Numbers 6 gives us the details on the Nazirite Vow. Our English word Nazirite comes to us from the Hebrew word Nazar, and it simply means to consecrate. Anyone who wanted to consecrate themselves to God above and beyond what was required of them, could do so for a set period time (as God would lead) for any reason. Have you ever sensed that call to draw even closer to God?
- There was to be no wine during this time (not even grapes).
- There was to be no haircuts during this time (for that reason some men shaved their heads at the commencement of this vow) (this is what we see in Acts 21:23-24).
- There was to be no touching of a dead body, not even if one’s immediate family died during this time. The person under the Nazirite vow was to be exclusively given to God, as we read in:
Numbers 6:8 (NKJV) “All the days of his separation he shall be holy to the LORD.”
If the person was unable to follow through with their vow, or somehow violated it, there was a prescribed series of sacrifices that needed to be made in order to be clean, and resume their vow (Numbers 6:9-12).
When the Nazirite vow was fulfilled, there were more sacrifices to be offered (Numbers 6:13-21).
Samson was unique in that he was to be a Nazirite – from his mother’s womb (Judges 13:4-5). Tragically, Samson violated every aspect of this vow and calling, and he paid a heavy price (Judges 16:21, 30).
I’ve always loved the priestly blessing in:
Numbers 6:24–26 (NKJV) “The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
This was how the priests were to bless the people, they were to prayerfully speak God’s blessings and protection over them – His favor, smiling face, and grace over their lives…that the Lord would give them peace. What a beautiful prayer to pray for one another; a good passage to commit to memory.
Numbers 7 details the offerings the leaders of each of the twelve tribes of Israel gave to the priests, beginning with six covered carts and twelve oxen. Two carts and four oxen were given to the sons Gershon to transport the items they were responsible for in the Tabernacle. Four carts and eight oxen were given to the sons of Merrari, since they were responsible for the transportation of more items than Gersho, and no carts or oxen were given to the sons of Kohath since they carried their items on their shoulders.
After that there was the offerings given from the representative leaders of each tribe on twelve successive days.
• One silver platter weighing 3.25 pounds, and one silver bowl weighing 1.75 pounds, both full of fine flour and oil.
• One gold pan weighing 4 ounces, full of incense.
• One young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year as a burnt offering
• One kid of the goats as a sin offering
• Two oxen, five rams, five male goats, five male lambs in their first year as a peace offering
The tally is given in Numbers 7:84-88.
The twelve tribes did not include Levi or Joseph for Joseph was represented by his two sons Ephraim and Mannasseh, and Levi was the tribe of priests receiving the offerings.
Chapter 7 concludes with another beautiful passage:
Numbers 7:89 (NKJV) “Now when Moses went into the tabernacle of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice of One speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the Testimony, from between the two cherubim; thus He spoke to him.”
God met with Moses and spoke to Moses, audibly, from above the Mercy Seat (see also Exodus 25:22). This would be the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, symbolic of God’s throne; and it was there, on that very spot, where the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. It is there where we also are able to meet with God, at His throne of Grace, and He will speak to our hearts.
O Lord, please help us to take heart this warning You gave us in reference to the religious leaders of that day, that we would never ever be like them. They were pretenders who were only interested in the perks and preferential treatment, especially the power, but they did not like or love the Lord, or the people of the Lord – they were in it for themselves. Imagine having a heart that would even be willing to devour widows houses!
Our Lord closes Mark 12 with a lesson on giving. In God’s economy the widow who gave 2 mites gave more than all the others, because they gave out of their abundance, but she, even though she was poor, gave all that she had.
Warren Wiersbe offers rich insight, “The Lord watches how we give (Mark 12:41–44) and examines the motives of the heart (Matthew 6:1–4). He also sees how much we give and measures the proportion, not the portion (1 Corinthians 16:2). An old epitaph reads, ‘What I gave, I have. What I spent, I had. What I kept, I lost.’”
Everyone was mesmerized by the glory of the Temple – the disciples make a comment about the stones, after all, some of them were forty feet long, weighing up to 160,000 pounds! Jesus wasn’t as impressed, informing them that the time would come when these very stones would be thrown down – not one would be left upon another.
When they reached the Mount of Olives, some of the guys asked Jesus about this, when will these things be, what are the signs of Your coming, and of the end of the age?
Jesus went on to share what Christians often refer to as the “Olivet Discourse” (see also Matthew 24 and Luke 21). He predicts that false Messiah’s would come, there would be wars and rumors of wars, ethnic tension, earthquakes, famines and so much more – all these would increase in frequency and intensity before the Second Coming of Christ.
Jesus predicts the persecution of the Apostles who would be hated by all, betrayed by families, forced to testify in Synagogues and even before world rulers for His sake. There was no need to worry or even prepare what to say in such situations, God would give them every word.
Mark 13:11 (NKJV) “But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
Imagine the heartbreak of families divided because of Jesus, and even the hatred we will experience, since they hate Him and His ways, they will hate us – Jesus warned us all about it (Matthew 10:34-35; John 15:18-20).
Just as a quick side-note, some might attempt to apply Mark 13:11 to teachers giving a Bible Study, but the context deals with what to do when someone is arrested for preaching the Gospel. Teachers of God’s Word are to to prepare for those teaching opportunities by laboring in the Word (1 Timothy 5:17) and studying to show themselves approved to God (2 Timothy 2:15). We do trust the Lord for the words while teaching and we are to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit, hoping that He will speak through us, but this passage is a precept for a different situation.
This Psalm definitely has the overtones of a Proverb – even using that very word in Psalm 49:4.
A common theme woven throughout the Psalm is the poverty of wealth, when that wealth becomes one’s trust. All the money in the world cannot buy a single fiber of God’s forgiveness, much less the redemption of our souls!
Psalm 49:8 (NKJV) “For the redemption of their souls is costly, and it shall cease forever.”
Psalm 49:8 (NLT) “Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough.”
Peter reveals to us the cost in:
1 Peter 1:18–19 (NKJV) “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Therefore, don’t envy the rich, don’t overwork to be rich; don’t pour your life into your house or the properties you may amass – that’s what the world does:
Psalm 49:11 (NKJV) “Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.”
Don’t fear or envy the rich, for in the end, they end up with nothing, even if all others commend them – God doesn’t.
Psalm 49:17–18 (NKJV) “For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. 18 Though while he lives he blesses himself (For men will praise you when you do well for yourself).”
Jim Elliot, “No man is a fool who give us that which he cannot keep, in order to gain that which he cannot lose.”
In Proverbs 10:27 we have a general principle (not a binding precept) that if we do things God’s way we will live longer. If we live longer we’ll more time to serve Him and the people He brings our way with the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I live a life of violence, indulgence, drugs and alcohol, chances are my life will be cut short.
In Proverbs 10:28 we discover that the hopes of the righteous will be realized and bring happiness, while the dreams of the wicked only end as nightmares.
Thank God for the righteousness imputed and imparted by faith in Jesus Christ.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.