This week’s Haftarah portion is Judges 13:2-25. Listen in as Dr. Jeffery Myers discusses the beauty embedded in the Nazirite vow.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftarah:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftarah Portion – Judges 13:2-25
The Nazarite vow is a special vow. In Hebrew “Nazarite” has a base meaning of “separation”. It’s an extraordinary vow that should not be taken lightly. It is not easy to do, it is not a vow of terror or weakness, but of strength. The same consonants within this word makes up the word for “crown” or “diadem”, as in the dress of the High Priest, which marked him out as separate from the other priests, and sanctified to Adonai. This very serious vow requires you to count the cost before you take it. The taking of this vow is motivated by a heart-felt need to express a specific or heightened dedication to the L-rd. We see many people in the Bible who have taken a Nazarite vow; Samson, Samuel, followers of Yeshua, and Paul just to name a few.
What was involved in a Nazarite vow? It is a vow where one abstains from eating or drinking anything which came from the vine, abstain from touching any corpse, and not cutting the hair on your head. The Nazarite vow allowed the common Israelite to participate in a sanctification unto Yah that was expected of the High Priest. The rigid life of the Nazarite, abstaining from anything which came from the vine (a symbol of joy), separating himself from any corpse defilement (the normal cycle of life), and letting his hair grow (marking him as different from everyone else) is not a vow of self-abasement, or self-denial in order to afflict one’s soul. Rather, the Nazarite vow made visible the inner desire to identify with the redemptive act of sacrifice before Adonai.
In Judges 13:5 it records that Samson was to lead a life with a Nazarite vow. He was separated and set apart unto Adonai, and was to be dedicated to Adonai and His work and purpose. The whole matter of one’s dedication to HaShem is well worth our contemplation.
How dedicated are we to Him? In what ways do we commit ourselves to Him, giving our lives entirely for His service? Are we willing to refrain from the vine, symbolizing one’s willingness to forego the joys of this life for the sake of the Master? Can we, will we lay down our lives at any cost? Our dedication involves our willingness to give up that which is good for the priority of that to which he is called. Just because something is good doesn’t mean it should be our priority.
In our service to Yah, we give up that which is our right, and even our joy, in order to accomplish the calling and purpose we have been given. Sometimes this shows up in relationships with others. As parents, we regularly give up that which is rightfully ours in order to bless our children, or grandchildren and the same with our spouses. At the heart of what we call love is the willingness to relinquish things that would give us joy so that the one we love might be joyful… it’s called sacrifice!
If we are truly fully dedicated to HaShem it will not be hidden within one’s heart or soul but will certainly be seen in one’s life--it would be evident to all! The Nazarite vow teaches us that genuine dedication to HaShem is a life-changing event. It is a genuine dedication to serve Adonai first and foremost- a dedication that tempers our lives in holiness unto Him. This dedication affects all aspects of life, and will draw others to see Him in the life of the one dedicated to His service.
We can have vision, purpose, assignment, and even focus, but if we are not dedicated then all of that means nothing. Dedication is the key to any purpose or assignment that Yah has entrusted us with. We can have all the potential in the world to do something, but if we have not dedicated ourselves to doing it, then it will not happen. Dedication is critical for the assignment Yah has given us. When we stop at the halfway point or at any point other than completion, we often forfeit some of the blessing that Hashem had in store for us.
Dedication requires certain characteristics to be developed in our lives in order to truly be like Yeshua. Three of these are as follows: Identification: We must know who we are; Motivation: We must clarify why we are following Yeshua; Concentration: We must focus on what is important. All of these require integrity and dedication in our lives as a top priority! This is an issue of dedication: We dedicate ourselves to YHVH and, therefore, we attempt to live a holy and pure life of integrity.
Yeshua wants us to keep ourselves pure, then we are ready to be used by Him for any purpose. Our commitments shape our lives more than anything else. They can develop us, or they can destroy us. But either way, they will define us! We become whatever we are committed to. Commitment and dedication go hand-in-hand. It’s around the idea of commitment where most people miss Adonai’s purpose for their lives.
So many people are afraid to commit or dedicate themselves to anything, so they drift through life. Others make half-hearted commitments to competing values, which lead to frustration and mediocrity. Others dedicate themselves to worldly pursuits and end up disappointed and bitter.
We must follow, commit, and dedicate ourselves to Yeshua! Dedicate ourselves to the things that build a holy, godly life. We need to become like Yeshua and dedicate ourselves to following His Will in our lives and see how enjoyable our lives become.
Be willing to forego the joys of this life for the sake of the Master. Be willing to lay down your life at any cost and dedicate yourself, make your own Nazarite vow to HaShem. Let Him take your life and make something wonderful out of it!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha!
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Have a great Sabbath and Keep Him first always!