All over the world, there is talk about borders these days. Should nations have borders? What would be the consequences of not having borders? What should be the procedures for people who cross borders without the normal legal processes? All questions that need to be thought through. Today in our Torah portion, Pastor Mark brought out another way to think about borders. We need to consider national borders, but we also need to apply the following verses about borders to our personal lives. Even individuals need borders.
Exodus 23:31-33: “And I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the Euphrates. For I will deliver the inhabitants into your hand, and you will drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them or with their gods. They must not remain in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.”
First, let’s be clear, G-d Himself is the One who established borders. He set the precedent. As He says, I will establish your borders. He also makes clear who should remain within the borders He is establishing. Why is that so important? Because as we turn our attention to personal borders, we realize that the company we keep, and what we watch and listen to, all have an effect on us. Why does this matter? Because if our hearts belong to G-d, we have a purpose. We are to be light and salt in this world. We are to have an impact on this world by bringing others into the borders of the Kingdom. If our passion for G-d is watered down by outward influences, those influences need to go – they cannot remain within our borders.
Pastor Mark said that whatever it is that creates sin within you and is allowed to remain will become a snare to you. A snare is like being wrapped in a net the enemy has bound you in. You may be thinking, I have no golden idols. If so, I challenge you to think about how much time in your day is spent on social media. Are there people you dislike with no real reason? Do your hobbies, sports teams, or TV programs consume your thoughts and your time? “Gods” in our modern times look like the things just listed, as well as other things too ugly to even write about. We are to be a holy people, set apart for His purposes. We have Kingdom borders. In other words, we shouldn’t look like the rest of the world. There should be an obvious difference. This doesn’t mean we become weird, but we become His – 100%. What consumes Him should be our passion. His Words and directions to us become our reason for living. These are our borders. And these are the blessings for keeping holiness within our borders: Exodus 23:25-27: “Worship the LORD your G-d, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span. I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.”