Read Numbers 5 -- 6
In Today's Reading:
Laws concerning cleansing, confession,restitution, and jealousy; the Nazarite vow
The Nazarite vow committed an individual to a life set apart to God for a specific period of time or even for life. A vow of a Nazarite, to seperate themselves to the LORD: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. . . . nor (shall he) eat moist grapes, or dried. . . . he shall be holy. . . . he shall come at (touch) no dead body. . . . All the days of his separation he is holy to the LORD (Numbers 6:2-8).
The Nazarite's consecration to God was expressed in several ways including abstinence from grape juice, fresh grapes, or raisins, representative of the best of physical satisfaction. They were also forbidden to touch a corpse even if it was their parent that had died. To be defiled by the dead was representative of spiritual deadness (vss 6-12). But, the Nazarite was still responsible for offering all the usual sacrifices, such as the sin offering. This points out that, even in doing our very best to separate ourselves from the world, we still fall short of being free from all spiritual defilement. However, the Apostle John wrote to Christians: If we say that we have fellowship with Him and (intentionally) walk in darkness we lie. . . . (It is also a fact that) If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves. . . . (but, because He loves us) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us (I John 1:6-9).
Only two people in the Old Testament are recorded as lifelong Nazarites. One was Samson (Judges 13:7), who failed his Nazarite calling and, consequently, did not fulfill his opportunities to lead the Israelites to victory over the Philistines. In contrast, Samuel's faithfulness (I Samuel 1:28) to the Lord led him to free the nation from Philistine domination and unite the tribes 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; but, often, even the "good" things of life take the place of Christ. Those who love Christ will abstain from pleasures that interfere with serving Him.
The Apostle Paul was led to write: Therefore, brethren, by (because of) the mercies of God . . . present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God . . . 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).
5:7 recompense = to make full restitution; 5:13 neither . . . be taken with the manner = not caught in the act; 6:3 moist = fresh; 6:4 vine tree = grapevine; 6:6 come at = go near.
Nazarite is the transliteration of a Hebrew term meaning dedication by separation (Numbers 6:1-8). Jesus separated Himself from all worldy influence to do the will of His Father. In his crises of life or death He said: Your will be done (Matthew 26:39,42).
Government Officials: Rep. Gresham Barrett (SC), Sen. Judd Gregg (NH), Rep. Nicholas Lampson (TX), and Rep Richard Neal (MA) · for the International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in memory of Iva Ann McElroy · Country: Nigeria (114 million) in western Africa · Major languages: English and Hausa · Government permits all types of religious activity · 36% Muslim; 19% Protestant; 15% animist; 7% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His mercy and loving-kindness (Psalm 86:15).
Optional Reading: Luke 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:9