A new decade looms just over the horizon. I know it, you know it, and every Twitter user who keeps retweeting the same “what have YOU done with your decade?” meme knows it too.
So in that spirit, if I were to give someone a list of the choices you’ve made over the past decade, what conclusions would they draw about you? What kind of person would they think you were? Lazy? Ambitious? Troubled? Exciting?
What about the list of choices given in this week’s chapter, Numbers 6? They all belong to a set of people called “Nazirites”. They were regular Israelites, only extra dedicated to the Lord. They didn’t drink wine or “strong drink”, or even grape juice! They grew their hair long and sought to keep themselves pure at all times (verses 3-6).
Were they prudes? Recovering alcoholics? “Real” followers of God? Minimalists?
The Treasures Within:
Which makes up more of who you are – your choices or your birth? Are you where you are because you were born there or because you chose to be there? Which do you think is more important? Which are you proudest of?
The Bible presents both sides in clear contrast in this chapter. In previous chapters we’ve talked a lot about the priests. They served God with their whole lives. They gave up so much to serve God. They were tasked with one of the most crucial service roles in the entire community.
But they were born into it. Priests were Levites, descendants of Aaron. If you weren’t in that family, you weren’t (or at least shouldn’t be) a priest. And vice versa.
But the Nazirites were different. They weren’t all from a specific tribe. They weren’t an established people group. In fact, this is the first time the word “Nazirite” appears in the Bible.
Nazirites were nothing more than people who made “a special vow…of dedication to the Lord” (verse 2). That’s it.
You ever come across people who don’t believe in secular music or in Christmas or something else that seems wild and extreme and unnecessary? Usually we kind of turn our noses up at them – why are they so legalistic? Why don’t they calm down? It doesn’t take all that.
And while there’s a clear problem with thinking that the sacrifices you stack up on your checklist save you…
Why not dedicate our lives more seriously to God? Why not make a special vow? Why not force ourselves to cling more tightly to Jesus? Why not invite Him to take a more intimate, more authoritative role in our lives?
We love to take things away. We love to tell each other that such-and-such is not really a sin, and here’s why. We love to free ourselves of spiritual sacrifices. It’s so easy to give God less.
But how often do we look for ways to give God more?
Where can we give God more of our time, more of our money, more of our trust, more of our effort, more of our goals, more of our thoughts, more of our very existence? Why isn’t that a daily question? Why doesn’t the thought of Him make our hearts beat faster? Why doesn’t the sheer immensity of His person, His love, and His power make us want to pull Him closer and still closer?
God’s Message To Us:
“I want to take our relationship to the next level.” Look, it’s hard to get to these intimate places with God (I’m over here still struggling daily) because it’s not in our nature. Our hearts tell us to please ourselves and ourselves alone. The kind of affection for God that the Nazirites displayed – that’s not natural. Or easy. Or even desirable, at first!
But that’s all the more reason why we need to make a special vow. When we see where we’re at now and how embarrassingly stagnant it is compared to who God is, we take action. We make a choice. After all, why walk around calling ourselves Christians if our lives aren’t shouting that same truth from the rooftops?
It’s not about being legalistic. It’s not about being fanatical. It’s not even about impressing God or gaining His favor. It’s about cultivating a relationship. It’s about falling more in love with our Father. It’s about choosing this Christian walk, rather than being born into it.
What do you think? What does a special vow look like today? Comment below and don’t forget to share!