"Removing The Boundaries"   (May 2010)

Last week I was thinking about the Gulf Coast- I don’t live very far from it.  I wondered what the conditions were there because of the oil that is pouring into the gulf.  My mind began to wander from one thing to the next about what was happening.  The gulf states of Louisiana and Mississippi have been hit hard over the last several years.  These states took the brunt of Hurricane Katrina and now we are taking the brunt of this oil that is drifting onshore.  I thought this was too coincidental and wondered if either event had any bearing on the other or what was the significance of it, if any.  Often God uses natural events, parables, analogies, dreams and prophetic symbolism to “speak” a message to us.  We find that this happened all the time throughout the Bible.  He would have the prophets do certain things as an “object lesson” or to make a point.  He would often send signs revealing His message.  For example, God gave Pharaoh dreams about seven fat cows being swallowed up by seven lean cows representing seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. (Genesis 41:1-8,17-32)  And in the New Testament God sent a prophet who told Paul through word and illustration that when he got to Jerusalem he would bound and delivered to the Gentiles.  “And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” (Acts 21:10,11)  So knowing that God does use natural things to reveal supernatural things, and given the fact that we are living in very prophetic times (a time when the prophecies of the Bible are being fulfilled as never before right before our eyes), I could not get what had happened and was happening to the coast off of my mind.  I couldn’t help but wonder why everything had come this direction- both of these events hitting in almost the same spot.  The gulf states of Louisiana and Mississippi experienced the worse natural disaster in our nation’s history- Hurricane Katrina.  Now we are experiencing the worse environmental disaster ever- the oil spill. 

I thought about Hurricane Katrina.  The name means ‘”purify”.  The word “purify” in the dictionary is defined:  to make pure; free from anything that debases, pollutes, adulterates, or contaminates; to clear or purge.  While the hurricane itself brought tremendous destruction, the meaning of its name is such a contrast to what is going on now.  The oil spill is doing just the opposite of purifying.  It is bringing in contaminates, sludge, mire.  It is nasty and dirty-- pollution.  I have many thoughts about what this means and why it is happening.  Perhaps we did not continue in the “purification” that the Lord wanted to bring about?  Perhaps we opened the door to something worse because we didn’t “keep a clean house” by taking heed?  The Bible does say that if you clean the house (your heart) and don’t replace it with something good, that something worse will come in.  “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45)  There may be several symbolic meanings.  I am sure that the Lord has spoken to others about the significance of what has happened and perhaps given them another meaning.  But there is one area that I do want to address that I believe does have bearing on what all this might mean in a spiritual sense.

When I thought about the definition of Katrina, I then starting thinking about what the oil spill meant.  I discovered that the name of the oil rig that exploded causing this was called the Horizon.  I looked up the definition of “horizon”.  (My discovery was very interesting.)  This is the information that I found in the dictionary.  Horizon- the line or circle that forms the apparent boundary between earth and sky.  The apparent intersection of the earth and sky as seen by an observer.  The origin of the word means- limit or boundary.  So the word “horizon” means, in layman’s terms, a boundary line or limitation between two things keeping them separated.  Without a boundary to limit something, whatever that something is, has free course to go wherever it desires.  The reason all that oil is spilling into the water is because the rig blew up- it was destroyed.  Physically speaking, when the Rig Horizon was removed, there was nothing there to hold back the well and limit the oil from freely flowing.  Therefore, it is out of control because there are no boundaries to hold it back so the sludge can go anywhere it chooses or the winds and waves carry it.  Symbolically speaking, when the “horizon”, the boundaries, are removed, the limitations are taken off and whatever it has been holding back is no longer controlled but has free course to spread.  Spiritually speaking, I believe God is telling us as a nation that our “horizon” is gone.  Our boundaries are missing.  We have removed all limitations that stop everything that is anti-God from coming onto our shores.  Our “horizon” is gone, therefore, “pollutants” are coming into this nation in unlimited degree- sexual perversions, lawlessness, blasphemies, anti- Christ spirits and so on.  

