Numbers 6:1-21

The Nazarite Vow


Intro: Here we have the instructions for what was called the Vow of the Nazarite.

A)Hebrew: naziyr = separate; consecrated


B) Some Nazarites were Nazarites for life/ Samuel was a Nazarite for life

 Samson was a Nazarite for life (who broke his consecration to the     Lord)

  1) John the Baptist was a Nazarite for life


C) But That was the exception- normally You would take this vow for a specific period of time

1) Rabbi's tell us that the normal Nazarite vow was about 30 days


D) During that time you would let no razor come upon your head

 you drank no wine or similar Drink

1) During that time you wouldn’t touch a dead body


Now the Purpose of such a Vow was two fold it was to draw closer to the Lord – [Similar to Fasting] / 2nd Prepare yourself for Service

A)So It was a Vow of Separation for the purpose of Service


B) The Nazarites desire was to keep himself from all that was of the world so that his heart could be fixed upon the Lord & the things of the Lord !!


C) This morning I want us to consider each aspect of this Vow & it’s significance

1)   As we do I want to consider the Spiritual Application for us who are believers in JC – called by the Lord to Be Holy / Consecrated


D) Called apart to the Lord / Called to be Set apart from this World


First Vow was to not drink wine or anything that was of the vine – even grape Juice

A)The Purpose of this Vow was for PROTECTION

B) Was there something wrong w/ drinking wine ? Not Necessarily but the Lord Knows that it can lead to other things that are not good.

1)   Alcohol is a false Stimulant – that can impair our judgment or perception of things


C) Wine was in there culture as it still is in our Culture a Symbol of earthly Joy & Social Enjoyment { Associated w/ Amusement

1)   It was a part of all of their celebrations / sporting events / just as it is in our day.


D) But wine was a stimulant that was used to enhance amusement / and to bring  a false sense of Joy / relaxation

1)   Some people drink to help them cope w/ Problems or to forget them for a while / Some drink to deal w/ stress { It was no different in their day


D) We all know that Alcohol can cause Intoxication / and it can be addicting

1)   Those who frequent the use of alcohol often end up saying or doing things that they regret


So VOW to stay away from Wine  – was to avoid that which had the potential to have a defiling influence upon their lives

A)I think the application for us Who are called by the Lord to be Holy  is clear


B) Stay away from those things that bring about an artificial Stimulation / that can lead to External Intoxication

1)   And that can have a DEFILING INFLUENCE upon our Lives


C) So am I suggesting that a Person who desires to be closer to the Lord Shouldn’t Drink Alcohol – Well what does the Bible Say ?

  1) The Bible says  - Don’t be drunk w/ Wine ….  Not a Sin to drink – but it is a Sin to get Drunk –


D) But here is the thing – I have a lot better Chance of not getting drunk if I am not Drinking

Prov. 31:4 -5  It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:  Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.


Isa. 28:7   But they also have erred through wine, and    through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through    strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in         judgment.



A)It is not just an issue of impaired Judgment or Violence


B) The reason goes a lot deeper than that. You see the Lord wants to be our source of Joy – Doesn’t wants us seeking after False sense of Joy

1)   The Lord wants to stimulate our Hearts 


C) He wants to be the one who quiets our hearts & helps us relax – READ YOUR BIBLE -  don’t drink – { My Dad – Tony you don’t need this ….

1)   See when we look to something else to hold that place / help us relax / bring Joy – whatever – we limit the Lord


D) Well Jesus drank – great follow his example – Millennium -


So this can apply to the Use of Alcohol –but I think the Application for us is Broader

A)We live at a time in the History of the world - & definitely the history of the Church that is very Unique


B) One aspect of that Uniqueness is that we are a Society that is so focused on external Amusements – { Spend Billions on Entertainment


C) We place a great deal of emphasis on trying to find ways to amuse ourselves / Stimulate & Excite our Senses !!!

1)   We do it thru Hobbies / Recreational activities / Places we go / Amusement Parks / Vacation Spots / Extreme Sports – Bungi Jumping

Now some Christians would ask – what’s the Problem w/ having some amusement & Recreation in our Lives – We are not called to be monks

A)That is true in fact Jesus put it this way in JN 17 – We are to be in the world but not of the world


B) The Christian is not to be holed up in some Monetary – We are not to isolate ourselves into our own little Christian Community

 1) Jesus didn’t do that – He got out there & rubbed shoulders w/ people.


