Numbers 6, Special Times Of Devotion To God
1. You Can Devote Yourself To God (v1-2)
2. Devotion To God Requires Saying No To Good Things (v3-5)
3. Devotion To God Must Come Before All Else (v6-8)
4. Broken Devotions Should Be Restarted (v9-12)
5. Devotion To God Is A Gift To God (v13-21)
Numbers 6, Special Times Of Devotion To God
Numbers 6, Special Times Of Devotion To God
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Well numbers Chapter 6 is a really interesting passage for a lot of reasons.
One one of the reasons is I would suggest it's the closest biblical teaching that we have which would relate to our times of fasting today.
You know, it's something that is a considered a spiritual.
And and something that is considered.
Good to do for Christians from time to time to to devote a certain time for fasting and and sometimes it takes different forms.
It's either it's a you know, complete abstinence of food for a short period of time, or maybe it's a like a restraining from a particular kind of food or or thing like that and.
There's different types of fasting that people have talked about and considered and encouraged, and perhaps you've engaged with over.
Fine, and as you think about that as you, you know, walk through the scriptures.
There's you know various different passages that we could relate that to, and consider that in regards to that, but but numbers.
Chapter six really is the closest thing to that whole concept, and so it speaks to us about some times of not necessarily.
Fasting, but those special times of dedication or devotion to God.
And so I've titled the message this evening.
Special times of devotion to God, and I would encourage you to consider this as we look at this chapter tonight.
That maybe the Lord has a special time of devotion for you.
That is, he wants to stir up and maybe encourage you to set aside to designate a certain period of time or certain periods of time.
Maybe not necessarily a whole block of time, but maybe.
You know a portion of the day, or a portion of the week that the Lord wants you to reserve for him in some special way, and for some special purpose, maybe in your life there needs to be some of these special times of devote.
Mission to God as we dive into this chapter, it's kind of a continuation from last Wednesday, and it's interesting how God often works that out and wolves.
Wovens weaves weaves.
That's the word we use these things together, even as we go from week to week, even though we're jumping.
You know different chapters in between the the words continuing the train of thought last week in Chapter 27 of Leviticus, we talked about being dedicated to the Lord and it was looking at the different types of vows and you might.
Remember those types of dedications that we saw there.
There was the dedication of people, whether it was self or servants.
Then there was the dedication of animals and then also the opportunity to dedicate property and make a vow regarding a property that you own.
And so the the vow concerning people is very related to what we're looking at here in numbers Chapter 6 only.
It's not, you know.
Making a vow on behalf of someone else, it's directly personal.
The Nazarite vow is me making a vow unto the Lord for myself.
And this nazarite vowel, the word nazarite.
It's a transliteration of the Hebrew word.
Literally the word means to set apart or to dedicate.
It's very closely related to the word holy, which also means to be set apart, and so it's this idea of becoming, you know, a.
A dedicated person or or someone who is set apart for the Lord in in this special season and for this special.
And so you'll notice throughout the passage.
It's translated the separation over and over and over again.
It's that that word that is referred to as the nazirite.
Verse 8 says all the days of his separation.
He shall be holy to the Lord, and so there is this designated time period of separation.
Of devotion of holiness unto the Lord.
Now the Nazarite vow is something that we see fulfilled by various people throughout the scriptures.
One of the most famous nazarites in the scriptures was Samson and his nazarite vow was unique because, well, the Lord made the vow for him before he was born.
He, the Lord, told his parents, this is the way that he is to live.
And it was.
The Walking in accordance with the Nazarite vow, and so it was unique in that way, but it was also unique in that it was his whole life.
As you can see from this passage here in #6, typically it's not a whole life type of vow.
It's a designated portion of time, and then at the end of that time, then life goes kind of back to normal afterwards.
But for Samson it was different.
His whole life was to be lived as a nazarite.
Now, along with that in judges chapter 13, you also see it seems that Samson's mom was called by the Lord to make a nazarite vow.
That is, while she was pregnant with Samson that she was not to drink wine or similar drink or eat anything unclean, to not become ceremonially unclean is the instruction that the Lord gave her, which is part of the Nazarite vow, and so it's possible that the Lord called her to make.
That vow and again I would encourage you to consider that this evening that there are things that perhaps the Lord wants to call you too.
Well then we have the example of Samuel as well.
Samuel was probably a nazarite his whole life from first Samuel chapter one, verse 11 we see again the vow of dedication by Samuel Mom.
And so again, unique.
It was not a vow that Samuel signed up for it 'cause he was too young, but but.
He was given over to the Lord, and it looks like from the passage he lived out the life of a nazirite.
Another possible nazarite for life was John the Baptist.
In Luke chapter one, verse 15, it talks about him not drinking any wine or strong drink, and so from his mother's womb he was to be set apart in in the certain way all the different elements of the Nazarite vow are not specifically applied to John the Baptist, but from the context it seems like he probably lived his life.
And Nazarite, what's interesting about this is that you know you might immediately put Jesus into the midst of it, but it doesn't seem like actually Jesus lived under a nazirite, vow for his whole lifetime.
I mean, obviously he was devoted to the father and committed to the father and consecrated to the father, and all of that, but not under these specific regulations.
That are provided here in the Nazarite vow, but we do also see the apostle Paul a couple of times in acts, Chapter 18, and acts, Chapter 21.
Participating in a vow unto the Lord, and it seems like it's a nazarite vow that he is committing there as you read through those chapters, you can see and involve the the hair being cut off and the ceremony that is applied for certain periods of time and so acts. Chapter 18 in acts Chapter 21 give us the account of the apostle Paul and his.
