"THE VOW OF THE NAZARITE."
I. THE NAZARITE VOW.
A. The word Nazarite comes from the Hebrew word "nawzeer" which is the Hebrew word meaning separation.
1. The separation was to be twofold.
a. To separate yourself from the things of the world.
b. To separate yourself unto God.
2. In Romans 12
, Paul was calling the believers to a consecration unto God.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
a. Paul seems to be calling them to the vow of the Nazarite.
b. As Paul is saying, "Be ye separate," he is probably thinking of the Hebrew word nawzeer.
c. "Touch not the unclean thing." When a person had taken the vow of the Nazarite, they were not to touch anything that was unclean. Num 6:7
B. To take the vow of the Nazarite meant that you were going to fully and totally consecrate your life to God. It was complete dedication.
1. This is something that we should all think about doing. For a week, for a month, for life.
2. "Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee."
3. Paul says that it is our reasonable service; i.e., it makes good sense.
4. When we say that He has redeemed us, we are talking about purchasing a slave from his slavery. He has redeemed us not that we might now live to please ourselves, but that we might live to please Him.
5. A question that we should constantly be asking is, "Is my life pleasing Him?
a. If I am watching a movie that is filled with profanity, is that pleasing Him?
b. If I am involved in an extramarital affair, is that pleasing Him?
c. If I am getting drunk, is that pleasing to Him?
d. Bottom line is that He created you for His good pleasure. And He redeemed you for His good pleasure. Thus it is a legitimate question to ask about all my activities.
II. THE LAWS FOR ONE WHO HAD TAKEN THE NAZARITE VOW.
A. As far as their diet:
1. No wine or strong drink. The fact that there is a distinction between wine and strong drink suggests that the wine is just the unfermented juice from the grapes. The Hebrew word for strong drink is "shakar" which in Hebrew means inebriated.
2. No vinegar made from grapes.
3. No liquor of grapes. A drink made from grape skins soaked in water.
4. No fresh grapes or raisins.
5. Nothing from the grape vine. Not the seeds or the leaves. There is a delightful food that is wrapped in grape leaves. And they do have a grape seed oil which is supposed to be quite healthful.
6. Why the prohibition against the grape vine?
a. We really do not know for certain.
b. Many of the rabbi's thought the reason for the prohibition was that it was the original forbidden fruit in the garden.
B. As far as their hair:
1. They were not to allow a razor to come to their hair during the time of their vow.
C. He was not to touch a dead body.
1. If someone should suddenly die and perhaps fall on him, he would have to offer a sacrifice and start the vow over again.
III. THE CASE OF SAMSON.
A. He was to be a Nazarite from his birth.
1. His mother was barren and an angel of the Lord appeared to her. The angel instructed her not to drink wine or strong drink, neither eat anything that was unclean. She was to take the vow of the Nazarite during the time of her pregnancy.
2. When her son was born, no razor was to come to his head for he was to be a Nazarite unto God, or separated to God from his mother's womb.
3. God was going to use him to begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines.
B. As long as he kept his vow, he was a nemesis to the Philistines for the Spirit of God would come upon him and give to him supernatural strength.
C. There is a sad and tragic line that runs through this story of Samson.
1. Though he could conquer over the Philistines, he could not conquer over the desires of his own flesh. He loved Philistine women.
2. And the weakness of his flesh ultimately brought him down.
3. He had fallen in love with a Philistine gal named Delilah.
4. The Philistine lords came to her and offered that each of them would give her 1100 pieces of silver if she could discover the secret of his strength so that they might defeat him.
5. So she began to ply her feminine charms, and started asking him the secret of his strength.
6. He in turn started playing games with her, giving her several false clues.
a. He said that if he was bound with seven green vines.
b. He then said that if they would use new ropes that had never been used.
c. She then accused him of mocking her and lying to her. So he told her that if they would weave the seven locks of his hair in the loom.
d. She then began to taunt him saying, "How can you say that you love me, when your heart is not with me, you mocked me three times, and have not told me the truth of the secret of your strength. Daily she pressured him with her words until he became so weary, he finally told her that his hair had never been cut, he was a Nazarite.
e. Once again as he went to sleep, a barber was brought in who shaved his head. When she said, "The Philistines are upon you." He said, "I will go out as I have before." And then those tragic words, "He knew not that the LORD had departed from him."
f. The Philistines overpowered him and gouged out his eyes, bound him with chains of brass, and led him to Gaza where they had him grinding in the prison house.
7. Many people make a serious mistake at this point of the story, and think that the secret of his strength was in his hair.
8. The secret of his strength was in his consecration to God as a Nazarite which was symbolized by his uncut hair.
9. When he broke that vow to God he became weak as other men.
10. There is tremendous strength in consecration.
11. One of the weaknesses of the church today is the lack of commitment on the part of so many of the attendees.
12. Serving God is for many, a matter of convenience.
a. If it is convenient I will pray.
b. If it is convenient I will read the Word.
c. If it is convenient I will go to church tonight.
d. There relationship with the Lord might be classified as lukewarm.
13. Paul was probably thinking about the Olympic races when he said, "When they run the race, though all are running, only one will receive the prize, so run that you might obtain. Run to win."
D. Jesus gave an interesting parable as He was talking to His disciples about His coming for His church. He likened it to as a bridegroom coming for His bride. There were ten virgins waiting for this event, five wise, and five foolish. They were all waiting; they all had nodded off and were sleeping. Suddenly the cry they were expecting came, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh." They all trimmed their lamps to go out to meet Him. Here is where the difference shows up between the wise and foolish. The foolish had no oil, and thus were not prepared to meet the Bridegroom when He came. Before they could get prepared, the Bridegroom had come and taken those that were ready. When they being late sought entry, they were rejected as the Bridegroom denied knowing them. I believe that the ten virgins represent all of Christendom, whereas the five wise represent the church. The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and the difference between the two is the five wise were born of the Spirit, whereas the five
foolish though they were numbered with the church, perhaps even supported the church, they did not have a personal relationship by being born again. There was no real fire of the Spirit in their lives. As a pastor, I often grieve over many of you, for I wonder when the Lord comes, will you be found ready to meet Him. I do not know what more I can do to fire you up for the lukewarm will be spued out of His mouth. What is your spiritual temperature?