Focal Passage: Numbers 6:1-15
If you saw someone who was committed to total abstinence from alcohol, who carefully kept their distance from dead bodies, and who had long, possibly unkempt hair, your first thought wouldn’t probably be, “Wow! Now there is a person really dedicated to serving God!” However, as Numbers 6 shows us, that is precisely what people in Israel would have thought if they saw someone living out their Nazarite vow. So, what does an Old Testament text like this teach us about living for God today?
In God’s grand plan of redemption, after man fell, God set aside a people for Himself.
In so doing, He demonstrated both the demands of His holiness – as seen in the Law – and the incredible extent of His grace, mercy and love. God’s intent in setting aside such a people was not just to bless the nation of Israel, but rather to bless all the nations of the earth through the Savior He would send.
Today, all who have repented and believed the gospel have been set aside by God for the purpose of loving, obeying and glorifying Him.
Though believers can certainly set aside certain periods of time for intense spiritual devotion – by means of disciplines such as fasting and solitude, for instance – the normal pattern for all of God’s people is constant, Spirit-guided surrender and obedience to the God who is not just “near” us, but who lives “in” us. And every aspect of our lives – whether we are eating, drinking, or doing anything else – is to be for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31).
Rather than giving us outward physical signs of our devotion to Him, God works to bring about spiritual fruit in our lives that ushers forth in surrendered service. So, God works into our lives things like peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
As a result, we love our enemies, forgive those who sin against us, and help those in need. As we live this way as salt and light, people see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.