Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Ancient Landmark

Pro 22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

I have seen this verse used and abused until the great wisdom of it has almost lost its edge.

A property owner in ancient Israel marked the corners of his land with indicators, such as sizeable stones. These became the landmarks which delineated property. Land, amongst the Jews was a sacred thing, seeing how it was given by a covenant from God. Land was to be kept within the family. There were strict laws concerning property.

A common underhanded trick was for a neighbor to move a landmark ever so slightly every once in a great while. The movements were imperceptible. With the passing of years, much land was added to the neighbor's property by these means.

So God here strictly prohibits this inching of corner stakes because of the implications over much time.

We must realize that our society has a devious way of taking our hallowed ground from us while we are looking the other way. We don't even notice the ground we have lost until much later and then we cannot reclaim our spiritual, moral and ethical property.

Some religious leaders would have us think that methods of worship, evangelization, comportment, etc., comprise our corner stakes. They fear that when something new is employed in our efforts to win the world to Christ, we have ceded ground to our neighbors. An ancient landmark to such people may include "the way we did it in 1955." I have news for them, 1955 is hardly ancient, if so, I would be knocking on the door of decrepit!

The true and ancient landmarks are those laid down in Holy Writ. That which is commanded and demanded in Scripture, by the Savior, and the Spirit are the unmoveables of the faith.

Methods may vary, in fact they must if we ever hope to engage the culture without being irrelevant. But the message must never change. The Word of God will never pass away. Every dotting of the "i" and crossing of the "t" is set forever. The Lord in heaven changes not. His Son, Jesus, is immutable. Man is inherently sinful and must come to the foot of the cross by faith to procure the grace of the Almighty.

But to insist that only one style of psalm, hymn or spiritual song is acceptable in worship is not an ancient landmark, it is only a preference. To say such silly things as God has a standard for the exact length of a dress, or the hair or whether a tie is required or not...this is legalism not landmark.

So we must guard our hallowed ground given to us by our Lord in His Word. These landmarks must never be inched away or we will lose our inheritance. But be careful to mark the difference between strewn pebbles of inconsequence and true cornerstones which protect our heritage.

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