For those of us who have had the privilege to be exposed to the Bible most of our lives, we’ve probably memorized John’s verse that still shows up at football games (John 3:16), and highlighted passages like Paul’s definition of love (1 Corinthians 13). After bravely skimming over Leviticus’ regulations on infectious skin diseases, we may have even ventured into the Old Testament faves like David and Goliath, and Isaiah’s “unto us a Child is born”.
But then there’s Ezekiel…(sigh).
Zeke and I go way back. Can I just say here at the start that I’ve never been all that intrinsically interested in end-time prophecy. Not saying that it’s not important! If it’s in the Bible, God has His reasons; it’s just that, for me, the topic ranks only slightly above the infectious skin diseases part.
Therefore, up to a certain time in my life, I had never spent much highlighter ink on Ezekiel, and his pages were fairly white with un-use. So here is just another example, in my life anyway, how God “calls those things that are not as though they were” by communicating to me through otherwise obscure writings.
Muddling around in the 40’s-chapters, I find an angel still speaking to Ezekiel about the boundaries that are given to the individual tribes of the people of Israel. Now, I’m admittedly not big on geography even in my own country, much less the ancient Middle East. But what I find fascinating is that God is very definite about, not only the boundaries themselves, but that the boundaries must be strictly observed and respected.
“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “Divide the land in this way for the twelve tribes of Israel:…”
“I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”
I’m thinking He meant it.
In other OT places, there is evidence that these boundaries were also to be protected, and certain provisions were made for that as well. Of course, we have our own axiom, “good fences make good neighbors”, but it looks like this can be applied to more than simples land grants. We can apply it to our use of time, money, even relationships and emotional capacity. But I think there is something much deeper that needs to be addressed. Check this out (one of my favorite parts of the whole series, BTW):
There are spiritual boundaries in my life, boundaries also ordained by the Sovereign Lord Himself, that are my responsibility to protect, even to the point of personal sacrifice. Satan is a liar, and puffs himself up to look pretty scary, but he knows he is, in reality, defeated. However, he also knows (better than I do, at times) where the loose boards are in my spiritual fence, ways of thinking or responding that I just haven’t gotten around to securely nailing down yet, which makes me less effective (at best), or can put others at risk (at worst). But the nails to do the job are readily available.
They’re the same ones that held Jesus to the cross.
Ezekiel 47:13,23 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.