Saturday, June 09, 2007

Let us look back at the birth of Samson. Interestingly, his mother was sterile, and a child could not be conceived in her womb. An angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son, now see to it that you do not drink any wine or fermented drink and that you do not drink anything unclean because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head because he is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God since birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” (Judges 13:1-5)

There are some interesting parallels between Samson and a certain New Testament person. Do you know who I am thinking of? However, I don’t want to get sidetracked now.

The Nazirite vow, was a vow was for any person who wanted for specific period to “separate themselves” to the Lord. There were some special requirements for this vow.
No alcohol or grapes in any form. Not even raisins.
No haircut. A razor was now to come near the head.
No contact with corpses. (I’m not sure if this is referring to any type of corpse – in which case Samson blew it long before he met Delilah – remember the famous riddle? – or whether it was only human corpses)
Now, bear in mind that for most this was a voluntary action undertaken by Jews who chose to separate themselves to God for a specific period. But in the case of Samson, and our mystery New Testament person, they were Nazirites from birth – no conception.

For those Christians who view the developing embryo as merely a piece of tissue, in the mother, that can be disposed of if it becomes an inconvenience, this verse (Judges 13:4) should give pause for thought. Also, for expectant mothers who consume alcohol or smoke during the pregnancy, here is biblical proof that what a person consumes when she is pregnant can affect the babies development. Samson was to have no contact with wine or grape, even from BEFORE his birth.

The point was that Samson was set apart to God. These things, no alcohol, no razors, no corpses, were merely the things that marked out the Nazirite. But the key was that they were set apart to God.

People use different expression to describe becoming a Christian. The most common and widely known is “born-again” but another expression that people use is “I have committed my life to Christ.” Well, it is debatable as to how literally we mean that, but the point is, that becoming a Christian is in some sense similar to taking the Nazirite vow. We are separating ourselves to God for rest of our lives. Thankfully we can still enjoy a glass of wine (provided we don’t enjoy too many) and the occasional trip to the barber (or hair-stylist!!) for a trim, or a short-back and sides, is quite in order, and though it is something I would prefer to avoid, coming in contact with a corpse will not cancel my Christianity. But there are things that mark us out as separate from the world. No we do not have to enter a monastery (or convent). On the contrary we are called to go into ALL the world and preach the Gospel. When non-Christians look at us, they should be able to say to themselves, “There’s something different about that fellow or that lady.”

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

John, You had asked me to make a comment. I am quite familiar with the story of Samson. In his actions, he actually was the one that severed his relationship with God by placing his relationship with Deliah higher. It was only after he had come to realize his mistake in doing so and humbly seek the Lord, that his strength returned. And of course, his hair had grown some as well.