Nazarite, vowels, and I think all of those are important to consider.
As we think about what the Lord has for us and the application of these things to us because it's not just you know, the sampsons of the Old Testament, but but it is something that perhaps God wants to work in us as New Testament Christians that that there is still an opportunity to have these special times that are designated.
For the Lord that there are certain times certain things that God has established or called us to, or perhaps stirred up within our hearts, that we would be given over to him in some unique and special way.
Pastor Warren Risby puts it this way.
Each nazarite had a different goal in mind, but all of them wanted to glorify the Lord and obey his word.
They didn't isolate themselves from society, but rather were witnesses to others of the importance of total devotion to the Lord.
Their vow is for a specified period and a specified.
I I like that he points out here that they didn't isolate themselves from society.
It wasn't that you know they made this nazarite vow, and then they went in and lived the life.
You know a of a of a monk in a cave somewhere you know, or a monastery and closed up.
But no, but they were out and and living their life but but they had this.
Special designation upon their life and special way to go about their life during this period of time.
And so there would be different things that the people had in mind and that people had on their heart as they wanted to connect with God and walk with God and worship.
God and be obedient to God, they would have different goals and they would have different purposes and different time periods that they would get to choose, because the nazarite vow is a voluntary thing, and so it would be, you know, just some personal thing that the Lord was working out with in their heart in their relationship.
Him and so interesting stuff for us to consider.
Perhaps there's a special time of devotion that God has put upon your heart or that God wants to stir up in your heart, or that you know the Lord wants to work out between you.
Perhaps you want to commit a special time of devotion to God.
And so helpful.
Insights for us here in numbers Chapter 6 for that we're going to look at five points in regards to this nazarite Valdez special times of devotion.
Into God, the first point found here in verses one and two, and that is that you can devote yourself to God first and foremost.
You need to understand this is something that you have the opportunity to do.
You can devote yourself to God.
Check out verse one and two, it says.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, speak.
To the children of Israel and say to them when either a man or woman consecrates, and offering to take the vow of a nazarite, to separate himself to the Lord, he's going to go on with the instructions.
But first of all, I just want to stop and point out.
God is opening up this vow.
This special devotion and special status of of holiness unto the Lord, to anyone in Israel.
Man or woman throughout the Nation of Israel is able to participate in this vow.
We spent some time thinking about the priest.
And in looking at the priests throughout the Book of Leviticus, we saw how they were to live certain ways and they had stricter regulations applied to them.
And you know there were.
There were many things that they got to have the privilege of being involved with.
But it also came with extra responsibility and so many things about them were.
They were really interesting in their relationship with the Lord and their opportunity to serve the Lord, but that only took place in the tribe of Levi, where you have the levite's and then that special family descended from Aaron that were the priests. What about the rest of the tribes? What if you were from the tribe of Benjamin?
You might sit back and think, well, what about me?
I don't get to have my life be devoted to God in that way.
I don't get to have those special intimate times with the Lord.
I don't get to have you know those kinds of connections with the Lord because I'm not from the tribe of Levi, and so I can't be connected to the Lord.
In that way.
And so God says, well here, let me give you an opportunity.
And as you read through the nazarite value, you'll notice that the regulations attached to it are similar not just to the priests life, but really to the High priest life.
And so there was this special status that God allowed anyone to enter into where they would be able to be set apart unto the Lord.
Like the high priest.
Similar to the high priest and have that kind of opportunity to engage with God in that way.
And that's something important for us to consider.
You know sometimes there's misunderstandings about what we would call like full time ministry and sometimes.
Christians feel like you know, other people can be devoted to God.
And oh man, they have such cool opportunities because they're able to be devoted to God.
Not like me.
You know, I have to have these responsibilities and take care of these other things.
And and I just I'm not able to be devoted to God like those other people can like that pastor can or that missionary can, or that church staff member can.
And that's really a misunderstanding of ministry.
It's really a misunderstanding of devotion to God altogether.
For several years now I've been working this job that place down the street, urban surfaces and been doing that full time before that.
I was doing freelance work full time right prior to that.
I was full time on staff here at the church and able to be here.
You know, the 40 hours a week or more that I now I'm required to.
And it would be tempting to kind of make a distinction between those in the idea of devotion to God.
But but here's the reality.
If I'm doing it right, I'm just as devoted to God working at urban surfaces.
As when I was working here full time, my activities changed right?
Some of the, you know, practical feet on the ground, things changed.
But but the reality is, I I'm still called to be devoted to God in the same way and used by the Lord, and seeking the Lord, and being led by the Lord, and filled with the Holy Spirit in the same way there as I am, when I am here.
All that to say, you can devote yourself to God.
You don't have to, you know have a full time church job or ministry job your your whole life is a full time ministry opportunity.
If you want to have it.
Again, Pastor Thomas Constable says the Nazarite did not withdraw from society except in the particulars of these restrictions.
He lived an active life of.
Service in Israel.
His dedication to God did not remove him from society, but affected his motivation and activities as he lived, and so it doesn't take us out of society.
This vow and we don't have to be completely removed from our normal responsibilities to have this kind of.
Special designation and devotion to God.
We have the opportunity.
Living out our life to also be devoted to God in a unique and special and powerful way.
And so everyone has the opportunity to be devoted to God.
You can devote yourself to God.
You can have a real and and vibrant and special connection to God.
And perhaps there is a season, a time of special devotion to God that God wants to stir up within you and for you.
Again, in verse two he says speak to the children of Israel and say to them when either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a nazarite to separate himself.
