If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Numbers 15, Psalm 51, Isaiah 5, Hebrews 12. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Psalm 51.
As I was working through today’s passages, I was struck by a thread that runs through three of them. First, in Numbers 15:37-41 God commanded the people of Israel to sew tassels to the corners of their garments. Why? Numbers 15:39-40: “You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.” In other words, the tassels were there to remind Israel not to sin particularly in the realm of sexual sins. At the very point of removing their garments, the tassels should have reminded them of God’s commands and that their covenants in marriage were made before God. It was one last emergency break before two of them committed immorality. I wonder how many sins were stopped and marriages were saved by this simple reminder?
Of course, if someone doesn’t care about God, or really wants to sin, or has never read in God’s law what the purpose of those tassels was, they will do no good. Rules and regulations can be safeguards to those who desire holiness and obedience but they are mere hassles to those who want to sin. Fortunately, as David exemplified in Psalm 51, God is merciful to those who call on him in faith seeking forgiveness. While we need God’s mercy and forgiveness, it is no substitute for a hunger for holiness. After pleading with God for his mercy and forgiveness, David turned in verse 10 to cry out for a holy heart: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” This is a sign of true repentance. We are so easily deceived by sin and find it so easy to rationalize in our own lives what we condemn in others, but when our sin is exposed, the harsh light cast on what it truly is, a truly repentant person wants God to change him or her.
And why can God show mercy and forgiveness to us? Hebrews 12: “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy that led Christ through the experience of the cross was the joy of showing mercy and grace to sinners and reuniting us to God through his sacrifice on the cross.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.