Friday, August 25, 2023

Respecting the Boundaries - Martin Wiles

respecting the boundaries
He makes peace in your borders, And fills you with the finest wheat. Psalm 147:14 NKJV


During the day, they roamed freely, but at night . . .


As the early morning light graced the farmland surrounding her house, she inched across the backyard, scattering food for her chickens. As they gathered around her feet, vying for the corn and scratch feed she sprinkled on the ground, she snatched one by the neck—a nice plump hen. Before that chicken knew what was happening, she had wrung its neck, plucked its feathers, removed its innards, dissected its body, and placed the various parts into a cast iron frying pan boiling with hog lard.


I never actually saw my grandmother do this—but I did in my mind as my mother told the story. My grandmother loved chickens—or at least what they provided. She even knew how to cut and cook the pulley bone—a piece rarely cut now. When the person eating it finished, they often invited someone else to put their hand under the table and help them pull the bones apart. Whoever got the longest bone would have good luck.


But at night, my grandmother confined her chickens in a small coop nestled just behind her house and outside her bedroom, where she could hear if something got in the chicken coop. Nocturnal creatures wouldn’t bother the chickens during the day, but at night they slithered around. Coons, opossums, foxes. Her chickens were too valuable to lose. They provided meat for her family and eggs for baking and cooking.


Evidently, the chickens didn’t mind the boundaries. When my grandmother called them at dusk, they willingly walked the small plank into the coop.


My grandfather followed suit with his hogs and hunting dogs by placing fences around their areas. Years ago, folks allowed hogs to run free in the woods and only penned them before butchering, but not my grandfather. Had he not fenced them in, they would have wandered into the road or strolled miles away for someone else to catch and kill. The same thing would have happened with his hunting dogs. If the road had not killed them, someone else would have gladly taken them.


God, too, placed boundaries around His Old Testament people—limits that are still in place for believers. He calls them His commandments. God promised fruitful harvests and peace within their borders if they obeyed. If they disobeyed, the opposite would happen. Some boundaries we might not understand—and some might appear burdensome—but He places them there with purpose.


I’ve not always appreciated the boundaries others placed on me: parents, employers, doctors, government officials. But deep inside, I know they benefit me—especially God’s borders. His guiding commands and moral principles protect us from harmful things, nurture us so we can grow spiritually into the person He wants, and demonstrate His matchless love.


How can you learn to live willingly within God’s boundaries? Remember, He puts them there out of love.


Father, thank You for the boundaries You have placed around me. 

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