Deut 17-19; Col 3-4; Psalm 119:97-112
To turn for a moment to the writing in Deuteronomy – we find ‘limitation’ written into many aspects of the law. In particular this is expressed in 19:15 where there is a prohibition on moving boundary stones. This is rooted in the deep apprehension that the land is The Lord’s – it is gift and not for others to acquire. The Royal Law of Jubilee, which Christ comes to enact (Luke 4:19), is primarily concerned with allowing all to live the life they have been given, rather than allowing some to take life from others, to accumulate – which is always the outflow of Greed. Indeed anyone who enlarges his own land at the expense of another is under Curse (Deut 27:17). This of course is contrary to the spirit of this and any other age, for the Prince of this world holds sway over so many – the same one who in the beginning spoke to our ancestors calling them to live beyond their creatureliness. ‘You shall be like God’.
The parallel between this temptation and that of acquiring land and wealth at the expense of others is striking. The Earth is the Lord’s – it is not ours to acquire, and yet our eyes are so easily captivated. Godliness with contentment is great gain.
Our limitedness is for the sake of others – it extends to every realm of life. Something which we are slow to learn. It is only those who have accepted this limitation who discover unlimited life, life eternal. Those who realise that life is not something they secure for themselves, through effort and hard work, it is not ‘their just deserts’ – rather it is gracious gift. And it is The Lord who has fixed your neighbour’s boundary marker, allotting to them also the place where in limitation, unlimited Life is discovered.
This limitedness we also read extends even to the King. Thus the Terrible transgression of Ahab and Jezebel, over Naboth’s vineyard, a story we see replayed over and over in the world today as the powerful move the ancient boundary markers, or as in the case of David, the roving eye sees a person whom he may acquire. All are limited, that all might till their own soil and therein find Life.