To the Lord.
The opportunity was for anybody, anybody, anyone is able to.
Everyone is able to separate themselves to the Lord.
And even in the workplace activities and those responsibilities at home and all of those things can still be done unto the Lord and done from a condition of being separated unto the Lord.
And and have this opportunity to walk with God in this way.
That is work place right?
If my work place is the church, that's cool.
I look forward to those days when that'll happen again, but, but that is not an indication of my opportunity to know the Lord.
Better to to be closer to the Lord, to have you know a better relationship with the Lord.
Pastor Damian Kyle recently was sharing about this in numbers Chapter 6 and he was pointing out that calling and intimacy with God are two different things.
Because you could have the priest who is designated for this role and to have you know this kind of separation and to be in this status continually.
And yet, at the same time, you could have the priest to be a carnal guy who has no concern for the things of the Lord.
But that's his job.
That's what he's you know, paid to do.
Essentially, that's that's what he has to do.
And so he's going about, and he's a cardinal priest.
Meanwhile, you can have a spiritual benjamite.
Benjaminite someone from the tribe of Benjamin that that is just loving the Lord and closer to the Lord than this priest who has this great and awesome opportunity and and responsibility but isn't really pursuing the things of the Lord.
And it's true for all of us.
There are those who have jobs that seem spiritual, but jobs are just jobs.
All of us, every one of us has the same opportunity to know God.
To hear from the Lord, to discern his voice, to walk with him.
You can devote yourself to God, Pastor J.
Vernon McGee puts it this way.
Although the believer today doesn't take a nazirite vow there is the offer of a closer walk with the Lord, it is voluntary.
You must want it.
It is an act of divorce.
And so this evening I would ask you to consider, do you want it?
Do you want that closer walk with the Lord?
Is there perhaps the need for some designated period of purposefully drawing near to the Lord?
In your life to develop your spiritual life, to develop and establish yourself, and perhaps bring health and wholeness.
This to your heart, to your mind, to your soul as you draw near to the Lord, you can devote yourself to God.
You have the opportunity.
It's there for you if you want to take advantage of it.
The Nazarite vow is not required of anybody except for these, you know, special exceptions that we talked about.
For us, the Lord invites us in.
He opens the door of the Holy of Holies and he says, come on in drawn here.
But the real question is, do you want to do you want to draw near to the Lord?
Do you want to have this kind of relationship with God?
You want to develop and grow in your pursuit of the things of God.
Well, moving on to verses three through five, we get point #2 this evening talking about special times of devotion to God, we need to know that devotion to God requires saying no to good things.
If you're gonna devote yourself to God if you're going to have a special time of devotion, you're going to have a a designated time period or time of the day, or you know, certain days of the week.
If you're going to have these kinds of things, you need to understand that it means you will be required to say no to things that are good.
In and of themselves, check out verses one through three.
It says he shall separate himself from wine and similar.
He shall drink neither vinegar made from wine or vinegar made from similar drink.
Neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins all the days of his separation.
He shall eat nothing that is produced by the Grapevine, from seed to skin.
All the days of the vow of his separation, no razor shall come upon his head, until the days are fulfilled, for which he separated himself to the Lord.
He shall be holy.
Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
Here in these verses we get the first two requirements of the Nazarite vow.
Again, the vow itself is not required, but if you're going to make the vow, God says, OK, here is the requirements that go along with this vow, and so the first requirement he says there there's to be no partaking of products of the vine.
Verse three and four talk about all the different types and then verse five.
He says no haircuts, no no cutting your hair, no shaving your head for the period of the vow.
Now in these two requirements, there's a lot that we could consider, and perhaps much discussion that could be had because God doesn't spell out the reasons for these requirements.
He doesn't specifically say OK, no products of divine for this reason, and you know, spell out all of the details about that.
He doesn't say you know.
No razor shall touch your head.
And then here's why he he doesn't give the explanation, he just gives the instruction.
Don't do this.
And don't do that, and so there's been much speculation over the years about, well, what is the reason behind this instruction?
And it's interesting to speculate, and perhaps there's some insights that the Lord wants to give you as you think about and meditate on those things.
But we cannot.
Say exactly the Lord's purpose and meaning behind it in a way that applies to every person. It is the instruction that he gave without all of the explanation.
So looking at the hair first of all, in verse 5, all the days of the value of his separation, no razor shall come upon his head.
And so this is my life verse here from the Bible non sketti
The typical understanding of this aspect and this requirement is that it's a public declaration declaration.
Customary for them, especially for the men, was for them to not grow their hair.
Now this vow is available for men and women, so it's not necessarily, you know, just for men, but but for their them.
Customarily the the the men would not let their hair grow long and so to let it grow long would be a.
Public declaration of something, and particularly this vow, is the general idea, and that's a possibility.
Again, there's you know some considerations with that, again with the men and women being involved, and you know.
But perhaps not always the case.
You know for them socially to understand that we don't know all the details the the vine, considering the products of the vine a lot of times when we're looking at this passage and considering it that there's an immediate jump to you.
Know this is dealing with alcohol.
But it's not actually.
About alcohol exclusively, I mean alcohol is included in this in the wine and the different types of drinks, right?
But but at the same time in verse four, he says nothing that's produced by the Grapevine, not the seeds or the skin, and so it's not.
You know anything of the vine, not just the fermented parts.
Of the vine, God says, you're just not to partake of anything that comes from the Grapevine at all.
And so as you look at these things, the the thing that stood out to me as I was considering this is that in both cases, haircuts.
In products of the vine, God is requiring the nazarite.
