Several news outlets reported this week about a Belgian farmer, apparently annoyed by a stone that had been in his tractor’s way, decided to move it 7-8 feet away from his field.
No big deal? Not newsworthy?
Well, that stone was a 200-year-old border marker between Belgium and France. In addition to slightly enlarging his own property, “he made Belgium bigger and France smaller; it’s not a good idea,” said David Lavaux, mayor of the Belgian village of Erquelinnes.
Two Frenchmen who regularly walk the border checking boundary markers against a map showing their exact location discovered the displaced stone last month. “All the markers are typically placed in a very precise manner, but this one was raised up on higher ground. It just looked strange,” said Jean-Pierre Chopin, one of the two men.
Although the stone had 1819 carved into its face, it’s not clear if the farmer knew the significance of the stone. Regardless, he will be receiving a letter to move the stone back to its original location or face criminal charges
The story reminds me of an Old Treatment command in Proverbs 22:28. “Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.”
God gave ancient Israel specific instructions regarding boundaries when they entered the promised land. Canaan was divided into tribal territories. Their boundaries were usually identified by a stone marker. Also, individual properties were identified similarly.
Moses issued this edict to Israel just before they entered Canaan. “You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess” (Deut. 19:14).
It was later followed up with this warning and the people’s response. “Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ (Deut. 27:17)
Succeeding generations were to respect these landmarks and leave them undisturbed. They were established by divine decree and were not to be encroached upon or moved.
The New Testament serves as our map today revealing God’s landmarks and boundaries. Jesus was sent not only as a sacrifice for our sins but to point us to God’s Divine Decrees. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6).
The very existence of sin suggests that God has issued boundaries that we are forbidden to cross. Sin is defined in John 3:4 as a transgression of the law. To transgress means to go beyond. To commit lawlessness. It is removing one of God’s boundary markers.
The Bible says that God has given to us “all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue”
(2 Pet. 1:3). Our responsibilities to both God and man have been revealed. God has provided the markers and drawn the boundaries that will result in a life that both glorifies him and elevates us in moral excellence.
The means and method of our salvation in Christ have been divinely identified. The nature of the church that Jesus promised to build, of which He is the head, and its ministry, message, and mission is clearly identified in Scripture. Our spiritual responsibilities within the Family of God are also outlined in easy-to-understand terms.
In addition, our personal, community, and domestic duties are also described. God has set boundaries between the three great entities that He ordained. The home. The church. And the government. Too often these are confused and conflated with one another. They are distinct. Each has a purpose and a role in our lives.
When churches get involved in the political arena, thinking they can legislate morality and change our culture by enacting laws, they’ve forgotten the church’s mission and removed one of God’s boundaries.
When men and women commit fornication and adultery, believing they have a right to be happy and live as they please, they’ve removed God’s boundary of sexual purity.
When marriage is no longer the union of one man and one woman for life, we have redefined and removed a boundary God set up long ago.
When religious organizations, change the terms of salvation as taught by Christ and His apostles, to fit their theology, they’ve moved a Divinely ordained landmark.
As a note to our Christian readers, our corrupt culture has long ago removed the ancient landmarks. So rather than cursing the darkness, let’s light a candle. Let’s look within our own lives. Our own hearts. Our own homes. And our own churches.
Have you moved a divine landmark in your life? If so, then return it to its proper place before it’s everlastingly too late.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman