As you know from one of my earlier posts, I'm reading through the Bible this year. I try to do that every year with varying degrees of success. Since I'm going chronologically this year I'm in Numbers. Now, I know the reputation that Leviticus and Numbers have as being the "weed out" books of the Bible. They tend to be like the early Physics, Chemistry, and Statics/Dynamics courses in college. You better be serious about accomplishing your end goal or those courses will knock you right out of the program. But I think they get a bad rap. There is great stuff in these books.
For example, I just read Numbers 15 and it packs a whollop. The Israelites had just been told that the current generation would not get to enter the Promised Land because of their rebellion against God in refusing to go and take it (Numbers 14). Then, and this is pretty cool, God turns around and gives them a series of laws that they are to observe, "when you come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving you" (Numbers 15:2). Did you catch that? It would have been easy to begin thinking that they would never inherit the land, in fact I'm sure that's what most started to believe, but God indirectly reminds them otherwise. Why? Because often circumstances overwhelm us and we falter in our faith. Our emotions get the better of us and we start feeling hopeless when God's word says differently. True, a whole generation were going to miss out on taking part in the promise, but God was still faithful to His promise and His people. The same is true today.
Numbers 15 ends with the command for the people to make tassels on their cloths to, "look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after." That's pretty direct. Our emotions and the circumstances around us will lead us astray and we will gladly follow if we don't keep an eternal perspective. What are your "tassels" (physical reminders) that keep you on track? We all need them. The last thing Numbers 15 says is the reason to have them, "So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD your God." We need some things around us throughout the day to remind us that God is still God, Jesus has defeated sin and death and is on the throne, and He will do all that He has promised. I need some tassels.