October 7th 2019 – Numbers 6:13-21

'13 “And this is the law for the Nazirite, when the time of his separation has been completed: he shall be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting, 14 and he shall bring his gift to the Lord, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin offering, and one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15 and a basket of unleavened bread, loaves of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and their grain offering and their drink offerings. 16 And the priest shall bring them before the Lord and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering, 17 and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of peace offering to the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread. The priest shall offer also its grain offering and its drink offering. 18 And the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire that is under the sacrifice of the peace offering. 19 And the priest shall take the shoulder of the ram, when it is boiled, and one unleavened loaf out of the basket and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite, after he has shaved the hair of his consecration, 20 and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. They are a holy portion for the priest, together with the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed. And after that the Nazirite may drink wine.

21 “This is the law of the Nazirite. But if he vows an offering to the Lord above his Nazirite vow, as he can afford, in exact accordance with the vow that he takes, then he shall do in addition to the law of the Nazirite."

Numbers 6:13-21

It is not difficult to see the Christian application of the Nazarite vow, for the matters it speaks of are integral to the Christian life as a whole, all the time, and witnesses to a vigilance that must never be slackened. The message is one of consecration and separation - not from wine as such, only, but from anything and all that panders to the senses and desires of the flesh; not hair as such, but all natural gifts and energies must be baptised into the death of Christ, and sanctified and hallowed for His service; not separation from dead bodies as such, but from all that partakes of the life of sin, so that we may live unto God. Nor are we left in doubt in the New Testament as to the things that pander to the flesh in us, as Galatians 5:1921 makes clear. The apostolic injunction in Romans 12:2, 'Be not conformed unto this world' stands in direct descent from the Nazarite vow in this regard. As to the need for all natural gifts to be baptised into the death of Christ we need to remember, with Milton, that God does not need man's gifts. Some natural gifts are of no use to God in spiritual work, and they need to be given over to Him, that He might put them 'in cold storage' indefinitely. Christians sometimes speak of laying their gifts on the altar for the service of the Lord, and God is sometimes pleased to use these gifts. But is laying the gifts on the altar on our part conditional on God being prepared to use them? Some gifts tend to pander to the flesh in spiritual life and become a snare in spiritual service, and must therefore simply be set aside. The point about laying something on the altar is surely that it is placed there beyond recall. If God gives it back, well and good; if not, we can have no complaint.