To abstain from things that are not necessarily sinful.
God is saying this isn't sin for you to get a haircut, but in this vow you're going to restrict yourself more than just you know what is the thou shalt nots.
You're going to follow the instruction that I give.
Even if it's not obviously sinful.
The partaking of the products of the vine, even the partaking of alcohol is not necessarily sinful.
Now that's not an exhortation you know to go indulge.
Drunkenness is always forbidden in the scriptures, and there are plenty of people that you know should never be drinking at all.
I'm not going to get into the whole alcohol discussion at this point.
Overall, as you look at the Scriptures, the product of the vine and wine is referred to in a way of of expressing, you know, goodness and joy and God's blessing.
And so this isn't saying.
You shall make this vow, and during this value shall not sin that that's not what's happening here.
This is not a vow of sinlessness.
This is a vow, and God says OK, now you're dedicating yourself to me.
Now, that means, aside from the sin that you already abstain from because you want to follow me.
Now let's restrict your life a little bit more and take out things.
Even the things that are good and things that are considered blessings.
But but for this designated period, let's.
Let's reduce your freedoms a bit so that you can be.
Devoted to me in this unique and special way.
Again, this is not a vow of sinlessness.
Last week, as we talked about the vows, we saw the point that you cannot dedicate to God, but already belongs to him.
So you can't, you know, make a special dedication out of the tide because the tide already belongs to God.
It's already his, so you can't dedicate it to the Lord, you just give it to him because that's his and he told you what to do with it.
In a similar way, we're always commanded to separate ourselves from sin, so so there's no like, alright, I'm gonna designate this special pier for the next two weeks.
You know, I'm just gonna be really devoted to the Lord and I'm not gonna send like I usually do.
No, well, if that's your approach, that that's not this valve, like there's some other things happening in your life and and and you need to address those.
Hey, if there's sin going on in your life.
Don't try to vow yourself out.
With it all right, I'm going to make some promises.
I'm going to make some dedications and I'm going to stop sinning.
You know, for this time period like no, that that's not the way that it works, and sometimes we think that.
Well, if I could just wrote myself into, you know, a legalistic system, or a legalistic vow, then I'll be able to stop this in.
Listen, God never tells you if you're having trouble with sin.
You know, make a vow to try to deal with it.
That's that's not what this is for, and so this is a separate thing than that it's not a vow of sinlessness, it's a vow of dedication to the Lord.
And that's going to require a break in routine.
That's going to require limiting some things that may be good and might be blessings from God.
And yet at the same time might be beneficial for you to exclude those things from your life from your schedule for a while in order to have this special time of devotion to God.
And so here in these two things God gives.
The Israelites here some simple and clear ways to separate themselves to God.
I mean, you could think about it.
They're reminded every meal.
Because they would have to kind of be careful.
Is there any products of the vine in this dish?
They would have to be careful, you know if they go to have a meal or have a barbecue at someone's house, you know like, OK, you know what?
What are the ingredients and what's included here?
And so it would always be on the top of their mind I'm in.
I'm in this special state of of holiness unto the Lord.
And so God here gives them some opportunities in these requirements to be reminded as they look in the mirror.
And my hair is getting long.
It's like going in my eyes.
I don't know what that's like anymore.
But you know, it's like I'm reminded, Oh yes, that's right, that's because.
I'm a nazarite.
I'm separated unto the Lord.
Devotion to God requires saying no to good things.
Now again, we're in the new covenant.
It's a little bit different.
Make it a commitment to the Lord in this way.
Does it necessarily involve these same requirements?
In fact, the Nazarite vow is voluntary, so you could kind of make your own nazarite vow and set your own terms that are appropriate for you for us today, you know.
We can be led by the Holy Spirit.
And perhaps there are some things in our lives that God wants us to say no to for a season.
That would be really helpful and beneficial for us to devote ourselves to God.
And again, that's why I started with, you know, there is those times of fasting that sometimes we engage in or others around us engage in, and so maybe you've heard of, or you.
Have it on your heart to do a social media fast.
This is kind of the concept here.
It's not necessarily sinful, can be for sure, but not necessarily.
But perhaps there's a special time that the Lord is just kind of stirring up in you, and he says, you know, why don't you take a?
Break from all of that.
For a time for a period, perhaps you go back to it afterwards, perhaps you know it doesn't change for the rest of your life, but but for this season for this time period, what?
Why don't you set that aside and devote yourself to me in a special way?
And so maybe there's a television fast that would be appropriate for you and.
And beneficial for you.
Maybe a uh, a fast from Starbucks or caffeine, or a fast from sports.
Or fast from perhaps certain activities.
Again, I'm not talking about sinful activities, that's a separate thing, but but maybe there's some good activities in your life that you need to say no to so that you can be devoted to the Lord in this special way.
For this special time.
I've shared this many times before, but you know, sometimes we say no to opportunities.
Not necessarily intentionally, but we say no to opportunities because we're always saying yes to other opportunities, and so when an opportunity that comes like God intended for us.
We're unavailable for it because we said yes to all the things that the Lord really didn't ask us to do, but we volunteered.
We signed up, we said yes to all of them, and in doing so.
We perhaps unintentionally said no, the things that God had intended for us.
We need to learn to say no.
So you know what I I have this time.
And and maybe it's a season I have the next month.
Or maybe it's the day of the week.
I have Tuesdays.
Maybe it's the time of the day I have, you know, the 3:00 o'clock to 4:00 o'clock hour and this time is devoted to God.
It's a it's a separation unto God.
It's for this purpose, and it's not for anything else.
