Surveyors today use highly accurate instruments to map territories and set property boundaries and borders. In olden times people used simple markers such as rock cairns to show such limits.
Civilized cultures have always valued the concept of boundaries to safeguard one’s possessions and show respect for the rights of others. We even codify these rights into laws, for without legal standards and judicial structures to secure them, greed and jealousy inevitably tempt some people to connive ways to cheat others out of their property.
Nearly 3,000 years ago Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22:28 Proverbs 22:28Remove not the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set.
American King James Version×: “Do not remove the ancient landmark . . .” His wisdom remains relevant to this day. He understood that when we tear down the boundaries that protect lands and property, tensions can set off fighting and even wars.
Why then would we expect anything less when we remove the “ancient landmarks” that govern marriage and family relationships?
Sociologists universally recognize that healthy, happy marriages and families form the foundation for a strong civilization. These crucially important social units don’t materialize accidentally! They are built by husbands and wives and fathers and mothers who cherish and train the next generation to respect the ancient landmarks that were established long ago by the One who perfectly understood the keys to happy living.
Today, though, the question is not whether the Creator’s laws governing marriage and family are under attack—that’s widely known! No, the pressing question for all humanity is whether we see the future: What effects will we wreak on society by removing these ancient landmarks? Solomon also warned, “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18 Proverbs 29:18Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.
American King James Version×, American Standard Version).
“Where Divine revelation, and the faithful preaching of the sacred testimonies, are neither reverenced nor attended,” wrote Adam Clarke in his commentary on this verse, “the ruin of that land is at no great distance.”
One of the greatest tragedies of recent decades is how so many people have been steadily casting off moral, ethical and even legal restraints—removing those ancient landmarks.
Did we have no vision? Can we not already read the failing report card warning us of the long-term effects of immorality, broken marriages, confused gender roles and fractured families? Are we blind to how we must— must— reestablish fundamental godly landmarks such as commitment, faithfulness, reconciliation, respect, love, forgiveness and honor?
No matter how society is going, your marriage and family can be happy! The way is not lost. If you are despairing, there is hope. If your family is already happy, you can preserve that blessing. The lead article in this issue takes you back to some of the ancient landmark principles that build a happy marriage. Just because these precepts are old doesn’t mean they’re irrelevant!
We would all do well to heed another ancient piece of advice found in Jeremiah 6:16 Jeremiah 6:16Thus said the LORD, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
American King James Version×: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.” GN