Speak to the Israelites, and tell them to make fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations and to put a blue cord on the fringe at each corner that when you see it you shall remember and do all my commandments, and you shall be holy to your God.”
Numbers 15: 38-40 (NRSV)
Today is my birthday. Yes, I was born on Memorial or Decoration Day. Originally held on May 30th, 1868, Memorial Day is to remember people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday (unlike my birthday) is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May and marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. It is so important that we remember notable dates and celebratory events. Activities such as family and high school reunions and special memorial services act as “points of stability” during times of uncertainty and confusion. They help us solidify our belief systems by revisiting roots and remembering our past. It is with this in mind, that I’d like to share my favorite WordBytes, which always helps me remember not only who I am but also, “Whose I am”.
It is not unusual to see people “wearing” their beliefs. They do this by putting on designated colors to show their affiliation and support. In October, both men and women, showed their connection with breast cancer awareness by wearing the color pink. During the Vietnam War, friends and family wore yellow ribbons to show their support for the young men engaged in battle on behalf of this nation.
The newest trend is wearing rubber wristbands in a myriad of colors to support everything from prevention of animal cruelty to sexual preference. But the wearing of color as a reminder is not a new phenomenon. In Numbers 16:37-41, God instructs Moses to tell the children of Israel to place tassels on the corners of their garments with a blue tread. These blue tassels, in the form of a flower or petal, were attached to the edge of one’s garment. They were placed there as a perpetual reminder of two things.
First, the blue tassels reminded the Israelites to follow God’s commandments. God’s commands are more than a list of “do’s and don’ts”. They are His instructions on how we are to live in relationship with Him and with our fellowman. God’s commands, found in the Bible, are divine orders to help us live victoriously in a fallen world. By them we are warned; in keeping them there is great reward (Ps. 19:11).
Second, the blue tassels reminded the Israelites to live holy for God. Why was God concerned with holiness? God knew the children of Israel would be tempted to assume the habits and beliefs of the pagan, sinful society they occupied. Holiness demands separation and consecration of oneself for God’s special purposes. Each step of the believer was to be encircled by blue tassels that symbolized the restraints and freedoms of knowing Yahweh (Deut. 6:8-9).
How do you remind yourself to obey God’s commandments? Many of us don’t even think about God’s expectations for our lives until Sunday morning. What’s your cue to help you live holy? God knew that the children of Israel needed a reminder. In His omniscience, He saw that we needed a reminder, too. Where are your blue tassels?
It’s not easy to live in the world and not be of the world (John 17:14-16). The world consists of the people, place, and beliefs that make up the environment we live in. We interact with the world through our social networks, our jobs and other relationships. Jesus warned His disciples, “If the world hates me they will also hate you” (John 15:18-19). The world will try to change your beliefs concerning God. They may call you bigoted, intolerant, or small-minded. When this happens, look at your “blue tassels” and continue to walk confidently with the Lord.
SELAH: What are your blue tassels? What memory or belief do your blue tassels represent? Are they seen by the world all the time?