This vow is NOT for everyone! It is a strict covenant between a specific person and God. And God calls for specific requirements of anyone making it.
I have heard some postulate that Jesus made a Nazirite vow but this is impossible. He would have broken that vow MULTIPLE times over in His walk on the earth. He came into direct contact with multiple dead people and never had to stop His ministry in its tracks and start over. He drank wine when He visited several different people when invited to dine at their homes. He even served wine during the last supper. He stated that He would “not taste again” the fruit of the vine until He tasted it in His Father’s house. This means He had tasted it before that event and at that event. Jesus’ life was separated to the Lord but not in this form.
It is possible John the Baptist made such a vow. We are told he existed on locust and wild honey. We never hear of him partaking of any wine or grape product. And his dress style was considered wild. We are not told that he made this form of vow but it is possible. He was set aside by God from the beginning. He may have felt this was his way of recognizing that separation. I would not be surprised to find out that his vow began when he entered the desert and ended at his death.
Apart from my musings about John’s life, the Nazirite vow was a specific term vow. It had a timeframe for its commitment. It was not a lifelong vow. There was a beginning and an ending. That ending had specific requirements that had to be met in the form of a prescribed sacrifice. The person completing the vow didn’t have options “if they were poor.” There was ONE set of rules to be completed by all who took this vow.
Something I found very interesting was God’s instructions for “if a man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his consecrated head” (verse 9a). First I have a question about this verse. Is the Nazirite “defiling his consecrated head” by simply being in the presence of the dead person or does he have to do some other act too to cause him defilement? He had no control over the man dropping dead in his presence so does God hold THAT act as a defiling act? Is it possible for him to RUN away from such an event and still remain clean? It just seems harsh to make him start over for an act he had no control over because being defiled does just that; makes him start over from the beginning.
This promise to the Lord must be of MASSIVE importance to the one who makes the vow. There are many facets that are involved in living up to that vow. It is not one to take lightly or enter into on a whim. You need to be certain you are willing to make ALL the sacrifices required in such a promise.
I’m curious about the “separation unto the Lord” too. What does that look like? Is it different for each person? Does it mean cutting yourself off from others completely or simply dedicating your vow time in service to God?
God ends His instructions with addressing vows made above and beyond what is called for. Here He says that IF the man is able to carry out that part he needs to do so but God doesn’t hold him to that promise like He does the original vow. I have a feeling that a lot of things in the person’s life changes over the span of his vow and he may not be in the same position he was when he first made the promise. But I would bet that someone who actually keeps this vow would feel just as bound by their additional promises.
Father God, I am WEAK next to these men and women! I have a hard time living up to all the promises I make as it is. I can’t imagine putting so much on hold to complete such a promise. I would like to say that I would be willing to enter into such a vow but I know myself too well. Thank You for never asking me to do so too! The shaving of the hair would be nothing compared to the disappointment I would feel every time I failed and had to start again.
Even with this extreme vow and lifestyle required there is still sin. If not then they would not have needed to offer a sin offering afterwards. Thank You for Your hands holding up the ones You called to this lifestyle but even that couldn’t save them. Only faith in You and Your Son Jesus Christ can do that work. THANK YOU that one is not contingent upon completion of the other. Thank You for grace and mercy which this kind of vow didn’t have room for.
Help me with the little promises I make to You. I want to be faithful in those. That is where I want to focus my attention. Not on a huge long term commitment that I would be forever starting again with “Day 1.” I would be in a perpetual game of “Chutes and Ladders!” I’ll take the slow and steady progress path You have me on instead. There are some “fallback” experiences but I never have to start at square one again.