Today’s reading is on Numbers 6:1-21.
What are some of the things you abstain from to consecrate yourself from the Lord? There’s all sorts of temptations today from a laissez-faire society built around glorification of the self & disregard for others. Could be serious traps like sexual promiscuity, drug & alcohol abuse, lawbreaking, and general hedonism. Could be everyday temptations like gossip, sloth, prideful behavior, and hurtful or shameful speech. We all have our personal gauntlet of trials to run, but in our walk with Christ, we find strength to overcome & glorify Him in the outcome.
The vow of the Nazarite – coming from the word for ‘abstain’, ‘consecrate’, or ‘separate’ – was one of incredible dedication and servitude that was open to anyone back in the day who wished to fully discard the self and dedicate oneself to the Lord. Strict rules like forsaking anything grape-related, being unable to cut your hair, and complete separating from corpses or the dead were ways to show your rejection of the flesh & worldly ways, and to dedicate yourself 100% to God. And if broken, there are strict guidelines of how to make up for your broken vow, including sacrifices, a full shave, and the annulment of your vow – very public & serious ways to display the ending of your call to consecration. We heard about Samson yesterday, one infamous Nazarite set aside from birth, and how God blesses and displays His glory through those set aside for Him, even despite our broken prideful will to do things our own way.
I’m guessing many of you reading this aren’t dealing with questionable women trying to cut your hair, but we do all face ordeals that seek to threaten our vow to live righteously. When we lower our guard to temptation, it is incredibly easy for sin to slip in and ruin us, as what happened to Samson. And when sin gets in the way of our promise to God to follow Christ’s example, it can be costly and publicly damaging to both ourselves and our mission to shine God’s light on the world. Following God is not something we can start up and forget about – it is an active surrender of our whole selves that we must constantly and intentionally uphold.
When Samson raised arms against those who opposed God and prayed for strength, God answered. When he cried to God for water, God listened & provided. And when Samson begged for the strength to give his life for God, God blessed him and fulfilled him. In our faith, we are given incredible strength; probably not inhuman strength to kill thousands of men and tear down buildings, but to endure the trials and sorrows of life, to find hope and companionship in the darkest of times, and to be able to experience the many blessings of life God has to offer us. It is in the recognition of God’s glory and truth, the submission to His will, and the love of Him in our hearts that this strength is blessed upon us. It is a gift I am thankful beyond words to receive, and I lift my life to God because He is so generous to even extend such grace upon us. I would pray we would all remember our vow of righteousness to God, keep His promise that we would be seated at the right hand of the Father someday, and live every day in accordance with His loving word.