"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

BOOKMARK AND SHARE

Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 31, 2022

NUMBERS – From SINAI To The PROMISED LAND: Chapters 6 A Deeper Dedication To God: The Nazarite Vow

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire
Complete Study of Numbers Ch. 1-10 by pastor Chuck Smith

NUMBERS 6: “A DEEPER DEDICATION TO GOD: THE NAZARITE VOW” – by Sonny Islas; for the complete teaching, check out this video.

INTRODUCTION: In NUMBERS 6, we will find that the LORD allowed for a deeper dedication to Him known as the Nazarite Vow – which literally means separated unto the LORD. This vow was not mandatory, it was totally voluntary. At times this Nazarite vow was taken out of pure gratitude towards God’s goodness and at times it was to simply draw closer to God – closer than the average joe or Jew in this case.

In short, the Nazarite Vow consists of staying away from drunkenness, not cutting one’s hair, and staying away from dead bodies for as long as the vow was made. No pubs, no barber shops, and no funerals.

NUMBERS 6:1-8
1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD, 3 'he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. 4 'All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin. 5 'All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. 6 'All the days that he separates himself to the LORD he shall not go near a dead body. 7 'He shall not make himself unclean even for his father or his mother, for his brother or his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head. 8 'All the days of his separation he shall be holy to the LORD
.

Q: Who was allowed to partake in the Nazarite Vow? And for how long?
A: [vs. 2] “either a man or a woman” The Nazarite Vow was a voluntary pledge and was open for both men and women.

The only difference between the genders was that in NUMBERS 30 regarding vows, daughters had to get permission from their fathers and wives had to get permission from their husbands. I’m sure that this was God’s way of placing proper respect on the role and authority of the head of household.

Also, the Nazarite Vow was open to all twelve Tribes i.e. Samson was from the Tribe of Dan, while Samuel and John the Baptist were from the Tribe of Levi. All three men were given over to the Nazarite Vow as babies by their parents (and God).

By the way I find it interesting that all three of these men were born to barren mother’s; Manoah’s wife (unnamed), Hannah and Elizabeth. All three men (Samson, Samuel and JB) were to be lifetime Nazarites and as you know, out of these three men, Samson totally broke and disgraced the Nazarite Vow again and again i.e. In JUDGES 14:9 Samson eats honey from a lion’s carcass (which was prohibited) (also, never look for sweets in dead things!). And in JUDGE 16, the infamous Delilah got Samson to reveal the secret of his strength – his hair – and she had it cut off (which was prohibited). Consequently, Samson and his God-given strength came tumbling down. He was restored and used mighty one last time but died in the process. The strength of Samson was connected to the keeping of the Nazarite Vow – in obeying God.

Note to TTUF Readers: Check out this article about the life of Samson.

In the New Testament we find the Apostle Paul who was from the Tribe of Benjamin performing this Nazarite Vow at least two times. Once in ACTS 18:18 and another in ACTS 21:23, 24
[vs. 8] “All the days of his separation” The Nazarite Vow didn’t have a one size fits all duration – there was no specific time frame. One could keep this vow for a month or a lifetime – the length of the vow was left to the one making it.

Again, the Nazarite Vow was a deeper dedication to God, it was to be separate, holy, consecrated unto the LORD by:

1. Staying away from wine or any grape product (vs. 3, 4). They were to avoid drunkenness and intoxication. And the reason why God prohibited wine to the point of even grapes and raisins is because He knows our nature, we like to fudge a little, cheat a little – God knew that eating raisins can lead to the temptation or desire to drink wine and possibly end up drunk.
One of the reasons why God was angry with Judah was because AMOS 2:12 says, that “the Nazarites were given wine to drink” – referring to intoxication.

And at this time (Amos’s time) in Israel's history, both the prophets and the priest who were supposed to lead by example were shameless drunks and instead of encouraging the Nazarite to remain faithful, they pulled them down by offering them strong drinks. Let’s be careful to never look down on a brother or sister who is much more dedicated to the LORD than we are. Let’s encourage them to press on, not give in.

In ISAIAH 28 God threatens Israel’s leaders for their drunkenness i.e. ISAIAH 28:7,8 says, “But they also have erred through wine, and through intoxicating drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, they are swallowed up by wine, they are out of the way through intoxicating drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filth; No place is clean.” Imagine what God saw from heaven? Throw up...vomit!

