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March 6 - The Nazirite Vow


Although Israel was supposed to be a kingdom of priests, not too many people could experience the priesthood. Only the sons of Aaron were allowed to be priests and other sons of Levi could serve at the tabernacle, according to the Mosaic Law. Nevertheless, God provided a way for the common people, even the slaves and women (with permissions from their masters, or husbands) could make the Nazirite vow and set themselves apart for God (like the priests and Levites) for a period of time. This is very meaningful for us today as we look at the details of the vow.

The first part of the vow was about abstinence. The person who made the vow was to abstain from touching a dead body (ceremonial defilement), from wine, strong drinks or beer, from fresh grapes, raisins, grape juice, vinegar and even grape seeds. Nazirite men were to abstain from shaving their beard (which is a symbol of unimpaired strength, see the life of Sampson).

The second part of the vow consisted of promises made to God, often on condition of His granting certain specific petitions (e.g. Hannah’s prayer for a baby boy). The subject of the vow was responsible to make himself available for use by God and to discharge the prescribed sacrificial worship. God’s purpose in establishing the Nazirite group was to raise up within Israel a class of devoted spiritual leaders, to whom He in turn would grant special powers, like being filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15, John the Baptist).

This is the essence of what is called sanctification, to set oneself apart from the world (abstinence) and separate oneself to God and His purpose. God is calling forth spiritual leaders like those who made the Nazirite vow, willing to give up things of the world and dedicate themselves to God. When you do that, God will fill you with His Holy Spirit for completing the tasks you are dedicated to.

What are some of the things you want to abstain from? Some of them are quite unclean and could cause you to sin, like addictions to video games or watching TV. There are some that are quite neutral but because you enjoy them, they could become your stumbling block. Drinking not to excess is good but there is always a possibility of getting drunk. Good food is an enjoyment that may become a distraction in our lives. Others like good hobbies and listening to classical music can also take up much of our time. Which of these you are going to fast from in order to dedicate more of yourself to God?

Has God been speaking to you about dedicating more to Him? This could be the day that you commit more of your time and resources for the Kingdom.

Ps 35:19-28 Num 6:1-7:89 Mark 12:38-13:13 Prov 10:27-28

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