And the Lord can put upon our hearts and lead us in these kinds of commitments to him that are helpful and beneficial in our relationship with him.
In our walk with him.
You know, sometimes we kind of resist.
I'll give the example of Lent.
Right, it's not something we typically practice as Protestants, and perhaps we have some negative perspectives about it.
Maybe from our background, maybe from what we've seen around us.
Or maybe how we've heard others talk about it.
But you know, in and of itself it's not unlike.
The Nazarite vow of numbers, Chapter 6.
Now, the purpose and intents behind it, of course, really matter.
We need to understand it properly.
But it's possible something like that could be really great for you, and really a huge blessing in your life.
For you to give up something for 40 days.
And devote yourself to the Lord.
In a special way during that time, or maybe it's again a particular day or time of the week.
Maybe you need to kind of make it nazarite vow, regarding church times.
That you would kind of have a renewed commitment to.
I need to be meeting with the Lord at Church or online, but during church times you know I need to be participating in the services.
If you wanna hear me say no.
Asked me to watch Star Wars with you on Sunday morning.
I love Star Wars.
I'd enjoy watching Star Wars with you.
Be a great time, but not Sunday morning.
No, that's that's consecrated.
That's devoted, I.
I've got an appointment with the Lord on that day.
During that time.
Sunday afternoon you're on.
Let's do it right, but no, that that time is dedicated unto the Lord.
And perhaps there needs to be that kind of renewed commitment in your heart.
Towards the service times like that I remember I I've shared this before but.
Some of you are new, so I'll share it again.
There was a time back when I was working at Paychex that I was really struggling in my devotional life to get up every day and read the Bible before I would go to work.
It was really hard.
I would always stay up late at night, so then that would make it hard to get up in the morning, right?
I'd said yes to late night and that made me say no to devotions in the morning, right?
So so I was always doing that trade off and wrestling with that and.
The Lord just stood up in my heart one day.
I need to be committed to spend time with God every morning no matter what.
It was kind of scary.
Because I was like, OK, Lord.
That means if I wake up late.
And I spend time with you.
Then I'm going to be late to work.
Wrestled with it a little bit and I realized like that, that's really what I.
That's the commitment I need to make.
The Lord is more important.
Now if I end up going to work late every day, you know obviously things are wrong, right?
And and it's not my work problem, it's it's my heart with the Lord.
And so the Lord put it on my heart in that way, and I committed to spend time with God every morning in his word before I went to work.
Even when I woke up late and if it meant I was late, if it meant I got in trouble.
If it meant you know whatever like I had to hold that commitment and and the Lord put that up on my heart and helped me to walk in that.
And perhaps there's something like that the Lord wants to work in you as well.
Devotion to God requires saying no.
To good things.
Maybe sleeping in is a good thing, but maybe you need to say no to it so that you can say yes to getting up and spending time with the Lord.
Well, moving onto verses 6 through 8, we get the Third Point to consider this evening and that is devotion to God must come before all else.
When you have special times of devotion to God, it really does need to be devotion to God.
Above all else.
Check out verses 6 through 8.
It says this.
All the days that he separates himself to the Lord, he shall not go near a dead body.
He shall not make himself unclean even for his father or his mother, for his brother or his sister.
When they die because his separation to God is on his head all the days of his separation, he shall be holy to the Lord.
Here the Lord says, this time of separation is to be a serious time of separation and again, the requirements that are here are very similar to what we saw back in Leviticus Chapter 21. So now we're going back two weeks ago.
When I walked through that passage two weeks ago I, I titled the message in Leviticus 21, God gets to tell me what to do, and the first point was that God gets to tell me how to grieve because we talked about God, regulations for the priests.
Whenever they have a death in the family or a death of someone close to them, and God gave them instructions on what was appropriate for them, a corresponding with their role as priest, and then we saw that the high priests had even stricter requirements.
Similar to the nazarite vowel.
The normal priest who wasn't the high priest they could break from their responsibilities as priests for a close family member who died.
But the high priest was not allowed to.
He was on duty.
Same with the Nazarene.
And again, I understand that you know there could be perhaps some longing you know, look of the the role of the high priest and the oh, wow, he hasn't so great.
You know it gets to be, you know, so close to the Lord and.
God says, look, you have the same exact opportunity.
He says to all the children of Israel.
Do you have the same opportunity?
You can be devoted to me in the same way.
You can have those same kind of encounters with God.
As the high priest, yeah, that doesn't mean you get to do the high priest duties but but the high priest duties are not as glamorous as you might think, right?
Right, just this week, Richard and I had to deal with some plumbing issues, right?
There's not glamorous duties, you know.
For serving here at the church that you'd be so excited to participate in like you know, crawling under the sink and you know, dealing with plumbing like that's.
Have you seen those memes?
You know, like what my wife thinks I do, what my friends think I do.
You know there's there's a pastor.
One that's kind of funny.
It's like you know all the different things in golfing, and you know all that.
But then what I really do, and it's, you know, working on a toilet.
And like that ultimately, like that's really what it's like that there are just real practical things that need to be done.
And you know, that's the role.
But that's separate from every one of us.
Has the opportunity.
To be devoted to God and intimate with the Lord, and have a special and real connection to God.
The regulations here were the same as the regulations for the high priests because they had the same kind of opportunity to be close to God to know God, to walk with God.
Now again the vowels.
Here are voluntary.
And yet, at the same time, they're serious.
Notice in verse seven, he says, because the separation to God is on his head.
Even if a close family member dies, you are not to be part of that process.
Now understanding their culture a little bit.