They Stumble in judgment: Imagine you came to my house one day totally broken and looking for prayer and godly counsel - and I came to the door with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s in my hand? And Marla says, “are you sure you want to come in, Pastor Sonny has been at it all day?!” You would be totally discouraged by me. Why? Because no one wants to be led or counseled by drunks. Not congregants, not wives and not children.
Anyone who wants to take the things of God seriously should stay clear away from drinking. In PROVERBS 31:4, Solomon’s mom (aka the Virtuous women) tells him, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel (meaning: Belonging to God),
It is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink;” This is wise and godly counsel! The PROVEBS 31 women are not whiskey drinking women. Her thirst is quenched with the waters/wisdom of God!
Paul commands Christians to avoid intoxicants in EPHESIANS 5:17,18 says, “Therefore do not be unwise, (don’t be fools) but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (recklessness); but be filled (controlled) with the Spirit,”
We are NOT to be controlled by alcohol, by our lustful passions, by our prideful attitudes, by self-ambition, by the love of money, by the praise of man, by this world’s crooked ways, etc. etc.
So, stay away from the bars, pubs, clubs, and so on – because like Lemuel, you too belong to God.

2. The second rule of the Nazarite Vow was to not cut your hair (verse 5): To let your hair grow!
There is something very interesting about the Nazarite’s head and hair. i.e. As you know, no one could be a High Priest unless they were a Levite and at this time a son of Aaron and no one could be a priest unless they were from the Tribe of Levi, – BUT – You could be a Nazarite or “like” a high priest in the sense of being totally dedicated to God – like a priest.
For example the golden crown that the High Priest wore (in LEV 8:9) (at this time Aaron – Moses’ older brother) had the words HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD engraved on the front of the golden crown. Well, this word “crown” used for the High Priest is the same word used for “Nazarite” – Nazer Nazer/Naziyr Nazir

In other words, the Nazarite’s hair was like the High Priest's golden crown! Symbolically speaking the hair of the Nazarite said – “HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD”.

The long hair identified them as Nazarite – everyone knew when someone took the vow. And the longer the hair, the more dedication one was because the longer the vow was. How long is your ‘spiritual hair’? How noticeable is your dedication to God? What sets us apart? How can others identify us as “separate unto the LORD?’’ ----- Our character? Our sincerity? Our unwillingness to get drunk and talk stupid? Our knowledge of the truth? Our love for Jesus?

Here is where it gets really interesting – In NUMBERS 6:18 it says that when the Nazarite Vow was over, they were to shave their head and put the hair on the altar as an offering unto the LORD – In REVELATION 4 (the twenty four Elders) God’s people cast their crowns before the LORD. At the end of the Nazarite vow they give their hair which was like the crown of the High Priest and at the end of our earthly dedication and at the end of our race – we too will cast our crowns before the LORD!

3. The third rule of the Nazarite Vow was to stay away from dead bodies (Verse 6): Even those of family members – funerals.
This level of dedication reminds me of MATTHEW 10:37 where Jesus says, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.”

Imagine your Nazarite Vow was for two years and 1 and ½ years into your vow, your dad dies, what do you do? Do you break the vow which may imply that dad is more important than God or keep pressing on in the strength of God? This is the ultimate test.

In MATTHEW 8 a young man wants to follow Jesus but says that he needs to bury his father first and Jesus says, “let the dead bury their own dead but you...” There is a connection to the Nazarite Vow type of dedication here.

What’s the spiritual implication for us Christians in the 21st century? Stay away from death - all that kills – bars, gossip, porn, lies, foul friends, drugs, hard drink, laziness, lustful desires, the love of money, selfishness etc. etc. and cling to life – the life of Jesus.

NUMBERS 6:9-27
9 'And if anyone dies very suddenly beside him, and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it. 10 'Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting; 11 'and the priest shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned in regard to the corpse; and he shall sanctify his head that same day. 12 'He shall consecrate to the LORD the days of his separation, and bring a male lamb in its first year as a trespass offering; but the former days shall be lost, because his separation was defiled. 13 'Now this is the law of the Nazirite: When the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

14 'And he shall present his offering to the LORD: one male lamb in its first year without blemish as a burnt offering, one ewe lamb in its first year without blemish as a sin offering, one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15 'a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and their grain offering with their drink offerings. 16 'Then the priest shall bring them before the LORD and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering; 17 'and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of peace offering to the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall also offer its grain offering and its drink offering. 18 'Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering. 19 'And the priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and put them upon the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his consecrated hair,

20 'and the priest shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD; they are holy for the priest, together with the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering. After that the Nazirite may drink wine.' 21 "This is the law of the Nazirite who vows to the LORD the offering for his separation, and besides that, whatever else his hand is able to provide; according to the vow which he takes, so he must do according to the law of his separation." 22 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 23 "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: 24 "The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace."' 27 "So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them
.

In closing: A New Testament parallel to the Nazirite vow can be found in:

ROMANS 12:1,2
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God
.

No comments:

ReferenceTagging.tag();