Proverbs for Young Pilgrims: The Boundary

Prov. 22:28 “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”

 ’The Pilgrim passing through this strange land in which we live cannot help but see social unrest. Certain evils prevail and out of them we see multiplied corruption. The natives of this land would continually tempt the Pilgrim to end his Pilgrimage, and to set up residence in the community. They make the settlement so appealing. The Pilgrim, weary in his journey, often will pause in his Pilgrimage in order to be tempted.

By God’s grace, rather than being tempted, he sees the prevailing evils and places them in proper perspective: there are no boundaries! There are no limits to the evils which are readily accepted by the natives. The border of morality is broken down. Immorality has invaded the enclosure of decency. Not only is modesty absent, but immodesty and its instigation is promoted.

The Young Pilgrim could easily become confused by such contradiction. The ways of the natives are contrary to the way Young Pilgrims have been taught. Thanks be to God that the fathers have set ancient landmarks!

Landmarks tell all who pass by exactly where the boundaries are. The natives have ignored the landmarks for so long that they scarce can recognize them anymore. The Pilgrims, on the other hand, not only recognize the landmarks, but also familiarize themselves with them. The landmark stands as a symbol, a memorial, dear to the Pilgrim’s heart. He loves it!

In the proverb which we are considering, the landmark has been set by the fathers. One may think that the landmark, which sets the boundaries of our lives, is the Law of God. In a certain sense this is true. The established Law of God certainly must be the rule for the Pilgrim’s life of Thankfulness. But the landmark in our Proverb is the setting forth of principles of God’s Word. These principles are given to us by our fathers and we must take heed to what the fathers have said.

From old time, from yesteryear, the well established landmark stands, never to be removed. O, yes, the landmark is in the way of the native! He stumbles around it. He would have it torn down and destroyed. He would eliminate it, he would cut a new path so to bypass it. But being firmly set, the landmark has stood the test of time. The native can choose to ignore it, attempt to avoid it, yet it is not removed. It remains!

But what about us? Have we Young Pilgrims made ourselves familiar with the landmarks our fathers have set? And if we are familiar with them, would we attempt to have them removed?

Do we cut new paths in order to bypass them? Are we also guilty of ignoring or avoiding the landmarks?

Perhaps we should have our consciences pricked while we recall some of the landmarks. We know them well, they are familiar to us. Do we hold them dear to our hearts?

There is the landmark of the place of movies and drama in our lives. Have we not nearly eliminated this landmark from our lives? Movies are a prevailing evil in this strange land of our pilgrimage. There is no limit to the corruption and immorality which this evil has caused. Do we look lovingly at the landmark which our fathers have set? Do we know and embrace the boundaries marked out?

There is the landmark, which our fathers have set, called work. Yes, good old fashioned, dirt under-the-fingernails, work! The natives seem to scorn work. Unemployment and welfare is practically preferred. Part of the curse due to man for sin is that ‘‘in the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat bread all the days of thy life.” Work. Hard work. Do we join in with the natives in their attempt to bypass the curse?

There is the landmark of discipline. This landmark involves the teaching of proper conduct. How easy it is to pause in our pilgrimage and to participate in some type of mischief. How easy to compromise! “Nothing really wrong with it,” we say. How easy it is to ignore, and thereby remove, the landmark.

There is the landmark of the place women have in the home. ‘‘Women’s lib” has attempted to break down the boundaries. Sometimes I am even concerned that the curriculum in our schools is geared to teach our daughters some other career than that of being a wife and mother in Israel! Do we tend to avoid this landmark?

Landmarks which our fathers have set. The list can go on. Landmarks of music, Christian liberty, the place of recreation in our lives, materialism. We are familiar with the landmarks.

Young Pilgrim, embrace the landmarks, hold them dear to you. Surround yourself with the boundaries which they mark out. There is a feeling of security on the inside of these boundaries. A certain peace prevails inside these bounds because they provide the way of life which leads to the Pilgrim’s goal: the journey ends in eternal life.