Week Twelve: Day 2

    March 26, 2024 | Be God's Light

    The Nazirite Vow &
    the Priestly Blessing

    Scripture: Numbers 6(NIV)

    1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of dedication to the Lord as a Nazirite, 3 they must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or other fermented drink. They must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. 4 As long as they remain under their Nazirite vow, they must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins.

    5 “‘During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, no razor may be used on their head. They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long.

    6 “‘Throughout the period of their dedication to the Lord, the Nazirite must not go near a dead body. 7 Even if their own father or mother or brother or sister dies, they must not make themselves ceremonially unclean on account of them, because the symbol of their dedication to God is on their head. 8 Throughout the period of their dedication, they are consecrated to the Lord.

    9 “‘If someone dies suddenly in the Nazirite’s presence, thus defiling the hair that symbolizes their dedication, they must shave their head on the seventh day—the day of their cleansing. 10 Then on the eighth day they must bring two doves or two young pigeons to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 11 The priest is to offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to make atonement for the Nazirite because they sinned by being in the presence of the dead body. That same day they are to consecrate their head again. 12 They must rededicate themselves to the Lord for the same period of dedication and must bring a year-old male lamb as a guilt offering. The previous days do not count, because they became defiled during their period of dedication.

    13 “‘Now this is the law of the Nazirite when the period of their dedication is over. They are to be brought to the entrance to the tent of meeting. 14 There they are to present their offerings to the Lord: a year-old male lamb without defect for a burnt offering, a year-old ewe lamb without defect for a sin offering, a ram without defect for a fellowship offering, 15 together with their grain offerings and drink offerings, and a basket of bread made with the finest flour and without yeast—thick loaves with olive oil mixed in, and thin loaves brushed with olive oil.

    16 “‘The priest is to present all these before the Lord and make the sin offering and the burnt offering. 17 He is to present the basket of unleavened bread and is to sacrifice the ram as a fellowship offering to the Lord, together with its grain offering and drink offering.

    18 “‘Then at the entrance to the tent of meeting, the Nazirite must shave off the hair that symbolizes their dedication. They are to take the hair and put it in the fire that is under the sacrifice of the fellowship offering.

    19 “‘After the Nazirite has shaved off the hair that symbolizes their dedication, the priest is to place in their hands a boiled shoulder of the ram, and one thick loaf and one thin loaf from the basket, both made without yeast. 20 The priest shall then wave these before the Lord as a wave offering; they are holy and belong to the priest, together with the breast that was waved and the thigh that was presented. After that, the Nazirite may drink wine.

    21 “‘This is the law of the Nazirite who vows offerings to the Lord in accordance with their dedication, in addition to whatever else they can afford. They must fulfill the vows they have made, according to the law of the Nazirite.’”

    22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

    24 “‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
    25 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
    26 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

    27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”


    Making a promise in private is one thing. But making the commitment publicly adds power to the promise. That is why people are baptized before the believing community. That is why couples get married in front of family and friends. Others are witnesses to the vows that are made.

    This Nazirite vow of dedication to the Lord was done publicly as well. The people who embarked on this journey would not eat or drink anything that came from the grape. In addition, the men let their hair grow continuously for as long as they were fulfilling their time of dedication to God.

    The most well-known person in the Old Testament who took a Nazirite vow was Samson. He famously let Delilah cut off his hair, breaking his Nazirite vow and robbing him of his God-given power.

    His counterpart in the New Testament is John the Baptist. Though it is not specifically stated that he took a Nazirite vow, his calling to never drink alcoholic beverages, his earthy appearance, and his life devoted to the Lord apart from social norms certainly fits the bill.

    Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 says, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.” Making commitments to God are good. Fulfilling those vows are better.

    What are some of the promises you have made to God? How has the Holy Spirit helped you fulfill them? Have there been stumbling blocks that have tripped you up in your efforts to complete your vows? What is the Lord calling you to do?

    Deuteronomy 23:21-23 puts it plainly: “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth.”



    Today in church, I bowed my head
    As the pastor lifted holy hands to bless.
    The sleeves cascaded down like wings;
    I was transported to heaven's throne room.
    Lifted high, the arms of YHWH,
    Holding hands with Christ on the right
    And the Spirit on the left-
    Unified in the blessing
    Angels bending; powers and principalities, too.
    Faces covered, prostrate before the throne.
    At heaven's door I stood, looking in
    Awed by the spectacular sight!
    I felt like Esther, scared, yet propelled
    To enter the scene, to dare--
    The septer of welcome was extended to me
    Full of beauty and grace
    Around the throne, faithful prophets,
    Priests and pastors stood with arms lifted
    Clasping hands in the stance of blessing
    Their heavenly linen sleeves draping.
    "Blessing, favor, knighthood be upon her,
    guard your precious treasure!
    Shine light and keep your face upon her,
    bestow all gifts of beauty and grace!
    Delight and spotlight her,
    Fill her cup to overflowing; make her whole and sated!
    She is marked with your holy name,
    Behold, your blessing is upon her!"

    YHWH's knowing eyes shone and lips parted
    Into a wide grin of love.
    "Come, My Child,
    Beloved of the Kingdom"
    I ran into the arms, enveloped.
    I walked out the church door
    Knighted to a calling,
    Marked by YHWH's name,
    Empowered by the love of Christ
    And sealed by the Holy Spirit's grace.

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