Today’s scripture selection: Psalms 72-74
Key verses: Psalm 74:16-17
“The day is yours, and yours is the night; you established the sun and moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.”
In my pastoral counseling I have found one book particularly helpful time and again. It is BOUNDARIES, by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I can’t tell you how many times I have found, after exploring some issue with a counselee, that the need for “healthy boundaries” is the key to the problem.
What do I mean by healthy boundaries – well, Cloud and Townsend cover that better than I can here. But basically I find it means living life in balance – reasonable self-care and self-respect balanced by empathy, caring and respect for others. It means you don’t live like a doormat – but you don’t wipe your feet on others either. And, most important, you recognize and live within the moral and spiritual boundaries that God has set in place. Not because they are the “rules” you have to reluctantly follow – but because they are an important part of living a healthy, full, and joyful life.
Thousands of years ago – a wise poet, writing in the Psalms, understood this.
I don’t think the Psalm is speaking only about how God sets natural boundaries in the world – the dividing line between sea and land; sky and earth. I think it acknowledges and praises God for something deeper. God sets the very boundaries in which we live as His children. And, should we freely choose to violate those boundaries – well, it’s at our own peril.
Again, it’s not about God keeping us “in line.”
It’s about God showing us the way to have helpful “fences” in our lives without our building “walls” between one another. (Again, for more on that…see the book.)
I praise and thank God for establishing “all the boundaries of the earth.” And for, through His word, teaching me how to establish some healthy ones of my own.
Prayer: Almighty, all loving God, you show me how to live a life that is full and rich. You teach me how to help others live that life too. May I faithfully follow those lines of direction in all I do and say. AMEN.