Ancient Landmarks (a daily proverb)

This devotional series examines a verse or two from a chapter of Proverbs each day of January 2017.

Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set. ~Proverbs 22:28

When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment of the Law,” he answered, “Love the Lord your God with your whole being and love your neighbor as yourself.” If we summarize everything the Bible says about these two loves, it could be stated: Love God supremely and love others deeply. This is the whole purpose of life centered on Christ.

When we read through the proverbs and come to one like Proverbs 22:28, it can leave us scratching our heads for a moment. We don’t really think in daily terms of ancient landmarks. A more updated rendering might say: Do not move the fence or boundary markers.

But what does this have to do with love?

The commands of love positively state what the Ten Commandments often puts in negative terms. To love God is to honor him, revere his name, and believe in no other gods. To love neighbor is to not murder, not commit adultery, not steal, not lie about, and not covet. In other words, loving neighbor is, in part, about honoring them and the things that belong to them. When we love our neighbors we will not seek to steal their lives, spouses, honor, or property.

It is this last item this proverb considers. The “ancient landmark that your fathers have set” mark the boundaries of land and territory. That which is on your side of the landmark is yours. That which is on the other side is your neighbors. To move the marker, unless a mutually agreed upon act, is to steal land from your neighbor. This not only violates the command to love.

If we truly love Jesus and love others, we will give to their benefit, but we will not manipulate and rob to our benefit. We will honor and respect others and what belongs to them.

proverbs-22_28

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