C) What Jesus meant was that we are to live in this Culture / be involved in our Society

1)   but we are to have a whole different mindset concerning what is important and what is of Value to us


D) There is nothing wrong w/ amusement or recreation { Paul seemed to really be into the sporting games { athletic analogies

1)   But here is what is wrong –Here is what we need to Watch 


The average person in the world lives for the weekend – everything in their lives revolves around getting to recreate / & Amuse themselves

A)What are they going to do / where are they going to go / How spend money


B) So much of their lives revolves around new ways to find Amusement

1) That is what we need to avoid – Falling into that trap that mindset where our priorities are focused on External Pleasure & Pursuits


Earthbound BELIEVERS live the most important segments of their lives only in the context of this world. Their expectations dreams hopes & plans all relate to what they can acquire & Experience Now


C) In other words Their Existence starts to be in what they can amass Instead of who they are in Christ 



Stowel continues Earthbound believers

We see our Careers as Platforms for our own Significance & Security not as a means to advance the Kingdom of Christ or as a Platform upon which the Values of the King can be seen !! We are Content to Sing about Heaven & to hear sermons about the authority of Christ & the values of His Kingdom but we fail to live here in light of there .And when it is all said & done we look back upon our lives and see that we have poured into the Bottomless bucket of this world & the Bucket is still empty


We can get so easily distracted with things

A)All things are Lawful but all things are not Expedient – Profitable helpful


B) Need to ask – what is this going to do for the Kingdom – How is this going to help me personally – in my walk – Helpful affect { Negative

1)   If married – what affect will it have on my family – golf


C) The Question isn’t are we to be MONKS – the question is do we want to be Nazarites – Is it our hearts desire to be set apart to the Lord

1)   Is it our hearts desire to walk in Holiness


D) Do we really believe that we are living in the last days & if so are our hearts set upon God and his work


May God give us the grace to discern these things for our own lives and to watch against any defiling influence

A)See each of us needs to be aware of those things in our lives that would be to us as strong drink – Intoxicating


B) Good friend of mine and his wife decided long ago that they were not going to have TV – wasn’t that they were against it

1) Wasn’t that they thought they were Holier than others – but it was because they knew it could be a weak spot for them – Intoxicating


C) Easy to just Veg for Hrs – Easy to waste a lot of time in front of that thing

  1) Reason we don’t have Cable – Sports nut – Sports center all day - CNN

Now you might think that I am being  Petty – But listen nothing is Petty that Robs us of our Intimacy with God.

A)Nothing is Petty that keeps us from enjoying close fellowship w/ God or causes us to not get as close to the Lord as we could


B) I want to weigh everything thru that filter – how is this going to affect my relationship w/ the Lord

1)   If it is going to hurt my relationship with the Lord – or negatively affect my family in any way I want no part of it !!!!


C) Now it is Interesting when a person would take this Vow – the Lord said Just so you don’t get tempted stay away from anything that would resemble .


D)Grape Juice  / seed / skins – stay away from anything that would resemble strong drink - TEMPTATION

1) Why say that ?  He knows our tendency to want to get right to the edge –


Young people / Singles want to know – How far is too far ? Wrong Question – How can we be holy

A)I know Premarital Sex is out of the question – but What can we do ? Again Wrong question – How do can we keep this relationship Pure


B) Not going to Drink – but Virgin Dacuries / Near beer –

1)   Easier for that person to give into the temptation – than the person who  isn’t doing that – Not missing or craving


C) So first Vow – application for us - avoid those things that could end up having a Defiling affect upon you!!!- PROTECTION


2nd Vow was for IDENTIFICATION

A)Long hair was a mark of your consecration to the Lord


B) It was not popular for a man to have long hair in that culture-

1)   1 Cor 11:14 – Paul states that in that culture for a man to wear long hair was a sign of Dishonor or Absence of Dignity

C) So when a person was taking the Nazarite Vow – they were stating that they were willing to lay aside their personal Honor & Dignity for the Lord


D) Everyone could EXTERNALLY see that there was an INTERNAL consecration – There goes a Nazarite

1)   Set apart to the Lord for the Lord – for the cause of the Lord


Application for us in this is that we learn that if we are ones who really desire to live a life of separation for the Lord

A)We must be prepared to surrender our own personal dignity & honor at times


B) In other words we need to be willing to be marked People – People who are not afraid to go against the grain – Swim against the tide

1)   People who are not afraid to let others Know – YOU BELONG TO GOD


C) Shadrach / Meshach / Abendego – Stood & didn’t bow – even though it meant their lives were at stake

1)   There are those who are bowing to the Pressure of man to compromise and to fit in – with a lot less at stake


D) Missed promotion / lost Job – who cares God will provide another Job – He will Honor you for willing to be dishonored for Him


E) Are you a marked man / marked woman ? Seen by the way that you live and Act !!! – Decisions – T- shirts / Bible


Jesus our Example – He made himself of No Reputation – He surrendered His rights in everything – Lived w/ one Goal – Please father

