Friday, November 13, 2009

The Gift of Limits

Peter Scazzero talks about the gift of limits in his excellent book, The Emotionally Healthy Church. Basically his message is that we need to see the circumstances of our lives as God-given limits to be embraced, not chafed against. I've been meditating on this in the past few days because I really need to gain this perspective by faith. I resist and push against the limits God has place on my life.

I was reminded of David and how he embraced his limits with God in Psalm 16:5-6 -

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance (ESV)

For David, the image of God granting plots of "promised" land to different families and tribes in Israel provides him with an exquisite metaphor through which to understand his life and soul. The contours of his life have been lovingly determined by God, and he embraces these limits in faith as pure gift. Reading through Hosea, I am reminded that those who pushed against their limits by moving their boundary stones in Israel were worthy of judgment (Hosea 5:10).

David also says that the Lord is his inheritance, which calls to mind what God said to the Levites in Numbers 18:20, which says that the Levites won't have a portion of land because the Lord Himself will be their inheritance. To David, his circumstances are sweet because they are the gift of God, but God Himself is sweeter.

To put all this together, embracing the gift of providential limits on my life frees me from being bound and defined by those limits, and, more importantly, frees me to experientially know God as my "chosen portion and my cup." For He is our Promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey and rest. This is evident in the bookends to this Psalm, verse 2 and 16:

I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you." (v.2)

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (v.16)

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