What is a Nazirite?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 30, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

What is a Nazirite? Isn’t that something from the Old Testament? Why is that something we should care about today? Read on and find out.

Yes, a Nazirite is something that comes out of the Old Testament. It’s part of the law that God gave to the people of Israel as recorded in the book of Numbers, specifically Numbers 6:1-21. To summarize that passage for you, being a Nazirite was a vow that a person would take. This vow would involve 3 things:
1. No wine or strong drink
2. No cutting your hair
3. No contact with anything dead

The vow of being a Nazirite could last any amount of time, either a set period or for a person’s entire life. We see 3 people in Scripture who had the Nazirite vow for life: Samson (Judges 13:4-5), Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11), John the Baptist (Luke 1:15). If you look at the context of each of those passages, the instructions for the Nazirite vow were given to the mothers before their sons were even born. We also see the apostle Paul taking a Nazirite vow for a time during his ministry in Corinth (Acts 18:18), and another time later on (Acts 21:23-26). Generally, the vow would last anywhere from 30-100 days.

When a Nazirite vow would be ended (for anyone taking it on a temporary basis), the former Nazirite would have to go to the temple to make some sacrifices - a male lamb less than a year old, a female lamb less than a year old, and a ram. These animals would be sacrificed by the priest, and the Nazirite would now be allowed to cut his hair and throw it into the fire.

Why am I writing about the Nazirite vow? Next week we’ll be getting into the story of Samson, and this Nazirite vow plays a key role throughout Samson’s life.

But why is this important for us today? One primary purpose of the Nazirite vow is to show worship of and complete allegiance to God. This is similar to how today people will refrain from certain activities (drinking, wild partying, dancing in some Christian denominations, etc). They don’t necessarily refrain from those things because they don’t like them; instead they refrain to honor God and as a way to worship Him with their lives. The Nazirite vow is just one way to deny the desires of our human nature to follow God more fully. This vow would also cause the Nazirite to stand out physically from the other people, since they wouldn’t cut their hair.

I’m not saying that we all need to become Nazirites today, but what are you doing to honor God with your life? Do you deny yourself from things you desire, so that you can follow God better? Are there certain things about your appearance or the way you live your life that show people your life is fully devoted to God? Think about what you might do to honor God with your life more fully.

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