I believe that the problem in our nation with the conflict over our “borders” is just another “sign” with symbolic meaning that attests to this.  This situation is about much more than just the illegal alien problem.  There are things that are happening around us that have spiritual meaning and we are seeing them revealed through the natural realm.  As a result of our borders being down, the illegal alien problem is “out of control”.  Again, when the boundaries, as we have already said, are removed or neglected, there is nothing to limit or stop an influx of anything, whatever it may be, from coming in- including what is illegal.  Before I go any further, I want to clarify that I am not against any one wanting to come into this nation and live.  I am not against immigration.  This nation is a melting pot of people from all different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds.  Many of the conveniences that we enjoy in this nation were invented by immigrants or people who had immigrant ancestry- Thomas Edition and Albert Einstein for example.  Most every American reading this newsletter had ancestors who came here from somewhere else- I did.  But having said that, let me also say that if a person wants to live here they should do it legally and abide by the laws of the land.  (To do it legally puts the borders back in place.) 

When we were talking about this at prayer group the other day (the symbolic/spiritual significance of Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill), one of the ladies made a comment about how significant it really was.  Our borders define us.  Each state has a border and you know when you have left one state and gone into another one because you crossed their border.  We can look on the map and know which state is which by its shape.  Its shape is apparent because the borders form the shape of the state.  The borders of states also identify the people who live within the states.  If you don’t believe it, cross the border into the state of Louisiana, for example, especially around the Bayou.  The people there have a certain cultural, lifestyle and diet that you won’t find in Mississippi or Texas.  California is the same way.  Cross the border and you will find a different culture and mentality among its citizens.  The same goes for all fifty states.  Each state is known for having certain characteristics.  If borders aren’t important and don’t define a city, county, state, nation or continent then why are wars waged against nations based on their border lines?  If borders don’t define nations why all the fuss about Israel’s borders?  Why are so many nations trying to remove her from her “borders”?  Borders are important and our borders identify us as the nation of the United States.  Without the Mexican border or the Canadian border there would be nothing to define us as a distinct, individual and separate nation from the rest of North America.  The three countries that presently comprise the North American continent would all be one.

As we continued to talk about this subject more at prayer group, this same lady reminded us that God is the one who established the boundaries between the sea and the land.  Do you know why the oceans don’t overtake the land?  There is more water on planet earth than there is land.  So why haven’t the waters flooded the continents a long time ago?  The reason is because God “drew a line” and “told” the oceans that they could not cross over that boundary line.  He allowed them to only go so far and commanded them not to go any further.  “Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.” (Psalm 104:9)  “I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.” (Proverbs 8:27-29 NIV)  “Should you not fear me?" declares the LORD.  Should you not tremble in my presence?  I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.  The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.” (Jeremiah 5:22 NIV)  God has set boundary lines between the sea and the land, but in Hurricane Katrina and in this oil spill we see that the sea and what was/is in it crossed the boundary line and come upon the shore.  Katrina came upon the shore and brought winds and waves of destruction.  The oil spill in the sea is coming upon the shore and causing destruction to the environment and our economy.  How is that possible?  If God sets a boundary line it cannot be removed.  “Thou hast set all the borders of the earth.” (Psalm 74:17a)  So where was the boundary line when Katrina hit?  Where is it now to stop the oil from advancing any further inland?  If God sets the boundary, He has the authority and ability to remove it.  “The LORD tears down the proud man's house but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact.” (Proverbs 15:25)  Could it be that the Lord is removing the boundaries from this nation?  Is that the message that He is speaking to us through these events?  The answer, I believe, is found in the next verses in Jeremiah.  “But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, 'Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.' Your wrong doings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good. Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare bird and like those who set traps to catch men. Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor. Should I not punish them for this? declares the LORD. Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:23-31 NIV)  When we remove God from our land, when we remove Him from society, government, entertainment, the arts, our economy, our educational facilities, when we turn our backs in rebellion against Him, when we cease to acknowledge His existence, when we follow after other idols, then God is not obligated to fulfill His promises to us.  He will then deal with us as He always has with any other rebellious nation.  “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?”

“Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers.” (Proverbs 22:28 NIV)  What were the ancient boundaries that we have been warned not to remove as it relates to this nation?  King James version calls these boundary stones ancient landmarks.  “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. King James version calls them ancient landmarks.” (Proverbs 22:28)  The landmarks, or cornerstone, of this nation are the Biblical truths and principles upon which we were established.  These landmarks are our “roots”.  These are the things that must never be removed if this nation is to remain great.  When they are removed we lose our identity as a Christian nation.  We lose our influence and witness in the world.  We cease to enjoy the blessings and prosperity that God desires to give us.  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” (Psalm 33:12a)  There is nothing to limit the destructive forces that push upon our shores to “blow us away” or “pollute” us. 

