January 26, 2018: He is our Pleasure and joy.
Numbers 6:1-4 (NIV)
1 The LORD said to Moses,
2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the LORD as a Nazirite, 3 he must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink. He must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins.4 As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins.
Certainly, when you read all these passages in the Old Testament you are surprised by such rules and commands. Many who read these passages think they are outdated and rather unnecessary rules. They reach the conclusion that they are meaningless conditions that have no real meaning except to confuse those who read these passages.
This is not to be our conclusion. Our Lord told us that everything in the Old Testament is to point us to him. “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)
The question is, “How does this passage point us to see Christ?” A Nazirite was one who had made a conscious decision to set his or her life apart to God for a season. They were to live a life completely set apart to God. There were many things they could not do during the time of their separation to God.
Why were they commanded not to eat or drink anything that came from the vine. What is it that comes from the grapevine; grape juice, wine, strong drink, and raisins.
All of these things brought pleasure to the body. Wine gladdens the heart and raisins were considered an aphrodisiac. What could possibly be the reason that a person set apart to God by a Nazirite vow should abstain from such?
When a person turns from their sin and trusts in Christ, they are now in a relationship with the God of the universe, who is himself the source of all true and lasting pleasure. It is possible that these commands were given to the Nazirite to demonstrate to all those who would observe them that they would see that being set apart to God was the source of all true pleasure in this world.
King David gives us a hint of this when he writes, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73:25)
To know Christ and to serve him is to be our true source of life and joy and pleasure. Let us so live so that our lives demonstrate that all joy is found in Christ alone. May we live our life today so others can see that we have found the source of our true joy and gladness to be in Christ alone.
May the joy of the Lord be your strength and gladness this day,