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Bible Pathways - February 14, 2006

February 14, 2006

Read Numbers 5

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 forbidden to drink 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) unto 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 to the Lord (I Samuel 1:28) 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 ye present (offer) your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove (approve) what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:1-2).

Word Studies:

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.

Christ Revealed:

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: Thy will be done (Matthew 26:39,42).

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of George & Kathy Lees and in honor of Tammy Rutherford's birthday · The Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Agnes A. Shaeffer · Staff: Diana Hash · Government Officials: Rep. Gresham Barrett (SC), Sen. Judd Gregg (NH), and Rep. Richard Neal (MA) · Country: Iran (65 million) in southwestern Asia · Major languages: Farsi and Turki · Hostile to all Christian activity · 98% Muslim; .4% Christian · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment (Proverbs 2:1-6).

Optional Reading: Luke 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 12:14

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