While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. And the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the LORD commanded Moses.
The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner. And it shall be a tassel for you 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. 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.” (Numbers 15:32-41 ESV)
Obeying God is paramount. Here is a man who with a “high hand” is deliberately disobeying the command not to work on the Sabbath. He is showing he does not trust Yahweh to provide for him if he doesn’t work seven days a week. A public execution is required with all participating to demonstrate the seriousness.
The people need daily reminders of how important it is to obey Yahweh. The ESV Study Bible remarks, “In the ancient world, tassels were worn by nobles and other high-class people. In Israel they are to be worn by everyone as a mark of their status as the chosen people.” Every Israelite is royal in God’s eyes but still no one may follow after his or her own heart like the ten spies did. They must not be like prostitutes who will do whatever they need to to get what they want.
We need reminders also, and accountability from those around us who follow Jesus.
God has rescued us to be our God and to make a people holy to the Lord. We are responsible to know what it is He requires of us. I would not be a good husband if I did not pay attention to what my wife needs in our relationship. Why would we think we don’t have to study God to know what is the right way to relate to Him?
In the choir of life, it’s easy to fake the words, but someday each of us will have to sing solo before God.