A Nazirite Generation
In Numbers chapter 6, the details of a Nazirite vow are outlined. A Nazirite was an Israelite under a special vow to the Lord to set himself apart for the Lord in a season. This included things like giving up wine and other alcoholic drinks, letting their hair grow long as a sign that they are holy and set apart for the Lord, and not going near dead bodies so as not to defile themselves. The three most prominent Nazirites mentioned in the Bible are Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. Each of them was a Nazirite from birth. They were all born to barren women, and they were all the answer to national distress during their generation.
The first time I heard the term, “Nazirite,” a friend was telling me that her husband had taken Nazirite vow. I had no idea what that meant so I went to the bible, and read about the specifics of a Nazirite vow. Still, I was lost. Sure, I could understand what it meant to be a Nazirite in the Old Testament. But why would this guy be taking a Nazirite vow today? What did that mean? And how did the vow apply to us?
So I began to talk to God about what it means to be a Nazirite in today’s society. I believe He is calling the Church to live like Nazirites. The specifics of our vows unto him may not be exactly the same, but our hearts are completely committed to him like Nazirites of the Old Testament. The modern-day Nazirites are the ones who will voluntary consecrate themselves and set themselves apart as devoted to the Lord. They will submit themselves to God completely. They are the ones who will live their lives for Jesus no matter the cost. No matter what it looks like, they will pursue revival.
When Samuel’s mother, Hannah, pleaded for a son, her desperate prayers moved the heart of God. He performed the miraculous because of them; he impregnated a barren woman, and she birthed a son who changed the nation of Israel. Much like Hannah, America is barren and in desperate need of a Son. There are worship centers, revival hubs, and houses of prayer across the globe that have been crying out for revival day and night. When God hears the despairing prayers of his children, his heart is moved to perform signs and wonders in this land. These places have been impregnated, and being birthed out of them is a generation of Nazirites that is the answer to America’s anguish.
The image of revival in the New Testament is seen in the life of John the Baptist. A Nazirite from birth, he lived a fasted lifestyle in the wilderness until it was time for him to present a call to repentance and prepare the way for the coming King. Similarly, this new breed of Nazirites is being called to live lifestyles of fastings and purity. Lou Engle described it as “a purity that freely chooses to abstain from what is acceptable for the purpose of gaining what is otherwise unobtainable.” In the Old Testament, it was acceptable to drink wine; however, Nazirites showed that they were set apart by choosing to abstain from drinking wine or other alcoholic drinks. So many things in this nation are considered acceptable today—premarital sex, drinking alcohol, smoking, cursing, homosexuality, pornography, abortion—but just because it’s okay in the world doesn’t mean it’s okay in the Kingdom of God. If we are contending for heaven on earth then we must live like we are worthy of being in heaven.
This means living without compromise. It means living in the world, but not of it. It means denying your flesh, taking up your cross, and following Jesus every day. Too many Christians have been satisfied living lukewarm lives. They think it’s okay to give God some of their lives, and then hold onto pieces of compromise for themselves. We, as Christians, are being called to a higher standard of holiness. It is no longer okay to live with one foot in the Kingdom and one foot in the world. It is black and white; there is no gray area. Jesus desires from us a whole-hearted, voluntary love that starts with repentance and ends with obedience.
Although Samson told Delilah the source of his strength, and ultimately broke his Nazirite vow when she cut his hair, God had mercy on him when he repented. His hair started to grow back, and God gave him the strength to kill more Philistines during his own death than he had throughout his entire life. Even though Samson disobeyed God and broke his vow, God still used him to begin the rescue of Israel from the Philistines because he had a repentant heart.
John the Baptist recognized the importance of having a repentant heart, and through his call to repentance, he acted as a forerunner and paved the way for the manifest presence of God in the flesh. He was an outcast. He was mocked, persecuted, and eventually murdered. But he influenced an entire generation and changed the nation of Israel. This call to live a Nazirite lifestyle won’t be easy. Not everyone will understand it. People you once had close relationships with will no longer be a part of your lives. Some will be by their choice, and others you will have to let go of yourself. But greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. As forerunners, revivalists, and Nazirites, it is our responsibility to declare a call to repentance and prepare the way for the return of our king. God chose you for such a time as this. The kingdom of God is at hand, and we have a choice to make. For me, I choose Jesus. I choose revival. I choose to live under a permanent Nazirite vow to live a lifestyle of consecration to Jesus. I don’t care what it looks like or who it offends.