The vow of the Nazirite is one separated and dedicated to the Lord. This vow was voluntary and was for the time specified by the individual. But the usual time period was one year. To me, to do anything for a year, or even 6 months, takes determination. You have to be truly committed to your cause, and wake up every morning more determined than yesterday. This would be easier if you were in solitude, without distractions, but scriptures tells us that people were close enough to fall dead and touch you, and negate your vow and cause you to start over. So there were things all around to distract , and to cause one to look away from God, if you weren’t very committed to God. It takes a person of fortitude, a person looking to hear from God, and obey what they hear Him say. It requires a strong will and a strong love for God to want to do the things God asks of you to do, and to overcome the things he asks you to give up.
He shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried grapes. All the time of his separation he shall not eat anything produced from the grapevine, from the seeds even to the skins. All the time of the vow of his separation no razor shall be used on his head. Until the time of his separation to the Lord is completed, he shall be holy, and shall let the hair of his head grow long. All the time that he separates himself to the Lord he shall not go near a dead body. He shall not make himself (ceremonially) unclean for his father, mother, brother, or sister, when they die, because (the responsibility for) his separation to God is on his head. All the time of his separation he is holy to the Lord. (Numbers 6:3-8 AMP)
This is not something to take lightly. If you vow to God, your heart better be in it for the duration. Holiness is sacred.
As a result of being set apart for God, you will find there are blessings because of it.
But God you are Holy, O You who are enthroned in (the Holy place where) the praises of Israel (are offered). In You our fathers trusted (leaned on, relied on, and were confident); They trusted and You rescued them. They cried out to You and were delivered; They trusted in You and were not disappointed or ashamed. (Psalms 22:3-5 AMP)
Not saying I am a Nazirite, but I am a Christian, and I am called to be separate from the world, and devoted to God. But in the midst of the devotion, sometimes I can mess up stuff in my life. I have good intentions. But things don’t always go as planned. So, when I am crying out to God, and feel that God is distant, I can know I am not alone.
My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me and from the words of my groaning? O my God I call out by day, but You do not answer; And by night but I find no rest nor quiet. (Psalms 22:1-2 AMP)
It is good to remind myself over and over of God’s faithfulness and God’s love for me. Just as David did. I seems when I take my thoughts off my problems and start praising and worshiping God for who He is, that I get a fresh perspective and sometimes even peace in the midst of my turmoil. Faith in God’s love and God’s faithfulness trumps over anything I may be feeling about Him in the moment, especially if it is wrong. God will never leave me or forsake me, ever! Not for any reason! I just need to change my perspective and my thinking to line up with God and His character. I need to trust in God’s timing for me. I need to use patience, and not jump to conclusions that God has forsaken me.
And it is not just every day, ordinary people, like me, who can struggle with what God is planning to do. Sometimes the real “spiritual” people can struggle with things too. Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement about Mark and whether to bring him along. Paul was speaking objectively because they took him once and he abandoned them. Barnabas was speaking out of love for his cousin, thinking every one should have a second chance. Like him, I tend to defend those I know closely, even if what they did was not right, somehow, I justify why they are like they are, in my mind.
Encouragement strengthens the believer, and it can bring comfort and rejoicing to those who receive it. Somewhere along the line, I seem to remember that Barnabas meant encouragement. Barnabas was being Barnabas; he couldn’t help it. It was how God made him. But nevertheless, it created two teams and covered more territory than Paul and Barnabas could have done on their own. Not every disagreement is bad, sometimes it can force us to take a new and better path.
After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers and sisters (believers) in every city where we preached the message of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas wanted to take (his cousin) John, who was called Mark, along with them. But Paul kept insisting that they should not take along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. And it became a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took (John) Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas (who was again in Antioch) and set out (on his second journey) commended by the brothers to the grace and favor of the Lord. and he traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (Acts 15: 36-41 AMP)
And so, in the spirit of Barnabas, to encourage and strengthen all who are reading this, I pray:
The Lord bless you, and keep you (protect you, sustain you, and guard you);
The Lord make His face shine upon you (with favor);
And be gracious to you (surrounding you with lovingkindness);
The Lord lift up His countenance (face) upon you (with divine approval);
And give you peace (a tranquil heart and life).
(Numbers 6:24-26 AMP)