Today’s reading is Numbers 5-6
I’m afraid I’m all over the place in my notes today but I had to spend quite a bit of time chasing rabbit trails and researching in hopes of bringing you more clarity – and I was only partly successful. I ended up with clarity on some things to me but not to the extent that I could share 100% of my findings with you. ~sigh~ BUT I still have some good stuff to share and you can take your own rabbit trails and discover the rest!
Today we meet the Nazarites!
Nazarites were people who took a specific vow to live “Holy unto YHWH”. This vow could be for a short period of time, a number of years, or on a permanent basis. There are many reasons why someone might have made a Nazarite vow: as a way of thanking YHWH for a specific blessing, out of a desire to serve YHWH more closely, etc.
There is a story that can be found on Wikepedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazirite ) about Queen Helena who promised to take a Nazarite vow if her son returned from battle unharmed. He did, so she did.
She took a vow for seven years. However, at the end of her seven years the priests declared that she had not fully kept her vow and, as was the custom among Nazarite vows, she had to repeat her entire seven years over again. At the end of those seven years they determined, once more, that she had not fully kept her vow and she had to repeat the entire seven years again. (You had to go to the priest to perform the sacrifices and be released from your vow at the end of it’s term). In the end she ended up serving as a Nazarite for 21 years.
Which brings me to another point: Women could take a Nazarite vow. It was not something just for men.
Another point: Messiah was not a Nazarite. He was a Nazarene, which is a totally different thing. A Nazarene was simply someone who was from Nazareth. The two terms aren’t related.
Now for the sticky thing that is glaring at us today, the subject of the woman and the bitter waters. The premise is that a man suspects his wife of being unfaithful and so he brings her to the priests.
In many cases at this time husbands were known to kill their wives if they even suspected them of being unfaithful so in many ways this ceremony was a blessing because it took that power away from Israelite husbands and gave it to the priests and ultimately to the Father (YHWH).
It is worth noting that this was not a case in which the husband knew for sure if his wife had been unfaithful. In fact, we are told four different times that he merely suspected her.
A few things I want to point out about this, let’s pull the facts and look at them.
•How was the water made? A vessel of water was drawn (living water, so this would be fresh water such as from a running stream). To that, dust from the floor of the tabernacle was added. The priest then recited an oath, the woman agreed to it, he then wrote the oath down, then he used water to wash the ink from that oath into the vessel that now contained the living water and dust. So the woman was drinking a mixture of water, dust, and ink.
•If she were guilty, she would become barren. This was a judgement before YHWH and He would determine the outcome.
Note: There is no poison in this water or nothing added that would cause an issue but a lot of people want to say that there is. We have a tendency to try to write our modern ideas, symbols, and doctrines into Scripture but this is simply not there. This is being used as a divine judgement with the outcome that if she was faithful, she will be fine, but if she was unfaithful, the Father will make her barren.
Now I know this seems strange and out of place and I have a LOT of opinions and thoughts on it that make it make perfect sense in my mind but I’m not going to share those because they are purely speculation.
However, just know that we will encounter situations in the Bible in which we do not have the additional facts we would like to have in order to make sense of things or in which something just doesn’t make sense to us in our modern mindset, out of context of the Hebrew culture.
At the end of the day, know that so much of what we are reading today are earthly representations that demonstrate spiritual principles we will need to know later.
In these books, we are still building our foundation of Scriptural knowledge and many of these seemingly strange little facts and incidents will pop up later on in the Gospels and we will experience our “AHA!” moment.
In closing: I know it can be frustrating not to know everything but be patient with all the questions that remain unsolved in your mind and remain steadfast with the Father, knowing that He reveals and He conceals according to His will and for His good purpose. And part of His purpose for you is that you continue in His word so that He can continue to reveal Himself to you and draw you closer to Him.
The Aaronic blessing
Oh how I love this blessing. I have a beautiful parchment scroll of it hanging on my wall right as you go out my front door.
As believers, did you realize that you have the power to say blessings over people? This is tremendous! I do believe this should be done with appropriate reverence but I also believe it is an unfathomable shame to never make use of this ability.
The LORD bless you and keep you: The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Did you see these words? Bless, keep, gracious, countenance, and peace.
•Bless – to give you gifts, to be generous with you
•Keep is used as a form of protection. As in to keep someone from harm.
•Grace is unmerited favor.
•Countenance – I imagine the Father looking at me and smiling. Just typing that took my breath away and made me smile from the hair on my head clear down to my toes!
•Peace – the word to think of here is Shalom. It is a wonderful word wishing someone the wholeness of peace that can only come from YHWH. It is commonly used as a greeting, a wonderful way to greet people indeed!
I spoke with a presbyterian pastor once who told me that he didn’t understand why Christians didn’t use the word Shalom more. This pastor said “I imagine that was the first word most people said to Jesus whenever they saw Him and the first word He would say back. We need to start using that word again.” I agree.
Now when YHWH originally told them to speak this blessing, He used his actual name in the blessing rather than referring to himself by a generic term that interpreters have replaced His name with (almost 7000 times), so I like to put it back like He had it – but keep it in English because we aren’t quite fluent in Hebrew just yet!
May YHWH bless you and keep you.
YHWH make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
YHWH lift up His countenance upon you and give you shalom.
There, I like it the Father’s way best.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!