“The Blessing Of The Ancient Landmarks”
October 5, 2012
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“The Blessing Of The Ancient Landmarks”
Back in the 90′s we pastored in Taunton, Massachusetts and lived in a parsonage that was only about 15 feet from a major highway, Route 44 which goes from Plymouth, MA to Providence, RI. The heavy traffic and steady stream of strangers who walked in front of our house posed danger to Ester.
The church generously built a fenced deck on the side of the parsonage which gave Ester some “safe territory” for play. I also drew an invisible line from the parsonage driveway to the church entrance where she was allowed to walk without our being present. Ester still refers to the boundary lines and does so with fond memories. The safety zone gave her a sense of security and I believe she remembers it as a visible reminder of our genuine love and concern for her well-being.
It’s interesting to pause a moment and consider the many boundaries we had as children and the many we still have as adults. It’s not uncommon to use a stone to mark the boundary between properties. These landmarks (generally stones in the Biblical period) testify to a great Biblical principle first articulated by Moses in the law in Deuteronomy 19:14.* This law is a practical expression of the eighth commandment which states, “Thou shalt not steal.”
Proverbs 22:28 alludes to this verse but I believe this text has a powerful spiritual application as well. ”Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.” In the entire area of faith and morality God has established what we may call “ancient landmarks” in His Word. These ancient landmarks are primarily found in the Law, but are repeated and elaborated on throughout the entire Bible.
Our spiritual ancestors through the history of the Church have set a pattern for living by seeking to express these ancient landmarks. These landmarks may be our fundamental doctrines, our Biblical pattern for living and standards of holiness or deeply held spiritual convictions.
In ancient Israel landmarks were sacred because all property was a gift from the Lord. A timeless application is that life is a gift from the Lord and He has set forth His landmarks for our good. These landmarks are sacred.
But people have always meddled with these ancient landmarks. They’re tampered with today, moved and even removed in ways that our forefathers would never have imagined. Many are being seduced and deceived by radical, revisionist, blasphemous attempts to reinvent Jesus, reinterpret the Bible and redefine marriage. Would anybody have believed when I was born in 1954 that within the next 50 years homosexual “marriage” would actually be a source of serious debate?
Man has always been tampering with landmarks, moving them one way or another to suit his whims, sometimes removing them altogether. The cultural and intellectual elite purport to know best and so many of the undiscerning masses follow. “Get rid of that ancient landmark”, many shout, “we don’t need it anymore”.
I appreciate this note from a study Bible. “The ‘landmark’ may be a spiritual standard, established by our spiritual forefathers, God-honoring and God-blessed. There is a tendency for each new generation to try to modernize the ways of their fathers and, in view of the universal law of decay, this is more often a mistake.”
I thank God for the ancient landmarks expressed in His Word. Psalm 119 is best known as the longest chapter in the Bible, but it’s also a chapter that constantly reinforces the Psalmist’s love for God’s spiritual landmarks with verses such as, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (v. 97).
May the Lord give us a love for His Word and His landmarks along with a resolve to abide by them even when others seek to move or completely remove them. In fact I expect humankind to keep moving and removing them until the inevitable judgment. But as for me, I’ll leave them alone.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, there is no limit to all that You have provided for us such as material blessings, physical health, the love of family and unending promises that You have already fulfilled or that are yet to be fulfilled. But You have also set visible and well-defined boundaries that are for our own good. Temptations to either toe the boundary line or cross over into enemy territory will always be there, but You give us the power to resist and discernment to recognize the alluring deceit of the evil one. Help our eyes and hearts to remain focused on Your innumerable blessings and provisions as we stand against the god of this age who seeks to destroy us. May we not move the landmark of the faithful to join with the ranks of the faithless. In Your name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
* “Do not move your neighbor’s boundary stone set up by your predecessors in the inheritance you receive in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess.” (Deuteronomy 19:14) Moving the boundary stone is perhaps the basest form of property theft and actually merits a curse in Deuteronomy 27:17.
Brooksyne’s Note: In 2001 we moved to a rental farm house in the country here in Mount Joy, PA and it was quite an adjustment for Ester. She had done her growing up in Taunton and for about seven years had grown comfortable with the safe boundary lines. It took several months for her to finally get over asking for permission to walk outside our home into our big, safe yard. Though she was 12 and we lived in the country she still thought danger lurked on the outside.
Our side entrance and Daily Encouragement Office to the left.
(I see Mollie’s red rings on the bench; she leaves her toys all over the place just like a child.)
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“Heroes Of The Faith” Video Legacy Five Listen to this song and consider someone in your life who left a legacy of faith. Are you leaving a legacy of faith?
“Legacy” Video Nicole Nordeman
“When It’s All Been Said And Done” Video Robin Mark, singer and writer. The words continue to repeat in my mind as it says so much about living one’s life to the glory of God, staying above the fray of this world.
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