Make Thee Fringes

One of the simplest commands in Scripture, and one of the easiest to obey, is to make fringes or tassles in the borders of our outer garments. (De 22:12) It’s God’s way of helping us remember to keep His laws (Nu 15:39-40), sort of like an accountability partner. The only requirement is that they be visible, fringe-like attachments, and that each one contain a strand of blue. (Nu 15:38)

Wearing an external symbol of our obligation to obey all of God’s commands reminds us and those around us that we are set apart for God, to walk in His ways. Those who aren’t pursuing God see this as unusual and unique, perhaps religious, expecting something different of us, something better, everywhere we go. It is, in fact, like making the whole world our accountability partner, one soul at a time, a constant check on and reinforcement against any temptation or ungodly impulse.

One might reason that this can’t be part of the “moral law” since it’s so simple and mechanical, but reminding ourselves to be good, and enabling others to expect this of us, certainly is moral; it’s very helpful and beneficial; there’s nothing amoral or arbitrary about it.

Others might reason that this must be a distinctively Jewish law, and that non-Jews are off the hook. But why would any believer reason like this while God’s in the process of writing all His Laws into their very heart and mind? (He 8:10) Jesus Himself tells us not to think this way, and to keep all God’s commands, even the least of them. (Mt 5:17-19) God’s whole point in giving us His Law is to bless Mankind with a revelation of Himself: He gave it to the Jews so they could teach it to the rest of us, living it out as an example of His righteous ways. (De 4:6-7)

We can’t rightly divvy up God’s Law and say some of it’s for Jews and some of it isn’t, or that some of it’s important and the rest isn’t; its one law for us all. To despise and neglect this simple command, a gateway command to the vast treasures of Torah, is essentially to despise all of God’s ways and laws. (Ja 2:10-11) Yet Paul delighted in all of God’s Law (Ro 7:22), and so should we; our souls should be breaking for the longing we have for His judgments at all times (Ps 119:20), loving His laws intensely (Ps 119:97), hiding them in our hearts (Ps 119:11) and meditating on them all the time. (Ps 119:15)

God’s commandments are given to us for our benefit; He intends a blessing for us in every single one of them. (Ps 1:2-3) Who among us couldn’t use a little more blessing? Starting with the easy, mechanical, external ones can help us train our hearts in keeping the more motive-oriented internal ones.

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