Do not move an ancient landmark
or enter the fields of the fatherless,
for their Redeemer is strong;
he will plead their cause against you.
In ancient times, as still some places today, landmarks were stone pillars that marked property lines. To move them was essentially an act of stealing property. God had commanded the Israelites, “Do not move your neighbor’s boundary stone set up by your predecessors” (Deut. 19:14, NIV). So entering “the fields of the fatherless” was done by moving the property line, knowing that the orphan and widow, having a weak position, have no one to defend them.
But “their Redeemer is strong,” because he watches over the cause of the defenseless, and he has the power to enforce justice. As Proverbs 15:25 says, “The LORD tears down the proud man’s house but he keeps the widow’s boundaries intact.” He also “will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them” (Prov. 22:23).
Who is the strong Redeemer that will defend those that have been robbed and were defenseless? The LORD revealed himself to the Israelites while they were slaves in Egypt as their redeemer when he instructed Moses to tell them, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment” (Ex. 6:6). God looks out for the cause of the weak, the poor, the helpless, the defenseless and the oppressed, as he did for his own people in slavery. As Job had experienced everything taken away from him but his life, he still had faith and exclaimed, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). The LORD is our Redeemer, who paid a price for us by the death of Christ the Redeemer on the cross. He rose from the dead and will soon return at an unexpected time as Judge of all the earth. Everyone will have to give an account for everything they have done (or not done that they should have done), said and thought. Those who have been redeemed by faith in Christ will have the judgment of God against their sin redeemed by the blood of Christ. Those who continue in their sin and unbelief shall have no defender or advocate and will be found guilty before the throne of God.
Although all will ultimately receive their appropriate reward or punishment at the consummation of all things, God also brings judgment upon the evil doer even in this life. So be careful of being dishonest and taking advantage of the weak. The LORD is watching!
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Bruce McDowell. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org