A Blue Ribbon of Distinction

Numbers 15:38-41

    “Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: [39] And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: [40] That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. [41] I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.”


This instruction concerning the attire of the Israelites is of peculiar interest.  It has been established numerous times that there is nothing arbitrarily placed in the Word of God, but God has a pattern for everything, examples, types and foreshadows.   In speaking of things concerning the Old Testament forefathers, he said in 1Cor. 10:11 “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”  That ribband, or ribbon, fringe, or tassel of blue cautions us in at least three ways.

  1. I.                   IT WAS AN AID TO REMEMBRANCE Verse 39 says, “That you may look upon it, and remember…”  There is weakness in human memory.  Even the most sincere can be forgetful.  It reminded those who wore it to remember how God had delivered them (verse 41).  The blue color also caused them to think on heavenly things.
  2. II.                IT URGED THEM  TO WALK IN  OBEDIENCE.  Again, verse 39 says, …that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them;  This is not simply a sentimental remembering.  It is a practical remembrance.  We’ve all heard the expression that one can be “so heavenly-minded, until they’re no earthly good.”  Being heavenly-minded must be linked with godly obedience.
  3. III.             IT WAS A MARK OF SEPARATION.  Verse 40 says, “That ye may remember…and be holy unto your God.”  This tassel of blue bears the most significance in this association.  God evidently meant for this separation to be noticeable to all, being symbolized by a blue border.  It was not an odd or ugly kind of separation, nor was it meant to mean isolation.  It was, however, a separation that clung about them all the time, and it was meant to be recognizable both to the wearer and the watcher.
How powerfully this speaks to we who are the people of Christ!  We are to be a separated people.   “[Christ] gave himself for us, so that he might make us free from all wrongdoing, and make for himself a people clean in heart and on fire with good works.” (Titus 2:14 – Basic English Translation)  “But you are a chosen race, a priesthood of kingly lineage, a holy nation, a people belonging specially to God, that you may make known the perfections of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”  (1 Peter 2:9 – Weymouth N.T.)  (Also see: Ephesians 5:25-27; Galatians 1:4; 1 Corinthians 6:14-18)  He would have us to continually remember Him who has so loved us and wrought such a work of redemption for us!  Fasten your heart on these verses: 


John 14:26 - “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”


1 Cor. 11:24 - “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”


2 Tim. 2:8 - “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:”


2 Peter 1:13 - “Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;”


Christ would have us to express our remembrance of Him by demonstrating genuine obedience.  Not in some measly relic–worship, or sanctimonious professionalism like that which He so forcefully rebuked in the Pharisees.  “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).  There has to be thorough holiness.  There must be the mark of sanctification about us – not like that of cowled monks or isolationist, but of everyday saints of God.  Not the pharisaical type of hypocritical sanctification of do’s and don’ts, but an authentic separation born out of a personal relationship with Christ!



Pastor Mike

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