A)Our natural tendency is to protect our dignity / to be concerned about self Image / How others view us


B) We want to be liked – we want to fit in – We want to please people   1) But we can never Please people at the expense of Not Pleasing God

C) Fear of Man is Snare / Fear of the Lord beg of Wisdom / fear of the Lord prolongs our days / Provides strong Confidence

1)   Fountain of Life / Leads to life / By it a man avoids evil


Prov.23:17 17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,

     But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day;


In the 3rd aspect of the Vow – they were not to touch dead bodies It was a Vow of SEPARATION

A)Ok might be thinking – no problem there – No desire to hang out in cemeteries / or play with Cadavers


B) Although the Lord was literally talking about dead people or animals here the Spiritual application is Significant

1)    But when the OT talks about – Dead things – it is always symbolic of those who do not have a relationship w/ God


C) Dead in their sins – Dead spiritually – Separated from God


So the Application to us against touching Dead things – Apply to not be Unequally Yoked together w/ Unbelievers

A)Dating relationships – One direction you are going another


B) BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS &  relationships –


C) Dead things of this world –


Time magazine reported (1/22/95) that the earthquake in Kobe, Japan, occurred when two plates on a fault line fifteen miles offshore suddenly shifted against each other, violently lurching six to ten feet in opposite directions. The result was the worst Japanese earthquake since 1923. Thousands died. More than 46,000 buildings lay in ruins. One-fifth of the city's population was left instantly homeless.


The destruction unleashed by those two tectonic plates depicts what happens when a Christian bonds unequally with a non-Christian.

A)Two people committed to each other but going in different directions can only lead to trouble.


B) Flesh is weak – Pull us apart -


So to put it simply the Application for us in looking at the Nazarite Vow A)Note – issue isn’t SALVATION – BUT  if I want to live a totally devoted life { Want to be Closer to the Lord { In service for the Lord


B) I am not going to be influenced by those who are dead – or dead things –


C) I am going to stay away from things that are going to cause me to struggle in my walk – things that have the Potential of being addicting

1) Potential to have a Defiling affect upon me


D) And I am going to make a stand for the Lord and not be afraid to go on record as being a Believer – Identified w/ Christ – Shirt / Bible / witness


A Haitian pastor told this story to his congregation to illustrate the need for total commitment to Christ. His parable:

A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn't afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: he would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door.

After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So first the owner went out found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.


The Haitian pastor's conclusion: "If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ's habitation."

Samson’s Problem – Played around w/ his Vow

A)Dead things – He attracted to the Philistine woman


B) Carcass –


C) Drink –


D) Hair –


Problem  was there was no immediate consequences to Samson’s compromises so he took it lightly

A) CH. 16 V. 20 is one of the Saddest Verses in all of the Bible !!!


20  And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" So he awoke from his sleep, and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!" But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.


B) Saddest Picture this great warrior wandering out to conquer the enemy like he has so many times in the past – not realizing he is now alone

1)   his strength & power are gone – because the Lord was no longer w/ him -  SOBERING PICTURE


C) The Results of Compromise are clearly seen in the Next verse


V.21  Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, BLIND YOU  and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him BIND YOU with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison.  GRIND YOU


D) What a pathetic sight Samson had become – so sad – Blind/ eyes poked out / bound – chained to a mill stone /  Grinding like an ANIMAL


E)  We learn from Samson that God’s Nazarites must keep themselves pure or Lose their Power. In their case Power & Purity are Inseparable


It is a dangerous thing when we don’t see our sin the way the Lord does

A)People think in terms of If my wife ever found out it would devastate her / or this would ruin our family


B) That is good motivation for living Godly avoiding sin – but there is better


C) Another is how it could ruin your ministry – devastate others

1)   Good Motivation – but still not the best – because we wrestle w/ self


D)We like to please ourselves – Find $5.00 1st thought – kids rite aid for ice cream { Wife to Starbucks – { Cool buy myself a Double Double



Best Motivation is Fear of God{ Reverence for God  

A)Jesus on Cross – My God …… forsaken me / God’s hatred of sin turned back on His Son


B) Need to mediate more deeply on the Cross of Christ –


May we have a far deeper sense of hatredness for sin. May we STEADLY watch against the bare movement of the eye in a wrong direction for we may rest assured that the heart will follow the eye and the feet will follow the heart and thus we will get away from the Lord. We will lose that sense of the Lord’s Presence being with us



C) The rest of this section v.9-21 lay out – what a person was to do if they unintentionally broke this Vow – i.e. contact w/ a dead body

1)   Need for Confession – Sin offering / Need for a Substitute Burnt offering


D) Need to Start over – again

     1) Abe – back to Bethel