People train for various things such as marathons, iron man competitions, military service, and even space travel. During that time, they are committed to their goal. They go on a special diet, they have a strict routine of exercise and rest, and they are completely dedicated to their mission. They abstain from certain “worldly pleasures” as we call them to keep their focus on what’s really important to them. They give up things they may have once taken part in because it’s not helpful to their objective. Their lives look way different than most people.
In the book of Numbers, God gives instructions for a special objective. It was called a Nazarite vow. Nazarite means “devoted one”, someone that is dedicated to the Lord. How was this different than a priest who was dedicated to God? The Nazarite vow could be taken for a short period of time or for life. Even a parent could commit their child to be a Nazarite, so the child would wholly serve the Lord.
There were 3 main things about a Nazarite:
1. Anything from the vine was prohibited. This meant grapes, wine (juice), wine (strong drink), vinegar, raisins, etc.
2. The hair and beard could not be cut in any way.
3. They could not have any contact with a dead body, even if it were family.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head. All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.” (Numbers 6:1-8)
This vow was taken when someone wanted to give their life to the Lord in full surrender and service. They said no to “worldly pleasures” or things that were common among other people, and said yes to being holy, or set apart for God. Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist were people that chose (or their parents chose) the Nazarite vow.
While we today don’t have to take this vow in particular, as believers, we have also taken a vow to follow God.
Following Jesus is more than just being saved from Hell. At Salvation, repenting of your sins and praying for God to save you, there also must be a surrender. We surrender our will for God’s. My life is no longer my own, Lord. You bought it with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ. So, my life now belongs to Christ. My goal, just like those that are training for a marathon, is to be completely devoted to Him.
Have you given up your worldly pleasures to follow Christ with your whole heart? What still stands in the way? This morning, let us examine our hearts and our lives and ask God to show us and convict us of what needs to be fully surrendered to Him. Maybe it’s your thoughts, or words you speak, or perhaps the plans you already have all lined out. Is there something that you haven’t let go of? Something that the world says is fine but God calls us away from? Today is the day to lay it all down! We are to be Holy for the Lord God is Holy!
God, remove anything from me that is not pleasing to you. If there is something that hinders my walk with you, my witness for you, Lord, show it to me and give me the strength to lay it down and walk away. Only you Lord! You are our Savior and Lord and I owe my life to you!