Thursday, May 5, 2011

Numbers: Chapter 6

God's timing awes me.  Before I read today's chapter, my prayer time involved me questioning my service to God...I so often feel like the leftovers of dough after the cookie cutter has done its work.  I just don't 'fit.'  The Nazarite vow compares to our own individual choices today:  how closely will we choose to walk with the Lord?  With the privilege and blessing of walking with Jesus comes costs.

There were some key things about the vow:  first of all it is voluntary.  Just as Jesus always presents discipleship with 'if', the Nazarite vow was a personal choice.  There is a wonderful quote in the commentary I shared on Facebook today:  "The Christian standard is not a standard of right or wrong.  The question is this:  What is your purpose in doing what you are doing?  Are you doing it to please Christ?"  That is the essence of the Nazarite vow--of discipleship--will we choose to act with a purpose of pleasing Jesus.  Are we willing to make pleasing Jesus our primary aim?

The second aspect of the vow was not shaving the scripture long hair on men was a matter of shame.  At the end of the vow, the woman had to shave her head:  again, in scripture this is association with shame.  The essence of this aspect is a willingness to bear the shame of being identified with Christ.  Whole-hearted devotion to Jesus Christ is not the norm; one does not 'fit in' to culture and stand for Christ.  Are we willing to stand alone if need be?

The final challenge in the vow asks the devotee to put Jesus Christ above every other relationship.  Even the closest relative's death was not allowed to impact the Nazarite's separation from this world.  And if by chance the Nazarite just happened to be in the presence of a person who died, the contamination of death nullified all the previous days of separation.  What humble awareness and acceptance of this world being under the curse of death; nothing we do changes that fact.  Only the grace and mercy of God can transcend the death of the earthly life.  Are we willing to commit all of this life to eternal matters?

And then the blessing that closes out the chapter:  might we all praise God for His wonderful blessings.  Have a blessed day!

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