Read Numbers 5 - 6
In Today's Reading:
Laws concerning cleansing, confession and restitution, 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. One who made the Nazarite vow was prohibited from drinking any liquor (juice) of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. . . . he shall come at (touch) no dead body. . . All the days of his separation he is holy (consecrated) to the LORD (Numbers 6:2-8).
The Nazarite's separation to God was expressed in several ways including abstinence from grape juice and eating fresh grapes or raisins, representative of the best of physical satisfaction and by refusing to be defiled by the dead, representative of spiritual deadness (vss 1-12). However, the Nazarite still was 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 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 failed in his separation from the world and, consequently, did not fulfill his opportunities to lead the Israelites to victory over the Philistines. In contrast, Samuel's dedication (I Samuel 1:28) to the Lord led him to free the nation from Philistine domination and unite the 12 tribes in preparation for a united kingdom. Although the Nazarite vow no longer applies, our personal consecration and dedication is vital to our fulfilling the will of God.
There was nothing sinful about eating grapes, for God created the fruit of the vine; but, often, we allow even the "good" things of life to take the place of Christ. Those who have a desire to dedicate their lives to Christ will abstain from pleasures that interfere with serving Him as well as abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22).
The Apostle Paul was led to write: I beseech (beg) you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present (offer) your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to 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 (approve) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:1-2).
5:7 recompense = make 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 worldly influence to do the will of His Father. In the last moments before His Arrest, He submitted to the Heavenly Father and declared: Your will be done (Matt. 26:39,42).
Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Valentine DeSanta Jr. · BP Staff: Barbara Bivens · Government Officials: Rep. Gresham Barrett (SC), Sen. Judd Gregg (NH), Rep. Nicholas Lampson (TX), and Rep. Richard Neal (MA) · Country: Malawi (10 million) in southeastern Africa · Major languages: English and Chichewa · Religious freedom · 34% Protestant; 23% Roman Catholic; 16% Muslim; 16% animist; 4% cults · Prayer Suggestion: Ask for understanding of the Word of God as you read each day (Psalm 119:34).
Optional Reading: Luke 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 5:7