Friday, October 26, 2012

Tassle Tussle

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

We are currently finishing up our unit title 'Pure Heart' in the Friends (grades 6 - 8) club.  Every unit has to have a project or an adventure or some such thing; the first time we did 'Pure Heart' the project was the human video for the Girls' Ministry talent competition ('Average Girl' by Barlow Girl was perfect).

But this year our human video will be the project for 'Commitment to Christ', coming up after Christmas, and I needed a project for Pure Heart.

And I found it by ignoring the chapter divisions when reading up on Moses for another thing altogether.

I was actually researching Moses' most common reaction to opposition -- falling facedown rather than justifying his position -- and I saw something I'd never seen before.

We're all familiar with the story of Korah's rebellion in Numbers 16; what I had not really noticed was what happened in the tail end of  chapter 15, which is what resulted in Korah and his buddies presenting themselves before Moses and Aaron and proclaiming, 'You have gone too far!'

It was over tassels.

Some poor guy had been caught gathering firewood on the Sabbath; not a smart thing to do when keeping the Sabbath was part of the covenant Israel made with God.  On God's instruction, the fellow was taken outside the camp and stoned by the assembly, so they would realize the significance of breaking the covenant.  Then, God instructed Moses to direct the people to put tassels with a blue thread on the corners of their garments to remind them to keep the commandments of God.  In other words, so they won't forget and go out do what they think is expedient rather than keeping to the word.  So they would see the tassels and be constantly reminded that they belong to God and need to obey his commands and live by His decrees.

That's the end of chapter 15.  Where someone reading through would likely stop.  When they pick up with chapter 16, chances are they'll have forgotten what came before and just begin with "Korah and [his allies]...came as a group to Moses and Aaron and said to them, 'You have gone too far!  The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them.  Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord's assembly?'  

But remember, Moses did not split Numbers up into chapters and verses.  There is no division in the text between the decree to make the tassels and the protest.

This certainly leads one to believe that it was the tassels that set off the whole chain of events that began with that little group protest and progressed to the ground swallowing Korah and his cronies, fire from God consuming 250 men who thought they should have the same privileges as Aaron and his sons, the plague that killed 14,700  when people came the next day and accused Moses of causing the deaths of all those folks and finally ending when Aaron's staff budded and bore almonds, settling the authority question once and for all.

I was dumbfounded when I read this all in order.  I had just never put it all together like that.  Tassels.  A visible reminder to obey.  Such a simple thing...

As we discussed in our lessons, 'Pure' means 'unmixed'.  So I told the girls the story of Korah's rebellion, and we made tassels so they could put it where they will see it and be reminded that we are God's and we, too, need to keep our hearts dedicated to Him, unmixed with any personal agendas.

 Also as a reminder that a little rebellion can have serious consequences.

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