Is Your Eye on the "Ribband of Blue"?

Numbers 15:38‑39  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
“Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: and it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and, do them. 15:38, 39.
THIS is a most interesting and instructive scripture, full of significance for us. Not that we are called to dress in a peculiar garb, or to wear fringes or ribbands. Christianity is spiritual, and deals with the inward work of God in the soul, producing practical and visible effects in the character, life, and ways of God's saints. And where it is not the case, that man's religion is vain. But if we need no "ribband of blue" round our garment to-day, yet surely the life of every Christian should be colored by that which it denotes. As another has aptly put it, "The heavenly principle must enter into the minutest details of life, even in those that are nearest to the earth, if we wish to escape the serious evils which bring down the judgment of God.”
Blue, as has often been remarked, is the heavenly color, and Christians are heavenly even as Christ is heavenly (1 Cor. 15:4848As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. (1 Corinthians 15:48)). They should live a heavenly life on earth—a life according to the, holiness of God, separate from all that is worldly and all that is not according to His mind. The Ephesian epistle sets before us our position in the heavenlies in Christ now (Eph. 1, 2.), and the Philippian epistle the practical walk of heavenly saints on earth. (Alas! how far we come short!) From beginning to end of the epistle to the Philippians there is no mention of Satan or sin; "the flesh" is only brought forward that we may have no confidence in it (Phil. 3:3,43For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: (Philippians 3:3‑4)), while joy and rejoicing in the Lord, with suffering here, are presented as our appointed portion till He come.
As the Israelite looked upon the blue ribband round the border of his garment, he would remember his position of favor among God's people and his responsibility to obey all the Lord's commandments; and his eye and his heart would be kept from many snares. But where there was forgetfulness of Jehovah's institutions he was exposed to the enemy's wiles, and fell a prey to his own lusts.
So is it to-day. The "stranger" has been brought into blessing and highest heavenly privilege. We who were afar off, poor sinners of the Gentiles, who believe the blessed gospel of God, are found in His assembly. The border between the Christian and the world should be distinctly seen by every eye, and it is so where there is true spirituality. What a testimony the Church of God would have been if the precept of the "ribband of blue" had been hid in every Christian's heart! Alas! we, like Israel, have allowed our hearts and eyes to go after other things. To use a figure, the color of the ribband has almost entirely faded away. The Church and the world have shaken hands, and the Church has fallen, more or less, to the world's level. Blessed is it indeed when saints wake up to their high calling and responsibility, and when the heavenly color is manifest in whole-hearted obedience to the revealed will of God.
The Lord has brought us out of this Egypt world, and we are passing through a moral waste where all is defiling on account of the presence of sin. Our only safeguard is to carry the deep significance of the "ribband of blue" in our hearts. So we shall be preserved day by day, and walk well-pleasing to our God. What can be more lovely in His sight than an assembly of His saints characterized by heavenly-mindedness?
In our Lord's day the scribes and Pharisees had made broad their phylacteries and enlarged the borders of their garments. They had not forgotten the "ribband of blue," but had misused it. They enlarged their borders that the eyes of other men might behold them, but their own hearts were far from the true meaning of the ribband. They were self-occupied, loud in words, and busy in works, but their words were vain and their works were to be seen of men! Alas! how many to-day follow in their steps!
But there was One who had a border to His garment whose eye and heart never wandered. The Son of God walked as man on earth, a heavenly stranger. The border of blue was ever a perfect line of demarcation between Him and a sinful world. "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God" (Heb. 10:99Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (Hebrews 10:9)). He remembered to do all the commandments of God.
And how blessed to see the healing virtue of Him, whose "ribband of blue" never faded, in this ruined world! A poor woman sinking rapidly into the grave, who had spent all her living in view of a remedy, came behind Him and touched the border of His garment, and immediately she was made whole (Luke 8:4444Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. (Luke 8:44)). One touch was enough. And so it is also to-day for the healing of any sin-sick soul who believes on Him.
May the Lord in His grace give each reader of these lines to learn the deep significance of the "ribband of blue." We belong not to this world. Heaven, where Christ is, is our home. We are but passing through a world steeped in sin, and there is no preservation from its corruption and defilement unless our eyes and hearts are governed! so to speak, wholly and solely by the ribband. Is your eye fixed upon it?
E. H. C.