I find the law (instructions) of the Nazirites to be very interesting to study, albeit briefly today. Many of us have heard of John the Baptist or Samson being Nazirite from birth, but in most cases it was intended to be for a limited time. The word Nazirite means separation, as in separation from the world. It is a vow that is intended to help us focus on being holy or set apart for the Lord.
Normally, the Lord allows drinking of wine and strong drink in moderation. Yeshua drank wine and even converted water into wine as His first miracle. However, wine in excess leads to much sin. Without debating too much why abstaining from strong drink was part of the Nazirite vow, we can certainly see that if we vow to avoid something to honor the Lord, we should take it very seriously. They were to avoid any consumption of grapes or grape skins, not just wine. This is a good parallel to demonstrate our approach to things which displease the Lord, such as sin. When He says to avoid sin, we should go far from it and take care not to rationalize how close to a sin we can get and still “be acceptable to the Lord”.
Perhaps in regards to the hair it is a way of separating ourselves from the focus on personal grooming. A separation from the shallow focus on how we look to other people.
Without dwelling too much on the remainder, which you can read for yourself, I think we can also consider that a believer and follower of Yeshua may want to take a vow of holiness or separation from time to time. It may not look exactly like the Nazirite vow, but let us take heart in supporting them if it is well founded. If someone wants to abstain, or “fast”, from alcohol for a time to honor the Lord… why should we discourage them. Generally we would want to test that what we are abstaining from is consistent and not contradictory with the Biblical teaching. For example, I would not recommend abstaining from prayer… that separates us from the Lord, not from the world to draw nearer to the Lord. I would not abstain from helping others. You get the point.
Law of the Nazirites
1Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When a man or woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to dedicate himself to the LORD, 3he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried grapes. 4‘All the days of his separation he shall not eat anything that is produced by the grape vine, from the seeds even to the skin.
5‘All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head. He shall be holy until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD; he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long.
6‘All the days of his separation to the LORD he shall not go near to a dead person. 7‘He shall not make himself unclean for his father or for his mother, for his brother or for his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head. 8‘All the days of his separation he is holy to the LORD.
9‘But if a man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his dedicated head of hair, then he shall shave his head on the day when he becomes clean; he shall shave it on the seventh day. 10‘Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the doorway of the tent of meeting. 11‘The priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make atonement for him concerning his sin because of the dead person. And that same day he shall consecrate his head, 12and shall dedicate to the LORD his days as a Nazirite, and shall bring a male lamb a year old for a guilt offering; but the former days will be void because his separation was defiled.
13‘Now this is the law of the Nazirite when the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall bring the offering to the doorway of the tent of meeting. 14‘He shall present his offering to the LORD: one male lamb a year old without defect for a burnt offering and one ewe-lamb a year old without defect for a sin offering and one ram without defect for a peace offering, 15and a basket of unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil and unleavened wafers spread with oil, along with their grain offering and their drink offering. 16‘Then the priest shall present them before the LORD and shall offer his sin offering and his burnt offering. 17‘He shall also offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, together with the basket of unleavened cakes; the priest shall likewise offer its grain offering and its drink offering. 18‘The Nazirite shall then shave his dedicated head of hair at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and take the dedicated hair of his head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of peace offerings. 19‘The priest shall take the ram’s shoulder when it has been boiled, and one unleavened cake out of the basket and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his dedicated hair. 20‘Then the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD. It is holy for the priest, together with the breast offered by waving and the thigh offered by lifting up; and afterward the Nazirite may drink wine.’
21“This is the law of the Nazirite who vows his offering to the LORD according to his separation, in addition to what else he can afford; according to his vow which he takes, so he shall do according to the law of his separation.”
If you or someone you know decides to take a vow of separation from the world, please pray and consider carefully. Take care not to make it so complex and so burdensome that you can not manage it. (I believe this may be why the Lord was so specific in the Nazirite vow… so men would not make it more complicated by adding their own rules.) It is better to not make a vow to the Lord than to make one and then not complete it fully.
However, His grace abounds for those who have right heart and are seeking Him. If we stumble, we can repent and ask forgiveness. Seeking separation from the world and to be set apart for the Lord is good indeed. It will draw us nearer to Him.
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