You Really Don’t Want to Go There

Why does God put limits on things?  I mean, really, why does He feel it’s so necessary to tell us where to start and where to stop?  In Numbers 34, the Israelites are getting ready to go into the promised land.  They have to go in and fight for the land, and drive other people living there out.  You would think whatever they could conquer, they could have.  That’s how it works.  If you can take over land, it’s yours.  If the owners can defend it, it’s theirs.  At least, 4000 years ago that’s how it worked.  Today we have lawyers.  But that’s another discussion.

Even though that is how it worked in their day (strength/conquering = land), that wasn’t exactly how God wanted it to work.  So He promises the people they will conquer the land if they obey Him.  But then He tells them where the boundaries to the land are.  He says “You can go this far, and then stop”  It’s like He’s telling them He will bless them completely, up to a point.  Then it will end.  Why?

He was giving them more land than they needed.  But He knows us.  He knows greed and selfishness destroy us.  If they kept conquering and conquering, a couple of things would happen.  One, with no enemies around them, they would quit depending on God.  And that is the point of our very existence, to know God and be in relationship with Him.  If He gave them unlimited success, they would convince themselves they were in charge, and abandon God for land.  They would be trading the reason they were made for some dirt.  Secondly, this self-reliant attitude would destroy them.  If they kept conquering other lands, they would spread out so thin that there would be no way to defend themselves.  Their greed would make them vulnerable to attack.

Not much changes.  God still puts boundaries around me in life, guiding me on what actions are helpful to my growth, and which ones will destroy me.  Lying? Destroy.  Prayer?  Growth.  Selfishness?  Destroy.  Forgiveness?  Growth.  Lust?  Destroy.  Purity?  Growth.  Judging others?  Destroy.  Humility?  Growth.  He puts boundaries all around my life.  Now, understand, He blesses me every day, and gives me PLENTY of room to move.  But when I challenge one of the borders God has put around my life, it leads me to depend less on Him, depend more on me, and it leaves me weak and vulnerable to attack.

Not much changes.

What about you?  What boundaries that God gives are you pushing against?  Where do you want to expand your life out into, that God is saying “No, that’s too far?”  And at what cost?