“And that they put upon the fringe a ribband of blue” Numbers 15:38
If you were an Israelite you would have been required to place fringes, or borders, on your garments and to have within the borders a ribband of blue. Blue is the heavenly color and was a means of reminding you of your heavenly character as you traveled through the wilderness and eventually made your home in Canaan. What are the lessons for us today? What behaviors are consistent with the blue on the borders of our garments?
First, blue is a reminder of a Place, for the Lord Jesus taught His disciples that there was awaiting them a home in Heaven for, “In My Father’s house are many mansions (abiding places)” (John 14:1-4). Not only is this our destination, but we are already citizens of that place for Paul wrote, “Our citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil 3:20). Today, we are at home in the body and absent from the Lord. The desire is to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord (2 Cor 5:1-8). Like Abraham we are to “look for the city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God.” When we look at the rib-band of blue we are reminded of that City.
Secondly, the blue on the garments is a reminder of what should be our Priorities. We are citizens of another country and are passing through this scene as pilgrims and strangers. We are to set our minds on things above not on things on the earth (Col 3:1-3). Our treasure is to be laid up in Heaven where there is no rusting and no robbery. Where our treasure is there will be our heart’s affection and our mind’s occupation (Mat 6:19-21). Timothy was unique as a believer. While all others sought their own things, he sought the things of Jesus Christ (Phil 2:20). Peter shows that the looking after our own things to the exclusion of the things of the Lord is merely accumulating for the great bonfire of the ages for “all these things shall be dissolved.” Are we building for the future or for the fire? Jim Elliott wrote, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” When Paul writes of “laying hold of eternal life,” he is referring to a life lived for eternal values rather than one lived for the present, passing age (I Tim 6:17-19). Demas lost sight of the blue; he forsook the apostle, “having loved this present age” (2 Tim 4:10). A look at the ribband of blue is a reminder of our Consecration.
Third, the blue on the garments is a reminder of Priesthood for, “we have an High Priest that is passed through the Heavens, Jesus, the Son of God” (Heb 4:14). He is presented in the Hebrew treatise as a Priest who has suffered in all points like as we have. We are exhorted to come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and to find suitable and seasonable help in our needs (Heb 4:14-16). He is strong and able to save, sympathize, succor, and strengthen the people He represents in the very presence of God. Are you suffering? Look at the blue on your garments! It is a reminder of His Care.
Fourth, the blue was a reminder of the Precepts of Jehovah and of the Path they were to follow. “That ye may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them.” Their obedience was to be total and absolute. They were not to be selective as to what portions of the Word of God they chose to obey. The language of the heart was to be like Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth”(1 Sam 3:9). They were not to follow their own hearts and their own eyes. The Word was to direct them in all their ways. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him…” (Prov 3:5-6). The blue was a reminder of their Conduct.
Finally the blue for us is a reminder of the Porous ia. We are to be like the saints in Thessalonica who turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for His Son from Heaven” (iThes 1:9-10). They were working, waiting and watching. Their minds were skyward. They were like unto men that wait for their Lord with their loins girded, their lights burning, and their lives in order (Luke 13:36). The early church lived in view of the imminent return of the Lord for His people. They were not of darkness but of the day and so did not participate in the deeds of darkness nor in the drunkenness of self-indulgence. The Lord was coming and the thoughts of His return regulated their behavior. The blue was a reminder of His Coming.
Should we put on the actual ribband of blue today? This is a dispensation that appeals not to the senses; is the dispensation of the Spirit. We should therefore put the blue upon our hearts and be constantly reminded of the City, of our consecration, of His care, of our conduct and of His coming.