You may be expecting me to pull a sgian dubh out of my sock, but no, this isn’t the latest Diana Gabaldon novel. Rather, we are going to take a look at the limits of creation.
In the past few postings we have been examining the idea that God forms and that that form is a boundary, a borderland, which is subsequently filled by men. In this post let us take a closer look at that form and see if we can discover some of its properties.
Remember that scripture is not merely historical, but it all speaks to us today. God gave a wise word to the Israelites as they claimed their promised land. This is God’s word about borders:
Your boundaries will increase bit by bit, lest the wild beasts multiply.
We are given what we can hold and maintain. An increase that comes to quickly, or in too large a portion, often leads to a demise. There are many examples to be found in the history of technology companies, stories of companies that grew too swiftly, and that growth was a major factor in the eventual failure of the company.
Isaiah tells us that increase comes precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, there a little. Expansion is a heady business, and must be approached with proper care. We are told that our transformation happens from glory to glory. It isn’t an all-at-once event; it isn’t a destination but a journey. A capable field commander will tell you that the amateur will speak about tactics but a general will concern himself with logistics. A dependable supply route is indispensable to holding ground once it is gained.
But it is in the Psalms where we find our best insight:
He makes peace your borders.
And in that brief comment our own borderlands expand.
When the Bible speaks about peace, it is speaking about boundaries, about borderlands, about the forming of the Most High. Let’s look at a few examples.
Good fences make good neighbours. Good boundaries and peace are synonymous. To be at peace is to know where your boundaries are and to not prematurely exceed those boundaries. Prayer for the peace of Israel and for Jerusalem is a prayer that their borders will be righteously established, a thing that the scriptures promise will happen.
Paul speaks of those who declare peace and safety in the last days, but it is upon these that sudden destruction will come. Peace and safety are a parallel of forming and filling. It is these who declare their own borderlands, then fill with unrighteousness; they are the builders of idols.
Christ says to the sea, “Peace. Be still.” Here he declares the sea to be within the sphere of his influence, within his borders. He then fills the boundaries with the declaration to be still.
God gave a word to Caleb, telling him that wherever his feet trod, that land would be his inheritance forever. Paul tells the Ephesians that their feet are to be outfitted with that which will declare the gospel of peace. He is reiterating the promise to Caleb, telling the believers that righteous war will expand the borderlands of their inheritance.
Finally, Isaiah declares that of the increase of Christ’s Kingdom and of peace there shall be no end. Here he sees that the borderlands of the Kingdom of God will be expanding eternally. Not an ever increasing bureaucracy, but an eternal increase in the boundaries of freedom; a Kingdom, he says, who’s borders will be filled with justice and righteousness.