Summary: Why did God direct the children in the wilderness to wear long fringes and blue ribbons?
The children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness because of their unbelief. In Numbers 14:12 God was ready to strike them with a plague, but because of Moses’ plea, the Lord forgave them. Instead he banished that generation from entering the Promised Land. In today’s scriptures we find a group of people knowing that they will never pass into the land of milk and honey. A people bound and determined to rebel and complain for the next forty years. God passes along to Moses an interesting fashion statement to help them keep focused on him.
I. A MESSAGE FROM GOD – Numbers 15:37,38
A. What was the message?
1. Make fringes in the borders of their garments.
a. In Matthew 23:5 the Pharisees were rebuked for making their fringes excessively long as a show of their religion.
2. Put a blue ribbon on the fringes.
a. The blue ribbon made the fringes stand out.
B. Who was it directed to?
1. The children of Israel.
2. To be passed down through the generations.
II. THE REASON FOR THE MESSAGE – Numbers 15:39
A. So they would look upon the fringe, remember (recollect, reflect upon) the commandments of the Lord, and do them.
1. To keep them from pursuing the lust of their own hearts.
2. To keep them from pursuing the lust of their own eyes.
3. To keep them from pursuing their past. The phrase, “After which ye used to go a whoring”, has two meanings:
a. Sexual - to commit elicit sexual intercourse, to fornicate, to be a harlot. Galatians 5:19-21
b. Spiritual – To apostatize, to have intercourse with false gods.
III. THE REASON FOR THE MESSAGE REPEATED – Numbers 15:40
A. To remember and do the commandments of the Lord.
1. Look is dropped from the wording.
2. “Be ye holy”, is added to the wording.
a. In our lifestyle – Leviticus 20:6-8
b. In our bodies – Romans 12:1
Lasciviousness – readiness for all pleasure, acknowledging no restraints.
c. In our conversation – 1 Peter 1:15
IV. WHY SHOULD THEY LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE? – Numbers 15:41
A. I am the Lord your God.
B. I brought you out of Egypt to be your God.
C. I am the Lord your God.
CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION
I do not need to go into a great deal of explanation for Christians to see how this passage of scripture could apply to us. The message is fairly clear. It is a sad but true fact of human nature: if we do not have something to remind us we tend to forget about God and fall back into our old ways. We go after the lust of our own hearts and eyes and stray back into the pursuit of a life that we used to live.
Christians don’t put long fringes and blue ribbons on their garments, but there are many things to remind us that we are God’s children. Crosses, calendars, bumper stickers, and t-shirts are some things that we see in this modern world. However, the best way for us to remember and do the commandments of the Lord is to spend time in God’s holy Word and prayer building up our relationship with him. We need to be able to look within ourselves and see Jesus Christ living there. If we concentrate on his Word and strive to live a life of holiness then we will never find ourselves wandering in the wilderness of unbelief.
Won’t you listen to this message and make a commitment to walk closer to God today? Why? Because he is the Lord your God. Or is he?