Numbers 5 -- 6
The first four chapters of the Book of Numbers provide details for the positions of each tribe surrounding the Tabernacle as they journeyed toward the Promised Land. The following five chapters provide details concerning the inner life of the people. God told them it was of utmost importance that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell (Numbers 5:3). When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink . . . neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. . . . All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head . . . he shall be Holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. All the days that he separates himself unto the Lord he shall not come near a dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother. . . . All the days of his separation he is Holy to the Lord (6:2-8).
The Nazarite vow committed an individual to a life set apart to God for a specific period of time or even for life. The Nazarite's separation unto God was expressed in three ways: (1) By abstaining from wine and strong drink (vss 3-4), representative of worldly pleasure; (2) by refusing to be defiled with the dead, representative of spiritual deadness (vss 6-12), even for the burial procedures for a father or mother, indicating our service to the Lord as more important than natural affections; and (3) by letting one's hair grow, representative of a submissive spirit (vs 5). The Nazarite vow was wholly between the individual and God. However, the Nazarite was still responsible for offering all the usual sacrifices, such as the Sin Offering. This points out that in doing our very best to separate ourselves from the world we still fall far short of being free from all spiritual defilement.
Only two people in the Old Testament are recorded as lifelong Nazarites. One was Samson (Judges 13:7), who, through self-will, failed in his separation from the world and unto God and consequently did not fulfill his opportunities to lead the Israelites to victory over the Philistines. In striking contrast Samuel's (I Samuel 1:28) spiritual dedication to the Lord led him to free the nation from Philistine domination and bring the tribes together in preparation for a United Kingdom. Although the Nazarite vow no longer applies, our personal consecration and dedication is vital to fulfilling the will of God.
There was nothing sinful about eating grapes, for God created the fruit of the vine; but often, even the "good" can take the place of Christ. Dedication often requires self-denial, even of things which in themselves may not be sinful. Those who have a desire to dedicate their lives to Christ will not only abstain from pleasures that are sinful but also even from all appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22).
They will present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not 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 (Romans 12:1-2).
Nazarite is the transliteration of a Hebrew term meaning "dedication by separation" (Numbers 6:1-8). Jesus dedicated Himself to do the will of His Father (Matthew 26:39,42) separating Himself from sin even unto death.
5:7 recompense means to make full restitution; 5:13 neither . . . be taken with the manner means not caught in the act; 6:3 moist means fresh; 6:4 vine tree means grapevine; 6:6 come at means go near.
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