Numbers 6

Leslie M. Grant

The vow of the Nazarite is a most remarkable insertion of the Spirit of God early in the Book of Numbers (ch. 6:2-6). It follows soon after the giving of the law, but its chief principle is in contrast to law, being a vow of entirely voluntary devotion. Yet while voluntary, no personal choice was allowed as to how the individual was to devote himself to God. Only God knows rightly what is really devotion to Himself and what is not. Let us then closely observe His mind as to it. There must be, firstly, separation from the fruit of the vine, that is, from mere natural stimulation and the joys of self-indulgence. Secondly, there must be separation to the Lord in thorough subjection to His authority, as symbolised in thelong hair. Thirdly, there must be separation from the corruption of death; there was to be no contact with a dead body. The first would involve personal self-denial; the second, fullest obedience to the Word of God; the third, the avoiding of every defiling association.

In taking the vow the Nazarite placed himself in a position where he was required to fulfil its conditions. Under grace no vow is asked for or even permitted, for the Lord Himself set vows aside in Matthew 5:33-37. He was not a Nazarite on earth in the literal sense, but in Him the spiritual significance of Nazariteship was perfectly fulfilled. His life on earth was a blessed life of perfect devotion to God, of holy separation from every evil and of utter subjection to His Father's will. The Old Testament bore witness of His vow to do the will of God (Psa. 40:7-8), and this He has done perfectly, not simply in His life, but in His great sacrifice at Calvary. He is the only One who can be fully trusted to fulfil His vow.

Today the child of God is not in any sense under law, but being redeemed by the precious blood of Christ he is brought into the liberty of eternal life by the pure grace of God, and blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. But Nazariteship has a striking application to every child of God in the present dispensation of grace. Though we are warned to make no vow at all, yet in voluntarily receiving Christ as Saviour and Lord, every believer owns Christ's absolute authority over him forever. This is true whether he understands it well or not. He accepts the One who is supreme in devoted separation to God and from evil, and in accepting Him he accepts with Him that blessed place of separation. This is the very meaning of the truth of sanctification in the New Testament: a state of being set apart for God. Do we not therefore gladly accept the spiritual responsibilities involved in Nazariteship-personal self-denial, thorough subjection to the Lord and separation from evil associations?