Thursday, June 24, 2010

The 21st Century Nazarite

Scripture References: Numbers 6:1-21, 1 Peter 2:9, Jn 4:23, 24, Rom 12:1
In the Old Testament days, people took vows to be completely set apart or dedicated to God. They were called Nazarites. There were laws for them to follow as long as they remained Nazarites. One could choose to be a Nazarites for a while or for a life time. The question then is, since Christ has come and the Holy Spirit is with us, do Nazarites still exist? The answer is YES!
The Bible says that we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. That is all that is needed to be a Nazarite. We are all Nazarites and are to live accordingly. But are the Old Testament laws applicable to us? Are we supposed to wear funny clothes and leave our hair uncut as was required? How do the Old Testament laws apply to us, especially as ministers of the Gospel being conformed to the Image of Christ?
1. The Old Testament Nazarites were not to drink wine or alcohol. Wine is a symbol of joy (Ps. 104:15).In taking the vow to abstain from all wine and strong drink, they were essentially saying, “Lord, you are going to be our only source of joy. We are going to rejoice only in you! You are going to be our one joy!”In much the same way, all our joy is to proceed from God. We are to rejoice in God through the Holy Spirit.
2. They were not to cut their hair as a sign of separation from the world and consecration unto God. Everyone meeting them was supposed to know that they were special, set apart for God. In our time, there is supposed to be a defining sign on us to show that we are Christians. People meeting us, even random strangers, should be able to say,”Hey, there is something special about them!” Do people meet us and have that reaction? Do they just know that we belong to God? If not, Why?
3. The Nazarites had one more law that amazes me when I think about it. They were not to associate themselves with death or the dead, even if they were family. Even accidental contact was not tolerated. The cleansing procedure if this occurred was stringent, for lack of a better word. In these end times, death is every where around us in the form of sin. Christ said we are the light of the world. We are not to have even a little darkness in our light.
4. The Bible says that if we believe in Christ, out of us would flow streams of living water. No death or dead stuff should come from us. We should not be associated with the sin of this world, for we are in the world but not of the world. We should be the very essence of our society, just as salt adds taste to food. Everything coming from us should be alive, vivacious and joyful. This means that our work, marriage, academics, family, relationships etc. should be alive, excellent and beautiful, not mediocre, dead and dull. Are we living lives full of joy, life and excellence? Do people see us and want to be like us, or at the very least, give glory to God? Are we attractive to others because of our lives?