The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalms 23:1-6 (NIV)
Boundaries are not bad, rather they are beneficial. The great Restorer of our souls gives us parameters for our good never for our harm. He always has our best interest at heart in all He allows. He is working within us and on us equipping us so that He may work through us – ever conforming us into the image of Jesus. His will for our lives is good, pleasing and perfect albeit oftentimes extraordinarily difficult. All that He allows in the lives of His heirs of mercy is used to conform us into the image of His Son and that, sweet friends is always a blessing. It is never harmless to stray from God’s boundaries for us – His will and His ways - as they are given for our protection, safety and ultimate good. Nothing is by chance or happenstance with the One Who makes known the end from the beginning.
All of God’s Scripture falls in pleasant places. This means as we follow its precepts and apply it to our lives we become more and more equipped to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel through the power of the Spirit - pleasing Him in all we say and do and think. And, BTW, this is the safest place to be. His eye is ever on us for our good and His glory never one surpassing the other and His desire is for each life to accomplish the purposes for which He has ordained through His power equipping us for this great task. Indeed, King David writes in Psalms 16:6 (NIV): The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Our afflictions are not the cruel acts of a capricious God who delights in inflicting pain on His helpless people rather they come from the hand of a loving and compassionate God who remains faithful to His covenant of love. He knows when we are outside of His boundaries we are in unsafe territory. It is never harmless to stray from what we know to be true and right. All sin carries with it a death to something – be it trust or love or whatever. And there are always consequences to sin yet blessings in obedience. We live in a broken and fallen world where evil happens as well as sickness and death – yet God can take even these culprits and make beauty from our ashes and giving us “the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” as the Prophet Isaiah pens. He is a wonder working God and does not enjoy seeing His people suffer needlessly by our own poor choices. That is why He has set forth these boundary lines. One fine day all things will become crystal clear. Remember earth is not our home rather our passage, our training ground for what lies ahead in heaven.
“Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you--they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess. Deuteronomy 32:46-47 (NIV)