Proverbs 22:28 — Don’t stealthily move back the boundary lines staked out long ago by your ancestors (MSG).
In ancient Israel, land had a special meaning because it was owned by God (Leviticus 25:23). So when the original boundary lines were set, it was more than just an agreement between neighbors. The ancient boundaries of Israel were an agreement between the people and God. To compromise those lines was to reject God’s law.
In Deuteronomy 19:14, the people were told not to move the boundary stones. This command was no doubt given because there were some who would attempt to secretly move the boundaries (perhaps to add to the size of their own property). I call these missions “stealth stakeouts.”
I imagine such missions were widely successful because the boundaries could be moved subtly without detection. There were likely many who were able to enlarge their properties without the knowledge of their neighbors.
Not much has changed today. Boundaries are used to mark limits, and God’s people continue to push those limits. Boundaries are often viewed negatively. Many people feel as if they limit potential or fun, but boundaries are a necessary part of life. They provide protection, stability, and focus.
Parents set boundaries to help protect their children. Employers have boundaries in place to optimize the performance of their employees. God has set boundaries in His word to guide His children to holiness. Pushing the limits in secrecy is rebellion. Some boundaries may eventually need to be moved, but God says not to do so stealthily. Otherwise, we will be judged accordingly.
I encourage you today not to push the limits. Don’t ignore boundaries just because you can get away with it. Be a person of integrity, and you will remain protected, stable, and focused.
1 Samuel 15:23 — For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry (NIV).
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