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December 21, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: James
Audio: James

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Numbers 6 (ESV)

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins.

“All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long.

“All the days that he separates himself to the Lord he shall not go near a dead body. Not even for his father or for his mother, for brother or sister, if they die, shall he make himself unclean, because his separation to God is on his head. All the days of his separation he is holy to the Lord.

“And if any man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it. 10 On the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two pigeons to the priest to the entrance of the tent of meeting, 11 and the priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned by reason of the dead body. And he shall consecrate his head that same day 12 and separate himself to the Lord for the days of his separation and bring a male lamb a year old for a guilt offering. But the previous period shall be void, because his separation was defiled.

13 “And this is the law for the Nazirite, when the time of his separation has been completed: he shall be brought to the entrance of the tent of meeting, 14 and he shall bring his gift to the Lord, one male lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old without blemish as a sin offering, and one ram without blemish as a peace offering, 15 and a basket of unleavened bread, loaves of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and their grain offering and their drink offerings. 16 And the priest shall bring them before the Lord and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering, 17 and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of peace offering to the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread. The priest shall offer also its grain offering and its drink offering.18 And the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire that is under the sacrifice of the peace offering. 19 And the priest shall take the shoulder of the ram, when it is boiled, and one unleavened loaf out of the basket and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite, after he has shaved the hair of his consecration, 20 and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. They are a holy portion for the priest, together with the breast that is waved and the thigh that is contributed. And after that the Nazirite may drink wine.

21 “This is the law of the Nazirite. But if he vows an offering to the Lord above his Nazirite vow, as he can afford, in exact accordance with the vow that he takes, then he shall do in addition to the law of the Nazirite.”

22 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

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Next: Numbers 7

Back: Numbers 5

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Nazirites

    The hippies of the 60s and the  \m/ \m/ metal heads of the 80s certainly had one thing in common with the Nazirites – long hair! But that's where the similarities stop for many (most) of them. Unlike the Nazirites who dedicated themselves to the Lord, most hippies and metal heads were notoriously rebellious and were dedicated to gratifying the desires of the sinful nature including extreme intoxication on alcohol and drugs.

    The ESV Study Bible provides great insight into the Nazirites. 

    Nazirites were the most dedicated laypeople in the OT. Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist were lifelong Nazirites, but usually a person took a vow to become a Nazirite for only a specific period of time. A Nazirite  had to avoid cutting his or her hair (both men and women could be Nazirites), not eat any product made from grapes, and avoid contact with any dead body.

    "When the period to which a Nazirite had dedicated himself was over, he had to bring three animal sacrifices (burnt, sin, and peace offerings; Leviticus 1:10–13; Leviticus 4:32–35; Leviticus 3:6–11) and the customary accompanying grain and wine offerings (Leviticus 2:4–13; Numbers 15:1–10). Finally, the Nazirite shaved his head and burned his hair on the altar. His unshaven head marked his dedication to God, and by burning the hair he symbolically gave himself to God. The shoulder of the ram is given to the priest, in addition to his usual share of the sacrifice (the breast and the thigh."

    Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 274). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

    In his commentary on Numbers, Iain Duguid writes that Nazirites were "a perfect picture of what Israel was intended to be. They were to be 'a kingdom of priests and a holy nation' (Exodus 19:6). God had chosen them uniquely out of all of the nations of the earth to be his people in order that he might dwell in their midst. In consequence, they were to be separate and distinct from the other nations. The existence of the Nazirites in their midst would constantly have reminded them of that necessity to be different and to be holy."

    Duguid, I. M., & Hughes, R. K. (2006). Numbers: God’s presence in the wilderness (p. 79). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

    Do you desire to be fully dedicated to the Lord or are you content with just being "better" than you used to be or those around you?

    Does your dedication to the Lord result in making choices which honor Him and are a sacrifice to you?

    Does your dedication to the Lord turn people off who knew the "old you" and would rather hang out with them than you? 

  2. (What probing questions, Scott. Thank you.)

    Repentance

    I found Numbers 6:9-12 really interesting this morning. Notice that the Nazirite has no fault at all in the sin of which he is guilty. He didn't make any choice here, yet it's still made him unclean before the Lord, and now steps must be taken for his sin to be atoned for. And he has to start all over, because the previous consecration period is null and void. 

    This reminds me in a way of Christian repentance, and even of being re-baptized. I was first baptized at 16, but I didn't know what it was to be born again, or even what repentance really was. Repentance is serious business; it's not an empty apology or phony contrition offered only with the hope of appeasing God, but with no weight behind it. It's a committed turning from sin, and in the matter of being born again, that repentance is a turning from a life of sin and separation FROM God, and a turning TO the cross, to Jesus, to the free gift of salvation and reconciliation WITH God…

    …and this is all by God's grace. He gives me the grace to believe, the grace to repent, and the grace to enter into new life in Christ. Because without God's grace, I would never seek Him.

    “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12

    "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." John 6:44

    And then, in the context of our new life in Christ, when the Lord in His mercy reveals some area of sin in us and we can bear the weight of it no longer, and we repent of that particular sin, He also gives us the grace to change and be changed, to stand up under temptation, and to enjoy the glorious blessings of freedom He gives us.

    And should we in a moment or season of weakness find ourselves later engaging or indulging in that sin, the truly repentant will also be engaged with the Holy Spirit in us. We will be incredibly uncomfortable with the sin we turned from, and it will be no substitute for the joy we once found in our freedom.

    Should we choose to continue in sin despite the conviction we are under, we risk the terrible state of slowly quenching the spirit of God in us, quieting His voice, hardening our hearts, and even of losing our way.  

    But God's mercies are new every morning, and He gladly invites His wayward children to confess our sin and repent, and there at the throne of grace receive not only mercy and forgiveness, but grace upon grace upon grace! Our Father in heaven longs for us to return to Him!

    I'm reminded of the father in Luke 15:11-32, whose son was finally returning, and the great joy and celebration! 

    "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." Luke 15:7
     

     

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