Have you ever had a time in your spiritual life where saying, “I love you” to God just didn’t seem like enough? Like “Thank you” and “I’m sorry”, “I love you” sometimes seems too small for the size of the emotion we feel toward God. This has been so since the earliest days of our existence as God’s people. And so, God instituted the Nazarite Vow.
As a way of praising God beyond just words, the Nazarite vow was a way to live out your praise and worship rather than just saying or singing it. It was a vow that included not cutting your hair, not either drinking or eating anything that came from a grape, and staying ritually clean throughout the vow. Our most famous failure at the Nazarite Vow is the judge Samson. Known to most every Sunday school aged child as the strong man with long hair, Samson had a Nazarite vow thrust upon him by his parents, and he despised it. His story very clearly shows him thoughtlessly breaking every aspect of his vow, from touching a dead body (both a lion and a donkey), drinking wine (at banquet after banquet), and finally allowing his hair to be cut. And so in breaking his vow so thoroughly, God’s Spirit leaves him and he is powerless.
What might a Nazarite vow look like today? While we shrink back from anything resembling duty, a vow of praise and devotion would be more palatable to our evangelical minds. Not cutting our hair wouldn’t be too hard, though harder for women in our culture. Avoiding raisins, wine and the like would be tolerable. But avoiding dead things would be much trickier. Dead bugs on the windowsill, dead mice in traps, we deal with dead bodies all the time so that one might be trickier.
What vow might you make to express your love for God? How might we praise Him with our lives as well as our words?