Being Set Apart

I was having a conversation at lunch today with another brother in Christ. As we were returning, we were talking about the growing of hair and the Nazirite vow. If you’re not familiar with it, you can find it in Numbers 6:

Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When a man or woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to dedicate himself to the LORD, he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried grapes. All the days of his separation he shall not eat anything that is produced by the grape vine, from the seeds even to the skin.

” ‘All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head. He shall be holy until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD; he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long. All the days of his separation to the LORD he shall not go near to a dead person. He shall not make himself unclean for his father or for his mother, for his brother or for his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head. All the days of his separation he is holy to the LORD.

” ‘But if a man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his dedicated head of hair, then he shall shave his head on the day when he becomes clean; he shall shave it on the seventh day. Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the doorway of the tent of meeting. The priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make atonement for him concerning his sin because of the dead person. And that same day he shall consecrate his head, and shall dedicate to the LORD his days as a Nazirite, and shall bring a male lamb a year old for a guilt offering; but the former days will be void because his separation was defiled.
– Numbers 6:1-12, NASB

It’s not an easy vow. You couldn’t drink alcohol. You couldn’t cut your hair. And you couldn’t be near to a dead body. Break any of these restrictions, even if you had no control over the situation, and you had to start over with your vow. For instance, if someone dropped dead right besides you, though you couldn’t haven done anything to prevent it, you were starting over. If your vow was for 5 years and you were on the very last day, too bad. You would have to go through the ceremony to become clean again and then start over on Day 1. To sign up for that kind of vow takes serious commitment. But it’s worse than just honoring the strictures of the vow.

Think about this for a second. If you’re not cutting your hair and you’re not partaking of anything that comes the fruit of the grape, you’re going to separate yourself really quickly. It won’t take long for all those around you to know that you are undergoing the vow of the Nazirite. And that means those folks know what you can and cannot do. So if you end up breaking any part of the vow, they’re going to know. They know you are doing the vow and they know the rules of the vow. And they can call you on it. This isn’t the same as having a personal goal to lose 20 pounds. If you don’t say anything, no one knows about you goal except you. And they won’t call you on it. You don’t get that kind of “protection” with being a Nazirite.

And that got me thinking about how we’re doing as a Church. Are we looking to be set apart, to be examined with greater scrutiny, to live a life that brings glory and honor to our King? Think about it. If we’re living and doing it God’s way, then we should welcome the extra scrutiny. After all, it will give people a chance to see God at work. Because if we’re doing it God’s way, we’re opening the door for Him to whatever He wants to do. And that means the world around us sees Christ in our lives. That’s a good thing. That’s what we want. That’s part of our witness. But it starts with the desire to be set apart. We’ve got to separate ourselves from those who want to hold on to the things of the world. And we do so by sacrificial living for our Savior. No, we don’t have to grow our hair out. No, we don’t have to abstain from anything made from grapes. And the reward is out of this world. We receive a treasure in heaven where rust and moth can’t destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal. Sounds like a great deal to me.

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