Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Puppy Creep!

Meditation for the week of March 6, 2011

Psalm 104:9 You have set a boundary that they (the waters) may not pass over, That they may not return to cover the earth.

My daughter has a very young excitable lovable puppy.  This puppy can be told to “stay” and she will lay down and “stay” for a few minutes.  But she keeps her eye on whoever has told her that and starts creeping forward a little at a time.  Her purpose is to get close enough to jump up and lick the face of the person who has told her to stay.  She knows what “stay” means but has no intention of “staying”.  She certainly doesn’t understand the concept of boundaries connected with personal space.  Some people really do not like having their faces licked by a dog.  People’s boundaries are often just as elastic as this puppy’s seem to be, particularly when it comes to the boundaries given to us in the Bible.

As I read the old testament history of the children of Israel, I find that God was clear that their boundaries were important. Because of the need to protect inheritances given to families, some things that were permissible generally, were not permissible in specific families.  One family only had daughters and they had to marry within their family so that their inheritance would not pass to men in another family (See Numbers 26).  Obviously, the application would seem to be that if we really want to preserve the blessings that God has given us, we must not go beyond the bounds set for everyone, but we may need to abide by a higher standard than others with regard to our personal boundaries.  For example, it is certainly permissible and even honorable to marry, but some people may choose to remain single so that marriage and its responsibilities are not a distraction to them in serving the Lord.

Balaam was a man who like my daughter’s puppy kept creeping beyond the boundaries given to him.  When I read of him in Numbers starting at chapter 22, I could wonder if he wasn’t a saved person (using new testament terminology).  He knew the mind of the Lord.  He talked to the Lord.  He prophesied things that were correct about the coming Messiah.  However, when we read about him in the new testament, he was obviously an unsaved evil person.   Jude 1:11-12, says,  “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.  These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves.”

While Balaam could not curse the children of Israel, he did know how to defeat them.  He knew that if he got them to violate their boundaries and if the men got involved with the Moabite and Midianite women, then they would also get involved with those nation’s gods.  And so while he didn’t curse them, he did want the money and prestige that went with using his prophetic ability to please men and not God.  This is a frightening passage.  How many preachers appear to have a Word from the Lord, when they really do not love the Lord or His people?

Today God has set social boundaries, boundaries for the local church, and personal boundaries.  In Genesis, God divided light from darkness.  That principle is seen in the new testament by the believer being “separate” from the unbeliever (2nd Corinthians 6:14-18).  We can’t (or shouldn’t) worship together, intermarry, or get into business with unbelievers.  We shouldn’t be in any relationship where the decisions we make would be morally different if we weren’t in the relationship. 

Today, when I listen to people interpreting the Bible, particularly with regard to things that they wish weren’t in the Bible, I see “puppy creep!”  People know that the unsaved are often not living right, but the way they live seems to have a certain attraction.  The carnal churches of our day grow so much faster that the ones that believe that the church exists to please the Lord even when that doesn’t please us.  But when confronted with an issue, we tend to ask, “What’s wrong with doing it that way?”  The better question would be “What is right with it?” or “How does the Lord feel about that?” 

God has boundaries.  Do we know what they are?  Do we have any “stops” beyond which we personally cannot go?  Two-year-old’s have very few boundaries, but we should not be acting like two-year-olds.  We should not be acting like Balaam or like my daughter’s puppy.  The boundaries we have should be boundaries that God has given us and not man, but once we are convinced as to where those boundaries are, we should not do a “puppy creep.”

Bruce Collins

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