It is no secret that “a holy nation” has been the desire of God since ancient times. From Exodus to 1 Peter, we see-
…you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9
So it really didn’t surprise me in my study of Numbers, to find that the 6th and final topic “the Lord spoke to Moses” in the wilderness about was holiness.
Holiness, is the the 6th time “the Lord spoke”… do you remember the other five?
- Fathers Numbers 1
- Standards Numbers 2
- Guarding Numbers 3
- Carrying Numbers 4
- Cleansing Numbers 5
- Holiness Numbers 6
Let’s begin by establishing the difference between cleansing and holiness. ( 5 & 6) Cleansing is the removal of dirt. Holiness is to not play in or near the dirt. Cleansing is a repeated act as needed. Holiness calls for intentional separation.
God is more than faithful to forgive and cleanse our sin, yet His heart longs for a people, a nation if you will, who choose to separate themselves to Him in holiness. Because He is holy. Leviticus 11:44-45;19:2; 20:26; 20:7; 21:8; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Deuteronomy 23:14
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow of a Nazarite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink… All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head… he shall not go near a dead body. All the days of his separation, he is holy to the Lord.”Numbers 6:1-8 ESV
In His quest for a holy nation, there is a opportunity given to any man or woman to voluntarily submit themselves to the “Vow of the Nazarite”. The length of this vow was up to the individual, but what it involved was specifically outlined in Numbers 6 :
- The individual was to separate themself to the Lord
- The individual was to separate from wine & grape products
- The individual was to separate by not cutting their hair
- The individual was to separate from dead bodies
There are two separations to holiness revealed here and they both still apply.
- Separate to the Lord – motivated by an inner call to holiness and devotion to the Lord, these men and women set themselves apart FOR THE LORD. “They choose to distinguish themselves, by going beyond their own power and become extraordinary with wonderful acts in judgment and redemption. They choose to do a difficult thing by the surpassing power of God”. (This sentence uses the full Hebrew word meanings)
- Separate from – this second separation involved holding off or abstaining from certain things. They were:
- wine & vine products = represents the inner strength to stand against social pressures
- not cutting hair = hair, a symbol of intimacy and covering of the Lord. A growing reminder of one’s time spent with God. Intimacy with Him. Relationship with Him.
- dead bodies = represents purity and the desire to be free from contamimation that comes from dead works and things
These Old Testament men and women voluntarily choose to be separated to the Lord in a visible and marked way. Their vows were public and respected by the community. Their choices fulfilled their holy vow, and their length of separation was entirely up to them. This was a personal decision with national consequences.
So too, is the choice we have. It is a willing choice we make, to walk in holiness.
Do we choose to stand against social pressures? Is our intimate relationship with Him growing, uncut and unhindered? Is our lifestyle one of purity, free of contaminating dead works?
Paul echos these questions as he writes to the believers in Corinth. He calls out these mismatched alliances – 1 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 TPT
- righteousness verses rebellion
- light verses darkness
- Christ verses satan
- believer verses unbeliever
- God’s temple verses demons
He calls believers to stand out in society and be separate, the exact same call to the Numbers 6, Nazarite vow volunteers.
He even uses the same words when he exhorts them to ” touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you…”
1 Coringthians 6:17 ESV
In these days, is there a distinction on those who have allied themselves with a life of separation to the Lord. There should be! Not only not touching unclean things, (cleansing), but voluntarily signing up to live a life separated to Him and abstaing from worldly contaminates. (holiness)
Where are those who will accept the invitation to share in His holiness. Hebrews 12:10 And run swiftly toward holiness. Hebrews 12:14 Those who will come closer to God with an open heart, fully convinced nothing will keep them at a distance from Him. Hebrews 10:22
Will you join the ranks of Sampson, Samuel, John the Baptist, and even the Apostle Paul in the Nazarite vow of dedication to the Lord? He’s not looking for Nazarites, He is looking for holiness, those who will separate themselves to Him. Those who will abandon everything morally impure. James 1:22
You decide. This is a personal, decision. But remember, it has national consequences.
I believe holiness will retore a conscience to society. Holiness will restore a moral conscience to our decadent culture. Holiness will restore the presence of God to our nation, because that is where He lives, in holiness.
May millions arise who will join with saints of old in not only cleansing ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, but also in bringing holiness to completion in the fear of the Lord. 1Corinthians 7:1 ESV
May you and I be a part of an emerging holy nation revolution, a counter culture that carries God’s manifest presence. I can think of nothing more exciting or challenging, but I’m in.
Sign me up!