“The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark; I will pour out my wrath on them like water. Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, Because he willingly walked by human precept.”
Establishing clear and secure borders and boundaries is essential. No culture or society can function without them. In modern times, surveyors will drive stakes into the ground to mark the boundaries between properties. In Bible times large stones were often used. God considered moving a landmark a grave offense in Israel (Deuteronomy 19:14; Proverbs 22:28), and pronounced a curse on all those who would dare to steal land from their neighbors (Deuteronomy 27:17). Because some would even dare to ignore God’s commands and warnings, and proceeded to move boundary stones anyway, trees acted as the preferred landmarks in Bible times (Genesis 23:17). Today’s passage reminds us that ignoring and moving physical landmarks is analogous to the human tendency to ignore or adjust God’s moral prescriptions. From the dawn of human history man has had a problem submitting to God’s wise rule. Fallen man desires, above all things, intellectual and moral autonomy. He desires to live according to His own rules, to be a law unto himself. “The kings of the earth set themselves,” wrote David, “and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psalm 2:2-3). This rebellious attitude persists in the unregenerate to this day. In their darkened intellect they cannot understand how foolish and self-destructive this philosophy is. In terms of their own worldview, they have no good reason to believe that their own rational faculties or their moral sensibilities should act as guides to truth or right moral conduct. What’s more, without objective standards of reason and morality, intellectual and moral progress is impossible. Change, yes. Progress, no. Even worse, without objective standards there would be no way to settle, rationally and peacefully, any disputes we may have in these matters. We would slip into the philosophy of Thracymachus, who believed that “might makes right.” When we can no longer reason, violence is the only language left. The Christian knows better. We understand that God’s morally-perfect character itself sets the standard of what is right and good (1 John 1:5). His commands, given for our good, are the necessary expressions of His character. Similarly, God’s thought provides us with an objective standard of rationality. When we think God’s thoughts after Him, we are being rational (Job 38:36; Psalm 94:9-10). While our world continues to resist God, and attempts to “move His landmarks,” may the Lord help us to make our thinking and conduct conform to His word, which is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89), “to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12).
God bless and encourage you today, my friends,