Typically in the Jewish culture they would bury the person on the same day that they died.
And so it would be a fast process, and so.
You're in the middle of a nazirite, vow, like you're not able to be part of it.
You missed that whole thing.
God says it's serious.
Your separation is on your head.
It's attached to you.
It's attached to your life.
You have made a vow to God.
It's a serious thing.
You need to hold fast to your commitment.
Before the Lord.
Devotion to God must come before all else.
Now Jesus expressed similar things in just the idea of being his disciple, right in Luke Chapter 9, verse 23.
If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
The dying to self, denying self to follow Jesus like that's just a requirement to be a disciple.
Let alone a special designated time unto the Lord, like that, that's that's what it takes to walk with the Lord.
That's what the Lord calls us to continually.
Even Matthew chapter 10, verse 37 he loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me and you love son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. That doesn't mean we're to despise one another or have bad relationships or anything like that.
But the reminder that the Lord must always come first.
And what he asks of us and what he instructs us in, and what he calls us to always has to be our highest priority.
Our highest allegiance is to the Lord.
Again, verse 8 all the days of his separation he shall be holy to the Lord, completely dedicated, devoted to the Lord.
We obey him.
No matter what.
We hold fast to him.
We follow him no matter what before everything else more important than any other person in our life.
Now typically you know I'm just speaking generally here. God's will for your life is to have good relationships with your.
Father and mother and son and daughter, right?
Like he's not saying all of those ties have to be severed completely.
No, what God has for you is, you know, good relationships and love building those relationships and and great things in them.
But when it comes in tension with.
But God is instructing what God has said then.
Well, like Peter said, we must still be God rather than men.
We must be faithful and obedient to God and so devotion.
Must come before all else.
Devotion to God must come before all else.
While continuing on in verses 9 through 12, we get the fourth thing to consider in this special time of devotion to God.
Broken devotions should be restarted.
God here builds into the law of the nazarite, the case where what if something happens, the vow is broken.
Check out verses 9 through 12.
It says if anyone dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing.
On the 7th day he shall shave it.
Then on the eighth day he shall be brought.
He shall bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons to the priest, to the door of the Tabernacle of meeting.
And the priest shall offer one is a sin offering, and the other is a burnt offering and make atonement for him, because he sinned in regard to the corpse, and he shall sanctify his head that same day.
He shall consecrate to the Lord the days of his separation, and bring a male lamb in its first year as he trespass offering, but the former days shall be lost because his separation was defiled.
Here God addresses the issue.
What if the vow is broken accidentally?
So part of the requirements.
Well again, the requirement was that no products of divine, no razor on the head and no contact with dead bodies to become ceremonially unclean.
So he gives the case well, what if?
But the guy who was just sitting right next to me happened to Keel over and die right next to me.
I there was nothing I could do.
I didn't walk into that situation, it just happened upon me.
And so God is now addressing this case of a vow, broken accidentally.
Now, perhaps it's interesting to consider what about valves that are broken intentionally all but caught?
I was really craving some grapes.
God doesn't address that here.
I'm not going to address it.
You can just wrestle with it.
But what about vowels broken accidentally?
That we understand from this passage here an accident still brings defilement.
In verse nine, if anyone dies very suddenly beside him, and he defiles his consecrated head.
His vow is broken.
He is defiled.
He is ceremonially unclean when he has committed to be ceremonially cleaned.
Even if the incident was an accident now the normal process for anybody, not just not the nazarites, only right not those who had this vow only, but it was a normal seven day separation for someone who had been in contact with a dead body.
And So what, God is.
Prescribing here is that normal seven days of separation.
So he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing that was the 7th day on the 7th day he shall shave it.
And so the nazarite, then, so he's in the middle of this vowel.
Let's say 2 weeks into this vowel he comes in contact with a dead body.
So now he has to take seven days.
That are not part of the vowel, but just separation for uncleanness, for being in contact with the body.
And then he would come back on that seven day and shave his head, remove all the defilement, remove you, know all the hair that was there.
And then he would have to offer some offerings.
In verse 10 and 11, it talks about the sin offerings that must be offered.
In verse 12, the trespass offering that must be offered.
Verse 11 right in the middle of verse of the verses says because he sinned in regard to the courts.
And this is really important for us to understand accidental sin.
Is still sin.
A lot of times we you know might excuse our sin because it was accidental, right?
I didn't mean to.
I didn't plan on that.
I didn't intend to that I didn't.
You know, pursue that.
But at the same time we need to understand that whether or not we pursued it.
Sin is sin, whether it is accidental or not, and so this person sinned.
That gives sin is missing the mark, right?
They made the vow to be ceremonially clean and separate from the.
The dead for this designated period period of time, and they've missed the mark.
They didn't fulfill that vow.
It wasn't necessarily their fault, but.
It's still sin, it's still defilement.
So what do they do?
God says, here's what you do.
You take the normal seven days of separation.
You come back, shave everything, start fresh, offer your sacrifices to start clean.
You have a clean slate.
Now the sin is forgiven.
And now start your vow over.
Again, verse 12 he shall consecrate to the Lord the days of his separation.
So at the beginning of the vow, there would be a declaration as you make your vow to the before the Lord there at the Tabernacle you'd say, OK, I'm gonna have this vow for a month.
Jewish tradition tells us that typical nazarite vowels were for a month period.
They could be for different period time periods, but typically it was for a month.
OK, I'm going to devote myself to the Lord for this month.
But then in the middle of the month, the vow is broken, and so God says, you still owe me the month.
Well, I already put two weeks at can I get time served, you know, as part of that God says no start over.
