“Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers” (Proverbs 22:28).
It doesn’t look much, does it? It’s an English country boundary stone from maybe 1810 (Think Pride and Prejudice). It marks a beginning and an end; a line of ownership… it’s a big deal. So is the text above.
And in that text. there’s a powerful point. God has established boundary stones in his word. They are primarily found in the Law, but are elaborated on and repeated throughout the entire Bible. Our spiritual ancestors through the history of the Church have set a pattern for living by these ancient landmarks. These may be our fundamental doctrines, our Biblical pattern for living, or deeply held spiritual convictions.
In ancient Israel boundary lines were sacred because all property was a gift from the Lord. And life itself is a gift from the Lord and He has set forth His boundary stones for our good.
The moving of boundary stones for the original writer of Proverbs 22 meant theft: theft from the owner of that land, and disrespect for God, the giver of the land. It’s not too different for us. These ancient boundary stones have always been meddled with and are now being tampered with, moved and even removed in ways that our forefathers would never have imagined.
Billy Graham once said that we laugh now at things that used to embarass us thirty years ago.
Man has always been tampering with boundary stones, 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 boundary stone”, so many shout, “we don’t need it anymore”. The sacred teachings of Scripture are so often mocked and ridiculed.
The landmark (or boundary stone) may be a spiritual standard, established by our spiritual forefathers, God-honouring and God-blessed. There is always 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 boundary stones expressed in His Word. Psalm 119 is best known as being the longest chapter in the Bible but it’s also a chapter that constantly reinforces the Psalmist’s love for God’s spiritual boundary stones 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 boundary stones along with a resolve to abide by them even when others seek to move them. In fact I expect mankind to keep moving and removing them until the inevitable judgment. But as for me, I’ll respect the reason they’re present and leave them alone.