This morning in Mercer we discussed Judges 13. In this message we learn a few things about Samson. We learn Israel was doing evil in the sight of the Lord and as such, God gave them into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years. Times would be pretty glum in Israel with this kind of oppression.
Into these circumstances comes a barren woman who is informed by an angel of the Lord she would conceive and bear a son. This would not be any old son, this son would be a Nazirite to God from the womb and would begin to remove the oppression of the Philistines. As such, Samson’s mother was to stay away from wine and strong drink as well as unclean chow. Additionally, Samson’s mother was informed no razor should touch his head.
We see another Nazirite in Samuel. Samuel’s mother pleads with God, year after year for a child while weeping bitterly. She vowed if God would give her a son, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor would touch his head. We see Hannah also abstaining from strong drink and wine and being a faithful servant to God with her life. True to her word, Hannah brings Samuel to the temple after weening him, and gives him to Chief Priest Eli for service to God.
In both of these cases we see a lifelong commitment from birth to death in these Nazirite men, but what else does the Bible say about a Nazirite vow? In Numbers 6: 1-21, we learn a Nazirite vow can be done by both men and women, where they separate themselves from society and to the service of the Lord. The Nazirite abstains from strong drink and wine, to include even grape juice and the grapes themselves, either fresh or dried.
We also read special instructions to stay away from a razor and cutting of the hair until the vow is complete. In doing all of this they shall be holy and avoid dead bodies. Upon completion of their separation and vow, the Nazirite will present themselves with a gift and burnt offering to the Lord while their uncut hair is to be shaved in the entrance and placed in the fire with the peace offering.
In Luke 1: 15, the angel Gabriel addresses Zechariah in the temple and says your son will be great before the Lord and he must not have strong drink or wine. Then when Gabriel talks to Mary, we do not see the same kind of instruction or words to her. We see later John was condemned by the Pharisees for not drinking and Jesus was treated the same way for drinking.
All this being said, as I was driving home from Mercer, which is about 31 miles away, I considered the faithful believer today in light of the Nazirite Old Testament vow. When we are reborn in Christ, we are pledged to Jesus without the haircut and drinking restrictions, but we are set aside for kingdom work. We are not Nazirites per se, but we are expected to have the same kind of commitment, which Paul captures in Ephesians 4: 17-32.
Then consider these words of Paul to the Philippians in 1: 27-30. The Bible says let our manner of life be worthy and not frightened by our opponents. and in chapter 2 we are to work out our salvation in fear and trembling as our lives are poured out for the sake of Jesus. We are to lead a life pleasing to God in holiness…so we may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent upon no one in 1 Thess 4: 1-12.
Anyways, I just found it very interesting and worth pondering. How close does your life reflect this level of commitment? Can I help you if there is room to grow?