If you haven’t read my previous post on Nazarite Values, I encourage you to as it gives context to this next post.
When I use the word ‘Nazarite’, I’m not suggesting we resurrect the Old Testament Nazarites in the same form and outworking, and take the vows as they did. I use the concept in a similar way that we might describe a ‘Deborah Company’ or ‘Samuel Company’. The values and commitment embodied in the Nazarite vows are something we can voluntarily give ourselves to pursuing in Christ. The bible has many references to consecration and setting ourselves apart for a purpose. The Nazarite lens simply gives us a frame of reference to apply these truths to our lives.
There were those who took the Nazarite vows by choice for a temporary period (usually 30 days), and those who had a life-long call as a Nazarite. Those with this long-long call give us a clearer picture of what Nazarites were called to do. As far as I can tell, there are only 3 life-long Nazarites recorded in the bible:
- Samson – born to the wife of Manoah. Samson eventually delivered Israel from the Philistines, although I believe because of his lack of consecration he did not finish the task, but Samuel did (Samuel 7:3-14).
- “…Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” (see Judges 13:1-5)
- Samuel – born to Hannah. Samuel was a Prophet, and raised up the ‘school of prophets’.
- “And she made a vow, pleading, “O LORD of Hosts, if only You will look upon the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, not forgetting Your maidservant but giving her a son, then I will dedicate him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall ever come over his head.” (1 Samuel 1:11)
- John the Baptist – born to Elizabeth, prepared the way for Jesus, and I believe the most clearest picture of Nazarite purpose.
- “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)
All their mothers were barren, and these men were set apart as Nazarites before their birth. Where there was no life in the womb, the place that is set apart by design for fruitfulness, these Nazarite ones came forth into that place.
Elijah was also likely a Nazarite, as in 2 Kings 1:8 it says he was a ‘hairy’ man. The word for ‘hairy’ is the same Hebrew word used in Numbers 6 (the Nazarite passage). There is no record of his parents, and he might have only been a Nazarite for a season, not for life. Scripture doesn’t make this clear.
So there is a powerful picture here with these three Nazarite men that the separation was unto a purpose – to bring life and fruitfulness to barren places. I believe that now we can choose to set ourselves apart, make space for the Lord, and lay aside our legitimate appetites in favour of being filled by God for a purpose. Where there is spiritual barrenness around us, we can be vessels that the Lord brings fruitfulness through. Consecration is not a common subject in a modern Christian culture. However, scripture is clear that one who pursues purity of heart is a vessel for the Lord to pour into. Consecration is the act of laying down our own desires and pursuits, in favour of seeking the Lord, His heart, and His purposes.
The first mention of a Nazarite vow was Joseph (son of Jacob and Rachel – Rachel had also been barren before Joseph’s birth and had cried out to God for a son). Genesis 49:22 says of Joseph, “Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall.”
Before Jacob died, he blessed his sons and said of Joseph, “The blessings of your father Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.” (Gen. 49:26) The word used for separate here is ‘nazar’ which is the same word used in Numbers 6. There is also reference in Deuteronomy 33:16b: “May the hair grow thick on the head of Joseph, on the brow of the consecrated [nazir] one among his brothers!”
I believe this was a prophetic foretelling of what was to come later in Numbers 6 when the vows were clearly laid out under the Mosaic Covenant.
Again we see this purpose to restore fruitfulness in barren places. But more than this – Nazarites were prepared before the crisis arrived. They arose at the point of spiritual crisis, and they were used by God to be deliverers.
Let’s look at some of the Nazarites to see this principle:
- Joseph arose before the famine came, and prepared the way before Moses came and delivered the people out of Egypt. He prepared the way for the restoration of God’s purpose.
- Samson arose when the Philistines were ruling over Israel, and delivered the Israelites from 40 years of Philistine rule. (Judges 13:1)
- Samuel arose when Eli the High Priest’s sons were wicked, and the word of the Lord was rare and visions were scarce (1 Sam 1:3). He prepared the way for restoration, and the dynasty of kings to come.
- Elijah arose when Ahab ruled, who was the most wicked all the kings (1 Kings 16:30). He was a prophet who challenged the moral decay of his time, and prepared the way for the end of Baal worship in the land.
- Nazarites in the Book of Amos were ones that the Lord raised up in a time of great moral decay and spiritual barrenness. They received the voice of God to be vessels that would turn a nation. “And I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites. Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?” declares the LORD.” (Amos 2:11)
- John the Baptist was a prophetic forerunner, preaching repentance, and awakened a dead generation. He did no signs and wonders, yet Jesus called Him the greatest man who had ever lived. He prepared the way for Jesus (Luke 1:17), and for the ‘new wine’ that was to come.
NAZARITES IN OUR GENERATION
I believe in setting ourselves apart as fresh wineskins, willing vessels that are committed to the Nazarite values of hunger, purity and holiness, we can see the new wine come. The Lord is looking for those who will truly consecrate their lives, and set their hearts towards the higher purpose that God has for our generation. In a time where spiritual darkness is rising in the earth, He is preparing and raising up a company of Nazarites who will be voices of deliverance that will turn the tide and prepare the way for the return of Jesus.
Thanks for reading!
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:5-7)