Something in Man’s heart has always pulled him toward God, so it’s not strange that, along with the sacrifices and ordnances God required His people to observe, a man or woman could voluntarily set aside a period of time to consecrate themselves to God in what they called a vow of a Nazarite (Numbers 6). Nobody was required to take such drastic measures, but God knew there would be those whose hearts led them to draw closer, so He included the Nazarite experience in Moses’ Law.
God is always willing for men to come close, but the first thing God does when He invites folks to “separate themselves unto the LORD,” is to demand that the one accepting His invitation “separate himself” from a whole list of things.
Accept His invitation to draw closer and immediately the discussion shifts from the general to the personal. The invitation is to the whole crowd, the themselves, but the demand is hung upon the individual, the himself.
This spiritual experience does not begin with a congratulatory welcome, nor does the LORD get all weepy and sentimental when He sees His little children lining up to draw near to Him. Instead, He requires that they separate themselves from things before they can separate themselves unto Him.
Want to make that special vow and draw near to God?
Then separate yourself from the drink and food that can alter your mind and confuse your spirit. Your body and brain must be free from competing spiritual forces so that you sense and hear the voice of God with clarity and conviction.
Lose the public image you’ve so carefully crafted. The stylish look, the particular way you present yourself before the world has to go. The vow itself will now shape your identity and define the image you will present to the world.
The relationship this separation creates must be guarded at all costs. You can’t forget it nor neglect it. Family ties and commitments are not allowed to separate you from Him. Putting some distance between you and those you love, if necessary, is a risk you must be willing to accept. Even accidental and unavoidable brushes with those outside this covenant must be carefully accounted for.
This relationship, this special time, is expensive. You’ll need to bring along at least two perfect lambs (make sure one is a female), a ram without blemish, a whole basketful of bread, some cakes and plenty of other treats — and enough drinks to complement it all. And make sure all the food and drink is prepared exactly as Moses taught you. And, even though this vow is between you and God, be aware that He’s invited some others to participate and, at times, you’ll have to let them help you.
I’m grateful for the comforts and blessings I enjoy in this era of Grace, but those who will draw near to God will find it necessary to separate themselves from things that distract and interfere — much like the man or woman who chose to make a Nazarite vow.
It’s not about proving ourselves worthy or good, but it’s responding to the fact that it’s impossible for holiness and pride to mingle together. It’s knowing the carnal will never surrender to the spiritual, but must be overpowered by following specific scriptural prescriptions.
A whole lot has changed since the Israelites walked in the wilderness, but one thing remains the same. Whoever wants to be separated unto the LORD must first be separated from His competition.