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Rocks of Offense

Deuteronomy 19:14
“You shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.”

The obvious face-value interpretation of this law is that latter-day Israelites shouldn’t move old boundary markers and steal land that rightfully belongs to their neighbors, those ancient boundary stones serving as constant, immovable reminders that land as precious as this was not arbitrarily doled out through local squatter laws but surveyed and platted and deeded by God Himself. Future Israelites should understand that to move one of these boulders was to be crushed by it, to thrust his entire inheritance against the Rock of Ages as it were and invite the weight of divine retribution onto his own neck as a millstone. Which reminds us as well that there are some stones in the world placed by forefathers of old, at the direction of Almighty God, that men shouldn’t push against. The thrust won’t increase our possession in the Promised Land but forfeit it.

The symbology here is overwhelmingly rich to me, friend. Think of the monumental boundary stones in our world still today, established by men of old, directed by God, that set a limit on faith and practice, marking borders for the whole span of human affairs, from marriage to worship to work to love to parenting to virtue, not written down arbitrarily onto the parchment of human history by mere men but affixed into being by the breath of Creator God. Eternal boulders that, in principle, can never be shaken, but, in practice, can be moved at will: but such a defiant act will turn a heavenly Promised Land into a hellscape.

Praise be to God for unchanging truths, for uncompromising virtues, for always appropriate borders on our practice that never, ever budge in the shifting sands of mortality! Rocks of offense when our greed runs riot, but rocks of defense when we rest in the Father’s good will. The principle of Deuteronomy 19:14 is a proverb to hold dear, friend: Oh be careful not to tear down ancient landmarks in your zeal for progress! Be careful not to tamper with timeless truths from an age-old Book! The cost to yourself and the world—the loss, that is—is unspeakably grave.