Saturday, April 9, 2016

Taking the Nazirite vow and having a Nazirite heart

Several years ago, I agreed to be the "lay director" for an upcoming women's retreat. The planning process took more than a year and was an overwhelming job. I had to decide about everything  from the members of the team to the speakers to the menu. Fortunately for me, I had a terrific team and they made the work easy.

At the beginning, though, I didn't know what kind of team God would send. All I knew was that the job was too big for me. I was deeply concerned. My great desire was to do a good job and please the Lord with my sacrifice.

About that time, I read the passage in Numbers that describes the Nazirite vow. Anyone who desired to be a "sanctified servant" could take this vow. It wasn't just for men. Women could take the vow, too.

I read those words and they burned in my heart. I wanted to dedicate myself to the Lord as it described, so I decided to take a Nazirite vow. 

The one taking the vow would abstain from strong wine and strong drink and from drinking vinegar or grape juice. I didn't have to worry about the drinking part, but not eating grapes and raisins was a bit of a sacrifice. 

Avoiding raisins was not the tough part, however. The hardest part was not cutting my hair for eighteen months. It grows fast and is very thick. I shudder to remember how my hair looked at the end of time. It was long.

I freely admit that I'm a prissy Southern woman. Hair is important to women like me. Bad hair is agony. It wasn't too bad at the start, but by the end of that eighteen months, I had a bad hair day every day

I sacrificed my pride of appearance on the altar of my heart every day for eighteen months. 

By the end of the vow, God had changed something in me. Hair wasn't so important. Appearance wasn't so important. What God saw on the inside of my heart had become much more important than what people saw on the outside. It still is.

You may remember that Samson was a lifelong Nazirite, as was John the Baptist. What I had forgotten until this morning was that Samuel was also a Nazirite. 

When Hannah was in the house of the Lord, she was greatly distressed by her infertility and wept bitterly as she prayed. (1 Samuel 1:10) She vowed that, if God would give her a son, she would give him back to the Lord and "a razor shall never come on his head". 

Hannah made a Nazirite vow for Samuel.

God blessed her with a son, but God also blessed Samuel. He called him, He equipped him, and He sustained him. As a prophet, not one of his words failed. Everything Samuel said came to pass. 

The entire nation knew that God had confirmed Samuel as His spokesman.

The time of my Nazirite vow was one of the sweetest of my life. The intimacy with the Lord was unparalleled. The sacrifice of service was made easier because the Lord helped me in every task. 

I don't expect the body of Christ today to suddenly stop cutting their hair due to a Nazirite vow, but there would be great value in taking a Nazirite vow of the heart.

If we corporately decided to dedicate our hearts completely to the Lord, willingly allowing Him to remove the sin that so easily besets us, our churches would be different places. We would present a different face to the world. I suspect the change in our lives would make Jesus infinitely more attractive in this dark world. Our saltiness might have greater savor and greater effect.

"...When a man or woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to dedicate himself to the Lord... All the days of his separation he is holy to the Lord." Numbers 6:1,8 nasb

I no longer have Nazirite hair, but I hope I always have a Nazirite heart. 

What about you? Will you dedicate your heart to the Lord? Will you allow Him to separate your heart from the things of the world? 

It might not be easy, but I can say for certain that it will be worth it.
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: The Importance of Study: Bombs, Bill of Rights, and the Bible

If you're interested in participating in the new Bible study starting May 1, be sure to leave a comment or message me. I'm thrilled by the number of people who have already signed up. 

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