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2. Purity and Devotion Brings Blessing

August 14, 2009

Text:      Numbers 5:1-6:27

Key Verses:      Numbers 6:22-27

Outline:      I. Implementing Personal Purity      Numbers 5:1-31

                          II. Implementing Personal Devotion     Numbers 6:1-21

                         III. Implementing the Lord’s Blessing      Numbers 6:22-27

Context/Discussion/Comments:

     The Lord asks Moses to put His Laws concerning infectious diseases, uncontrolled discharges, and those ceremonially unclean into practice. The Israelites did so. [See Leviticus 12-15] Next the Lord asks Moses to implement His Civil Laws governing one-on-one relationships. [See Exodus Lesson 11on Exodus 21-23.] Restitution and confession is required in conjunction with the Guilt and Sin Offerings. Then the Lord asks Moses to implement His Moral Laws governing the relationship of husbands and wives. [See Exodus Lesson 11 on Exodus 22-23 and Leviticus 18-20.] These verses in Numbers define a process whereby the Lord is the judge of a woman suspected of infidelity. She is brought before the Lord with a Grain Offering and made to drink bitter water. If she is guilty, the Lord will cause a miscarriage and/or make her womb barren. If she is innocent, she will continue to bear children.

     The Lord now implements the Nazirite vow of special devotion to the Lord available to both men and women. Certain rules apply:

                  a. nothing is to be drunk or eaten that comes from grapes.

                  b. One’s hair is not cut.

                 c. One is to obey all God’s Laws, i.e. practice holiness.

                d. One is to remain ceremonially clean.

     Failure to remain ceremonially clean requires two doves as a Sin Offering and a Burnt Offering be brought before the priests after the required 7 days of cleansing. The person is consecrated again and keeps their vows for 7 more days before bringing a male lamb as a Guilt Offering.

     Upon completion of the vow, one must bring a Burnt Offering, a Sin Offering, a Fellowship Offering, and a Grain and Drink Offering. After presenting the offerings, ones’ hair is shaved off and burned in the altar fire. Then the ram shoulder and cakes without yeast are waved before the Lord to complete the vow.

     The Lord pronounces a blessing to be given by the priests to the Israelites for their devotion to the Lord. It is still in use today as a Benediction after worship just as it was in the beginning. It is placed here in this context because obedience to God’s Laws and the taking of a vow toward holiness represents genuine worship. God rewards genuine worship with a blessing.

Lessons/Applications:

1. We can hear God and we can be taught about God but true genuine acknowledgment of who God is requires that we obey Him.

2. We are to be a holy people, priests [I Peter 2:9]. The Nazirite vow is a means for individuals to experience a higher level of devotion/commitment similar to that of the priests. Holiness is understood only through the practice of holiness. Keeping oneself pure and obedient to God is difficult if not impossible. Therefore, the practice of bringing our offerings and confessing our sin before the Lord is a humbling experience which softens our hearts so we can genuinely worship Him. Our commitment to follow and obey Him enables us to know Him more intimately, to grow in our knowledge and devotion to Him, and, thus, serve Him by glorifying His Name.

3. God’s standard involves purity and holiness. Therefore, God’s blessing is to be pronounced upon all who seek to be holy as He is holy. God’s desire is to bless those who honor Him.

Genuinely seek the Lord and receive His Blessing:

     “The Lord bless you and keep you.” ———– God desires to prosper*, provide for, and protect us.

     “The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” — God desires to exalt us and give us grace.

     “The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” ——- God loves us, is kind, and gives us real peace.

* By prosper I don’t mean wealth although that can be part of it. God prospers us with the gift of children, love, faith, joy, a generous spirit, hope, patience, perseverance, knowledge, and assurance that we are His Children and a whole lot more.

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