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The Nazirite vow described in Numbers 6 is an interesting one. People as diverse as Samson, Samuel, and Paul were under this vow at one point (both Samson’s and Samuel’s parents placed them under this vow for life).


The vow was one of separation—Nazirite means “one separated”—for the purpose of drawing closer to the Lord. It didn’t make the person sinless (6:14 mentions a sin offering at the end of the vow), nor did it glorify the person making the vow (see 1 Corinthians 11:14 — in Jewish thought, long hair was a disgrace). But like a spiritual mirror, the vow allowed the person who lived under it to recognize their continual need for the Lord. 


As someone from a more traditional Christian background, I’ve had mixed feelings about “giving things up” for Lent. So much of the season involved minor inconveniences and inflated egos. But this vow in Numbers helps put the goal of such sacrifices back in focus: a humble reliance on God as the one who justifies us and lifts us up at the proper time.

Posted by Erik Brommers with