Numbers 6

Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When a man or woman makes a [a]special vow, the vow of a [b]Nazirite, to [c]dedicate himself to the Lord, he 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. All the days of his [d]separation he shall not eat anything that is produced by the grape vine, from the seeds even to the skin.

‘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.

‘All the days of his separation to the Lord he shall not go near to a dead person.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. All the days of his separation he is holy to the Lord.

‘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 [e]concerning his sin because of the dead person. And that same day he shall consecrate his head, 12 and shall dedicate to the Lord his days [f]as a [g]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 [h]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, 15 and 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 [i]hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his [j]dedicated hair20 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 [k]he can afford; according to his vow which he takes, so he shall do according to the law of his separation.”

Aaron’s Benediction

22 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

24 The Lord bless you, and keep you;

25 The Lord make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;

26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’

27 So they shall [l]invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

The Nazirite vow is an interesting one, and something we do not know much about. Modern scholars are divided on the purpose of the vow, but I think the main thing is that it is a dedication to God. There is one major example I can think of, which is Samson, who was a permanent Nazirite, and his whole life was dedicated to God. While he certainly had his issues, God used him to perform mighty deeds.

Honestly, I struggled to get much out of this, but for the idea that we could do better to dedicate ourselves to God’s service. The vow was not always permanent, but sometimes was for only a short time (30 days or more). While one would be hard-pressed to fast from all food for such a time, it does remind me of fasting, and something I’ve heard preached several times. And that is the idea of fasting from a particular thing, especially a particular pleasure, to give more time to seeking God and serving Him.

And that is certainly something we could do at any time, with any thing that is consuming too much of our time. What could you give up for God, or what is holding you back from serving Him better? Consider giving that up, even if only for a month or two, and see what it does for your faith.

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