Bring a male lamb in its first year as a chest offering, but the form of these shall be lost.
Because this separation was defiled.
The former days are gone those two weeks that you spent in that vow.
Those don't count.
Now he's still only the month.
Because that vow was broken again, vows are voluntary, but once you make them, God says that's a serious thing.
And we need to be faithful to those things that we commit to the Lord.
So God says you still still.
Owe me the month.
The former days are lost.
There is in the Mishnah, which is the record of Jewish traditions.
An instance where Queen Helena was.
Involved in a nazarite vowel that she had made unto the Lord for seven years.
And she almost got to the end of the seven years and something happened and she was defiled.
She was ceremonially unclean and so she had to go back and start again to commit another seven years unto the Lord.
Now that's just Jewish tradition.
That's not Bible, but it is in agreement with the instruction that.
The Lord gives here.
Now, I really love this.
Because here's what I read from this.
The Lord doesn't say OK.
You broke your vow, you failed.
Never try again.
That's not what the Lord says.
The Lord doesn't say, OK, you broke your vow.
Now you're going to have to do double next time you know to make up for what you messed up.
Now here's what the Lord says.
Just start over.
Just start with a fresh slate, a clean slate just just throw out the past and just let's start today and then we can have this what was on your heart, which you intended, that that special time with me?
That special designated time for for you and me to be together and walk together.
We let's just start.
Well, just he mercies are new every morning.
Fresh, clean slate.
Let's let's engage in this commitment in this vow.
That you made.
Old Presbyterian Pastor Alexander White.
Summed it up nicely, the victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.
Flawlessness continually, right?
Not without fail all the time.
But just new beginnings and we need to allow ourselves to embrace the grace of the Lord with new beginning.
Allow ourselves to embrace the the grace of God that just get a fresh start.
You don't have to, you know.
Try to compensate for all of those past things or how you failed.
Or you know, although like just let's just start today.
Walk with the Lord today in the way that he wants to walk with you and he's called you too.
You live the Christian life.
You go through a time period of being backslidden
And then you kind of wake up and realize where you've been and how much you need the Lord.
And God says, just start over.
To start fresh today, you don't have to.
You know make up for, uh, compensate for all the lost time.
You don't have to agonize over where you could have been if you had of, you know, hadn't have gone that route like just let's just start fresh today.
This is one of the reasons why I think it's appropriate sometimes for someone to be baptized.
Who has previously been baptized because there's times where it's just like you know what?
Theologically, I understand yes.
I identified with Christ once I I wasn't unsaved even though I was backsliding right, even though I was living that way and and so I don't need to be baptized again, but at the same time, like there is this like new beginning that is needed in my life, that that I just need to start fresh start over.
In the vow and the commitment that I made to the Lord.
Another way this plays out for us and I often encourage you guys as we're going through the Bible in three years or whatever reading plan you might be following.
I always encourage people just read today's reading.
You missed yesterday, it's lost.
Don't try to catch up.
Don't try to go back and you know, read all the parts you missed to get to today.
Like scratch all that.
And that's really hard.
It was really hard for me when I first.
Wrestled with that.
But I had to learn to embrace the grace that I can just start over and starting over doesn't mean starting at the beginning of the chapter of the passage, but starting over with today, I'm going to spend time with God in his word, in the portion that's assigned.
I'm just going to walk with him today in the portion that God gives me and listen if four days a week, you know is.
Is all that you have and you start over four days a week and you just read that day's reading like that.
Embrace the grace of God.
Allow the Lord to to do that in your.
Because so many times we get caught up in the legalism and we have to like this backlog of like I gotta read all these chapters to get caught up and I quit before I start because there's no way I can read this.
You know, I gotta do other stuff and and we get discouraged and we beat ourselves up and we lecture ourselves and Satan jumps on and like there's all this stuff that's tide to things that hey.
You could just start fresh.
Yeah, your devotions were broken.
Your commitments, they failed.
Don't try to go back and you know, repay them.
Just start today.
And do it again.
And if it happens again tomorrow, well then just start the next day and do it again.
Have you made some commitments to the Lord that?
Kind of fallen to the wayside.
Those devotions have been broken.
They should be restarted.
Again, vows were voluntary.
You don't have to vow, but when you vow.
You should keep your vow.
You should hold fast unless God releases you and God has the right to do that and he could say you know what scratched that you made that I appreciate where your heart was, but that's not what I want for you.
If God releases you, then great, you're released, but.
But you should hold fast to the commitments that God gives you, or that you've given to the Lord unless.
The direction for you.
Vernon McGee says God does not require a vow, but when a vow is made, he expects it to be kept and it is a serious matter if it is broken, he goes on to say if I'm confident there are great many Christians who promised God things that they never made good.
And that explains their sad spiritual plight today.
And I I don't know if that's perhaps someone who's hearing this now.
But even if.
You're in a sad spiritual plight today.
Guess what, you could start over.
And you don't gotta make up for it.
You don't gotta pay double for it.
You just just start today and walk in that commitment that you made to the Lord.
Walk in obedience to the things that God has set up on your heart. Well, finally, the fifth thing. Looking at verses 13 through 21, devotion is a gift to God. Devotion is a gift to God. Verse 13 through 15 first says this.
Now this is the law of the nazarite.
When the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the Tabernacle of meeting, and he shall present his offering to the Lord, one male lamb, in its first year without blemish, as a burnt offering.
One U lamb in its first year without blemish as a sin offering one ram without blemish as a peace offering a basket.
Of unleavened bread cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil and the grain offerings with their drink offerings.
