DEUTERONOMY 22:9-12: “Do not plant your vineyard with two types of seed; otherwise, the entire harvest, both the crop you plant and the produce of the vineyard, will be defiled. Do not plow with an ox and a donkey together. Do not wear clothes made of both wool and linen. Make tassels on the four corners of the outer garment you wear.” CSB
OBSERVATION: Can I be a Christian and dabble in the things of the world? Is the call to purity in life just an archaic notion of the past? Can I pick and choose the parts of the Bible that I like and dismiss the others that I find difficult or inconvenient to my life? All of these questions are answered by some practical advice given to a farmer.
In the midst of some very strong moral instruction in the book of Deuteronomy, the Bible suddenly gives some practical farming instruction to the agrarian nation of Israel. Israel was a farming and livestock community. The chief industry of the nation was managing livestock and planting crops. And it is in this context that the Lord gives them some very practical advice that also speaks volumes to their (and our) spiritual lives.
The basic instruction is the same.
- Don’t mix your seed, or it will contaminate your harvest.
- Don’t plow with an ox and a donkey, or it will impede your production.
- Don’t wear clothes made of both wool and linen, because it will cause you discomfort.
These instructions are very practical, and yet they hold some powerful spiritual truth.
We cannot mix a little bit of the Bible with the wisdom of this world. The wisdom of God comes from above, and the wisdom of this world comes from beneath. All truth is God’s truth, but the wisdom of this world seeks to pervert the truth of God. It challenges the revelation of God’s Word. It is the seed that chokes out that which the Lord desires to grow in our lives. It produces the opposite of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. If I want to know if I am mixing the seed in my life, all I have to do is check my fruit.
We cannot mix our friendships in life. This does not mean that we cannot be friendly with everyone. However, it speaks to the intimacy of our friendships. The Bible is clear – the wrong friendships affect our morals. When we are growing with fellow believers, our faith is growing, and we are becoming more like Jesus. When we are finding the intimacy of friendship with those who do not believe, we find our faith growing weaker, we find our attitudes slipping and changing, and eventually we find ourselves doing things that we once viewed as wrong. You cannot plow with an ox and donkey and expect something beneficial to come from it.
We cannot clothe ourselves with the wisdom of this world. To stand strong in the faith takes a life of commitment and purpose. We are called to abide in His Word, to meditate upon His commandments day and night. We must take every thought that rises against the knowledge of God captive in obedience through Jesus Christ – by His Word. If we don’t, if we begin to look at life through the lens of this world, we will find ourselves growing more and more discontent. There will be a struggle within that will not stop. It will be the flesh warring against the spirit. The flesh is always trying to keep us from growing in the spirit. For a Christian this will be as uncomfortable as putting on a wool suit in the heat of August!
There is one more instruction.
- “Make tassels on the four corners of the outer garment you wear.”
This instruction seems strange to us, as we no longer wear the type of clothes the Israelites wore. Why the four tassels on their garment? What was the significance of this instruction?
- “The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and tell them that throughout their generations they are to make tassels for the corners of their garments, and put a blue cord on the tassel at each corner. These will serve as tassels for you to look at, so that you may remember all the Lord’s commands and obey them and not prostitute yourselves by following your own heart and your own eyes. This way you will remember and obey all my commands 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 15:37-41 CSB
This was not a new fashion statement. It was a call to remember the commandments of the Lord. It was a call to walk in purity and devotion to the Lord. It was a call to be His own peculiar people. Why? Because the Lord desired to bless them, to protect them, and to provide for them. He knew what sin would do to their life and their nation. And He knows what sin will do to our life if we give it an entrance, even in the smallest way.
I am not going to run out and start adding tassels to all of my shirts. However, I am going to take practical steps each day to remember the commandments of the Lord in all that I do. I am going to put His Word before my eyes each day before I start the day. I am going to listen to music that will lift my heart in worship. I am going to cultivate friendships that will strengthen my faith and challenge me in my growth. I am going to spend time in prayer and allow the Lord to transform my heart.
Then again, maybe tassels would look good on a Hawaiian shirt 🙂
In Jesus Name!