SCRIPTURAL ANECDOTES 21 – ANCIENT LANDMARKS
As I pondered my life experience in ministry, in regard to writing SCRIPTURAL ANECDOTES, I realized that my life experience encompassed much more than my ministry experience. In fact, as I thought through my life, I realized that those experiences that had the most impact in my life were personal experiences with God teaching me to trust Him, to rely on Him and to look to Him alone to meet our family’s needs. I have not always remembered the lessons I have learned and I have been prone to worry at times and then try to do it myself. It has been a great help to me to recount all that God has done for me; thus as I write, I may become a little wordy in remembering what may seem to some as inconsequential details. May God use my experiences to encourage you as you read about our journey with the Lord. Proverbs 3:13, Amplified Bible, “Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and Godly Wisdom, and the man who gets understanding [DRAWING IT FORTH FROM GOD’S WORD AND LIFE’S EXPERIENCES].” i.e. SCRIPTURAL ANECDOTES!
“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” Proverbs 22:28
“Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.” Deuteronomy 19:14
Landmarks are important. Here God is speaking about actual landmarks that designate the boundaries of particular pieces of land. That is the interpretation of these verses, but there are many applications that can be drawn from these verses. For example, I believe that “America was founded as a Christian nation.” For me, this is an ancient landmark established by our founding fathers, by God’s inspiration.
Listen to the words of the 1892, Supreme Court of the United States of America as they affirmed that, indeed, America is and was founded as a Christian nation!
“From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation. The commission to Christopher Columbus…[recited] that ‘it is hoped that by God’s assistance some of the continents and islands in the ocean will be discovered,’ etc. The first colonial grant – that was made to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584 – … and the grant authorizing him to enact statutes for the government of the proposed colony provided that ‘they be not against the true Christian faith…’ The first charter of Virginia, granted by King James I in 1606…commenced the grant in these words:’…in propagating of Christian Religion to such People as yet live in darkness…”
“The celebrated compact made by the Pilgrims in the Mayflower, 1620, recites: ‘Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian faith…a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts….” (Barton, pg 56).
The court continued with several pages of similar discourse, finally concluding with the following: “There is no dissonance in these declarations. There is universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic [legal, governmental] utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people…. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.” (Barton, pg 57).
America was founded as a Christian nation, but there are those in America today who are trying their best to move those ancient landmarks. This is a dangerous proposition, because when landmarks are moved, or covered over so they are missed, the results lead to a destination that was never intended. Here is a simple example: Several years ago, before we moved to Florida, we were living in Portal, Georgia but had visited Florida for a few days to see our family down here, especially our granddaughter. On the return trip to Georgia, I got sleepy while driving and Jeanie took over for me. There are several routes that we could take, but Jeanie hates the interstates, so we were taking US 1 (the ancient highway) back into Georgia. We had just crossed the Florida/Georgia state line when we swapped drivers. My instructions to Jeanie were to simply follow the US 1 signs, the “ancient landmarks” if you will! I cuddled up on the passenger side and promptly went to sleep. About a couple of hours later, I woke up just as we were crossing under an interstate highway bridge. Nothing looked familiar. I was in a strange place. “What interstate was that?” I hurriedly asked Jeanie. “I don’t know!” was her reply. By then we were out the other side of the overpass and I look back and it was Interstate 75. We were over half way to Alabama, not home. Just outside of Waycross, Georgia, highways 82 and US1 split. Jeanie should have gone to the right on US1, but she continued straight on highway 82. She had missed the landmark, the highway sign that was directing her to turn right. It was quite an adventure trying to plot a route home from there. We laugh about it now, but it wasn’t so funny then.
America has taken a wrong turn also and she is now headed in a wrong direction. We have politicians who have sworn to uphold our Constitution but are choosing to revise our history to suit their plans and their ideology. The ancient landmarks are being removed or covered over by those who have an agenda to fundamentally change this nation into a secular nation with no moral guidance. The Ten Commandment as moral sign posts have been removed from our court houses and our schools. Immorality has become the rule and is no longer the exception to the rule. America needs revival. America needs another Great Awakening. Perhaps we need to make Psalm 144: 9-15 our prayer:
“I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword. Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: (i.e., Right hands raised in taking fraudulent oaths. Amp. Bible) That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets: That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.”
Moving ancient landmarks can have disastrous consequences. When I was a child, my mother established an “ancient landmark” for me so I would know how to dress myself. “The tag in your clothes always goes in the back.” A simple rule when understood and followed would assure that I had all my clothes on right. Only trouble, a few years ago, Fruit of the Loom began putting some tags in the front. I didn’t notice the first time and I found myself in quite a predicament when I discovered the opening was in the back. Enough said! Don’t mess with the “Ancient Landmarks!”
Blessings, Tom and Jeanie
Barton, David, Original Intent, The Courts, the Constitution and Religion, Aledo, TX: WallBuilder Press, 2011. Print.