Numbers 6, Psalm 40-41, Song of Solomon 4, Hebrews 4

Numbers 6:1-21

The LORD provided a way for the people of Israel to display their willingness to separate themselves to Him publicly.  The Nazirite vow was a promise to consecrate one's life to God for a set period.  The vows were usually 30, 60 or 100 days.  Numbers 6 describes the requirements the LORD gave to fulfill this time of dedication. 

There were those set apart as Nazirites for life.  Samson is the most recognizable (Judges 13-16).  Judges 13:4-5 give the details of Samson being a Nazirite.  Scripture indicates Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:15) were also Nazirites for life.  Interestingly, each of the three men's parents set them apart with a vow before the child was born.  An angel instructed both Samson's and John's parents to dedicate their son for this purpose.  

The Nazirite vow was usually a grateful response to the blessing of the LORD.  One would set themselves apart from the ordinary flow of life to praise God for His blessing.  In Deuteronomy 33:16, Moses uniquely blesses Joseph by referring to him as a "prince among his brother."  The word "prince" is the same Hebrew word for Nazirite.  It seems Moses described Joseph in this way because his separation from his brothers was a blessing since he became the savior of his family. 

In describing the extent to which the Israelites had turned from God, Amos explains their treatment of the Nazirites.  Amos 2:11-12 says "And I raised up some of your sons for prophets, and some of your young men for Nazirites... But you made the Nazirites drink wine". 

Paul's vow mentioned in Acts 18:18, and the one in 21:23-24 are quite likely Nazarite vows.  

Holy Father, You are the One who sets Your children apart in Christ Jesus.  Lord Jesus, in You I have righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  In You, I am set apart for my God.  May Your brothers and sisters live, without taking a Nazirite vow, like Nazirites acknowledging their many blessings.

Hebrews 4:11-16

Using the Israelites who were delivered from Egypt as an example of failure, Hebrews 3 and 4 warns of the possibility of missing God's rest.  The writer of Hebrews stipulates they received the good news but failed to receive it by faith.  Hebrews 4:11 says we should strive to enter God's rest, so as not to fail like the Israelites.  

For years, I found Hebrews verse 12 unexpected within the context of these two chapters.  Why does the writer change subjects so quickly?  I was just figuring out the issue of God's rest and my desperate need of it when the discussion turns to the Bible.  Why?

Fortunately, the Helper is patient with those of us who are slow but persistent.  Of course, the Israelites heard God's instruction.  Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, (books we will read for four months) are the specific details of God's law.  They never accepted it—they were unwilling to obey. 

Finally, it made perfect sense why the writer of Hebrews went directly to the Bible in this context.  What better source could I have to learn what it meant to enter His rest and how not to miss it?  His word is alive and powerful.  He will use His word to dissect me, even my thoughts and desires.  Since nothing I do is hidden from Him, He will use His word to show me myself.  The Bible is perfect to teach what is true and thereby reveal what is wrong with me.  His instruction corrects and equips me to live this life of rest in Him.  I will one day give an account, just like those Israelites who died in the wilderness.  I need to prepare myself with His sharp sword.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, Great High Priest, You know my constant need of your grace.  Thank You for sympathizing with my weakness.  You understand my temptation.  I will draw near to Your throne to receive grace and mercy.  Thank You for the Bible to direct me to You and Your rest.