor, as an intercessor claims territory for the Kingdom of God. This can include people, land and property.
Job’s hedge of protection
We see a hint of how this works in the Book of Job.
The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” 9 Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (Job 1:8-10 NASV)
When God told Satan how righteous Job was, the first thing Satan pointed out is the hedge that surrounded Job. The word refers to a hedge or fence used for protection. It typically described a thick, impenetrable barrier, made of thorns.
The first thing we notice is that God is the One who put up the “hedge.”
The second is the hedge not only surrounded Job, but also all his property — everything Job owned.
Thirdly, this hedge was not visible to the human eye, but Satan clearly saw it and it prevented him from touching Job.
Finally, the hedge did something else — it clearly staked out Job’s territory and protected it.
I don’t think this hedge appeared by accident.
As we read about the life of Job, we see he was up early in the morning praying and making sacrifices for himself and his family. He even made sacrifices on behalf of his children for their unknown sins (Job 1:5).
Job was interceding for his family and the Bible said he did this “continually.”
Claiming a church building for God
I remember when the church I attend was looking for a larger building. A newer high school building had just come on the market. The school board was selling it due to declining enrollment in the area.
It was a large, beautiful, multi-story building. Our church was immediately interested.
But the purchase process was filled with politics. Though we could bid on it, if any government agency or government-funded organization was interested they would have first priority.
As a church, we spent hours praying and fasting for the building as it slowly wound its way to market.
I remember the day when dozens of church members gathered at the building to pray. We marched around the building and acres of property claiming it for the Kingdom of God.
There had even been a word from a prophet in England, who said we would be buying a large, brown brick building, which perfectly described this structure. She had no idea about this building.
We were believing it was ours.
Then word came that a government-sanctioned organization was interested in the property and they would have first priority. Then news arrived that their purchase of the property was a done deal.
We would not be buying the building.
Hope turned to discouragement.
But in the spiritual realm, we had staked out territory and claimed it. There was an invisible hedge around this building.
We had almost forgot about the building, when several weeks later, a major news story broke about financial irregularities with the group purchasing the property. In a very short time, the government stepped in and stopped all financial dealings.
The building was ours.
Read more in this series:
- Paga: The Intercessor
- Paga: Hitting the mark in intercession
- Paga: The intercessor as a warrior
- Paga: The intercessor claims territory for God
- Paga: The intercessor negotiates with God
- Paga: The intercessor carries a burden