Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Special Vow of the Nazirite

Today's Reading:
  • Numbers 6:1 - 7:89
  • Proverbs 10:27 - 28
Read Bible Passages Online

Numbers 6:1 - 7:89
Today I learned a new term -- "Nazirite."  From what I could gather in my reading today, it seems that a Nazirite was a Israelite who set themselves apart with a special vow of dedication to the Lord.  It also seemed to be a way for members of clans other than the Levite clan (who were specially set aside to serve the Lord, handle the tabernacle, help the priests, etc.) to be more involved in the Lord's work.

Those who wanted to become Nazirites had to take a very special vow of dedication to the Lord.  While they were serving their terms, they had specific rules to follow:
  1. Not allowed to drink any alcohol
  2. Never eat or drink anything from a grapevine (juice, wine, grapes, raisins)
  3. Not allowed to cut their hair
  4. Never go near a dead body.  If a person were to so much as fall dead beside them, their service to date would not be counted, they would have to go through a cleansing period and purification rituals, shave their hair, and start their service over again.
My study bible points out that the most famous of Nazirities was Samson.  I know the story of Samson, and that cutting his hair had significance grave enough for him to lose all his strength.  I did not know that the reason his hair had not been cut was to fulfill a Nazirite vow.  I look forward to reading the story of Samson with this new perspective in mind.

Proverbs 10:27 - 28
27  Fear of the Lord lengthens one's life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.
28  The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.  
Hmm ... long life with fulfilling hopes, or a life cut short where all my plans come to nothing.  It's quite a choice, but after giving it much deliberation, I think I'll choose option #1! 

It is comforting to know that the Lord is there to support those who are faithful in Him.  I would much rather have His support now and after death, rather than lead a life filled with despair now and an eternity facing His wrath later. 

The Lord could have made us mindless servants, but He didn't.  He is letting us choose.  It's sad to know that others choose to be cut off from the wondrous Lord; the Lord who fills us with hope, happiness and long life.  Thank you, Lord!

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