To finish your vowel, here is a long list of things that you have to bring to the Tabernacle to offer these four main offerings to the Lord of Burnt offering and sin, offering a peace offering and green offering along with the supplemental drink offerings that went along with them.
The completion of this vow would be a significant expense.
This was not something to be entered into lightly because at the end of the vow it's going to cost you hundreds of dollars to finish it up.
To offer these sacrifices to the Lord.
Now you and I might think, well, I've just spent the last two months in devotion to God and just giving myself to the Lord in this great way.
And I'm going to come back to the Tabernacle and God should give me all of these animals and give me all of these things and baskets of things and and and drinks of things.
And you know, like.
Now he owes me.
Yeah, because I've been so devoted to him and it's a very dangerous mindset to get into because it is not at all what commitments to the Lord are about.
Listen our commitments to the Lord, our gifts to the Lord.
But I'm giving you my time.
I'm giving you the the restricted liberties I'm giving you these offerings I'm these are my gift to you, Lord.
I'm not expecting something from you, and this is really important because a lot of times when when people talk about fasting today, it's in the context of, well, I need to get God will for my life.
And so I'm going to fast so that I meet God, tell me what it is that I want to hear or I need this, or I need that or I want God to do this.
So I want God to accomplish that and and it's sometimes used as a kind of a negotiation with God or like a arm wrestling with God.
Like I'm going to fast until you, you know, answer my prayer.
And we need to be very careful with that.
I'm not saying the Lord can't put that on your heart in that way and call you to that.
Perhaps he would.
But generally speaking.
The idea of fasting, devotion, commitment unto the Lord.
It's not a negotiation tactic to convince God to do what we want.
No, it's a gift to God.
It's to say to God, God, I just I just want to give this time to you.
Not to get something, not to, you know, make my will happen on Earth the same way I want it to happen in heaven, right?
Like no, no.
I'm surrendering to your will.
I'm I'm I'm I'm submitting myself to you.
And maybe it comes at great expense to make this.
Vow to make this commitment I, I mean you can think about it like a retreat, right retreats sometimes can be a significant expense, and every time we have a retreat, especially if the price goes up.
It's like, whoa, that's a significant expense.
I I don't know it's like, hey, you know what special times of dedication and devotion to the Lord sometimes come with this significant expense?
That's and you devote that weekend and you devote that time, and it's for the Lord.
It's worth the price.
But we pay the Lord for that privilege, right?
Like it's a privilege to know the Lord to be in his presence, to have this relationship with the Lord.
He doesn't owe us anything, no matter how much we've sacrificed.
He doesn't owe us anything.
It's to our benefit to be close to the Lord to walk with the Lord in this way.
And so he would come and offer.
These sacrifices, and.
Skipping down a couple of verses we see in verse 18 he would shave his head then.
So he wasn't to shave the whole time, but then there would be a shaving.
It would be part of that closing ceremony of the vow, and then the hair.
Everything he produced during that time, that devoted time would be given over to the Lord, and it's a good way to.
Think about it, I think.
That this is what it's about.
I'm committing this time to the Lord and that whole time and whatever is produced from it.
It's not for my benefit.
It's not, you know, for my glory it's not for me, it's just an offering to the Lord.
It's for you, Lord.
But then verse 20 after that the nazirite may drink wine after all of the formality is completed then they would go back to normal.
And and that vowel would be over, they they completed it and and now they would be able to continue on.
And perhaps there would be a a different vowel in the future, a different commitment, and you know different things that the Lord would have for them.
But for that season, right that that time would be completed and fulfilled, and then they would continue on as they were before, still abstaining from sin.
Right, like that's the the given right?
That we're walking with the Lord and pursuing him and not the things of this world.
But it would come at great cost to be devoted to God in this way, and you can see that finally in verse 21 says this is the law of the nazirite, who vows to the Lord the offering for his separation.
And besides that, whatever else his hand is able to provide, according to the vow which he takes, so he must do according to the law of his separation.
You bring all these offerings to the Lord at the end of your vow.
God says, great.
What else you got?
Whatever else your hand finds.
Whatever else you're able to provide, throw it in there to offer that to God, to you.
And then whatever was attached to the vow that you made again, there would be this declaration at the beginning.
Alright, I'm committing this time until the Lord.
It's for this purpose and and you know, at the end of it that I'm going to give to the Lord these things.
The offerings were the required things, but but the person vowing could add on anything that they wanted.
And say these are the things that I'm going to give to the Lord, or ways that I'm going to serve to the Lord.
And whatever else you produce, whatever else you find from that time, give it.
Give it to the Lord.
Devotion to God is a gift to God.
It's your expression of commitment unto the Lord.
Your desire to know him, and to walk with him.
And so perhaps.
God has some special times of devotion for you.
I want to invite Josh up to close this in a.
Couple songs and as he does I would encourage you.
Let's just seek the Lord and maybe the Lord wants to refresh in your mind and recall, you know, hey there is this commitment that you already made that you haven't been.
You know following through with and.
And maybe the Lord says it's time to restart that commit.
Or maybe the lawyer wants to say it's time to let that commitment go, but let's start something new.
Everybody wants to stir up a special time of devotion to him again, fasting from you know, a certain element of life.
A certain aspect of life, certain things that maybe would just be really good for you to get a break from and to have some time with him.
And so let's just allow the Lord to Minister to us as we seek him as we worship him.
Let's offer ourselves to him and invite him to lead us.
And the commitments, and the dedications and the devotions.
That he desires for us 'cause he knows what's best for us.
Let's worship the Lord together.