I don’t believe that these events point to the nation only.  I also believe they are pointing to the church as a sign.  I believe that the Lord is desiring to speak to His church through them as well.  They hold a meaning for us if we will have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.  As I have already said, when the boundaries are gone, when the limitations have been removed, there is nothing to hold back or keep out whatever it was that the boundaries were preventing or controlling.  When the church lets down the boundaries, when we lose our “horizon”, then there is no restraining force to keep “contaminants“ from coming into the church.  What is the church’s “horizon”?  What is our boundary line or ancient landmark?  It’s the word of God.  The church was established upon God’s word.  It is the foundation and cornerstone of our faith.  The word of God is the standard by which the church operates.  Its principles govern our lives.  It is God’s rule of order for His people.  When we do not stand upon God’s word, when we treat it lightly, when we neglect its precepts and do not follow its commands, when we put it in question, when we pick and choose what we like, don’t like, believe and don’t believe, and when we misinterpret it, we have removed the boundaries.  When the boundaries are gone, every “pollutant” and “contaminant” the enemy sends our way can drift into the church.  I believe this has happened.  We have let down and removed the truth- “Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17b).  Therefore, we have become polluted by false teachings, deception, doctrines of devils, compromise, heresy, manmade ordinances and hypocrisy.  We have let down the boundaries because we do not hold the word of God in high esteem, we don’t give it its rightful place as the first and final authority in the way we conduct business or in our dealings with others.  We have stopped believing its truths are “absolute”.  We have ceased to recognize it as God’s own written word to His people and not the words of mere men.  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) 

Look at the results when the boundaries are removed.  Homosexuals are ordained as preachers, adultery and “shacking up” are acceptable- even in the pulpit.  When the boundaries are removed, all ways lead to God and God is whatever you perceive Him to be.  When the boundaries are removed, holiness is labeled as “old fashioned”, the altar of prayer is removed and repentance is substituted for something that makes you feel good.  When the boundaries are removed, there is no such thing as “sin” any more- instead we just made a mistake or have a problem.  When the boundaries are removed, there is no fear of the Lord.  When the boundaries are removed, sacrifice, self denial, crucifixion of the flesh, surrender to the will of God are all outdated and considered a thing of the past.  With the removal of the boundaries of the word of God, heaven and hell cease to be acknowledged as real places where souls will spend eternity.  When the boundaries are removed, salvation through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior is replaced by church attendance and/or good works.  When the boundaries are removed, we follow our own path and fulfill our own plans instead of seeking and following God’s plan for our lives.  When the boundaries are removed, it is all about “ME” instead of about “HIM”.  Can’t you see that this has become the state of the church as a whole- at least in this nation?  Is it not a sign then that the “ancient borders”, the boundary line, has been removed and that “spiritual sludge”, fluff, hype and humanistic thinking are all pushing their way more and more into the church?

We also said earlier that borders are what gives us our identity.  When the borders are removed, we lose our identity.  This has happened in the church.  We are no longer called “holy”, a house of prayer, the gathering place of the saints, the house of God.  Instead we now identified as a “Bless Me Club”, another social gathering, etc.  We don’t look like God’s intention for us- the light of the world, the salt of the earth, witnesses of His glory.

What will stop this?  How can we stop the “contaminants” from continuing to come into the church?  How can we “clean up” the house of God?  I believe the answer is found in the Book of Nehemiah.  When Israel was in captivity and the time was getting close for them to return to their homeland, the temple, the city and the walls of the city were all in ruins.  The Lord raised up Ezra to oversee the rebuilding of the temple so that when they returned they would have a place to worship the Lord God.  He also raised up Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls after the temple was rebuilt.  “And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.  And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchres, that I may build it.  Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.” (Nehemiah 1:3; 2:5,17)  Here is the key and answer:  “let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.”  Walls represent boundaries.  They defined the city of Jerusalem, as well as offered protection for it.  The word reproach literally means in the Hebrew:  resting upon a condition of shame, disgrace.  The reproach of Jerusalem was taken away when the walls were rebuilt.  The reproach- disgrace and shame- that has come upon the church will be taken away as we rebuild the walls again also.  How do we rebuild them?  How do we reestablish the ancient landmarks?  How do we go about replacing the boundaries?  By returning to God’s word and making the standard that governs the church and our lives once again.  “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.  I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.” (Isaiah 28:16,17- NIV)  “Thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” (Isaiah 60:18b)