Wednesday, April 29, 2015
THE DEVOTION GOD DELIGHTS IN
All the days of his separation he shall be holy to the LORD. (Numbers 6:8)
God takes delight in those devoted to Him. As a human father finds joy when someone says, "He looks just like you!" or "She acts like her Daddy!" thus the Heavenly Father rejoices when His children favor Him. He is holy and calls us to be holy.
In the passage before us--Numbers 6--we see those who passionately pursued holiness. They were called Nazirites. This vow was voluntary. It was not from any outward compulsion, but an inward conviction that the man or woman choose this special consecration to God. The word, "Nazirite," means "separation," and speaks of those who have separated themselves to God to a special degree.
God delights in those who serve Him--not from grudging obligation, but in glad devotion. There is a vast difference between my saying, "I've got to go to worship today," and "I get to go to worship today!" The former is like the husband who brings his wife a hamburger, tosses it on the table, while he retreats to the recliner and immerses himself in TV, contrasted with the husband who takes his wife out to a nice dinner and is engrossed in conversation with her. It is not the giver who feels compelled to give--paying his debt to God as he or she pays the government taxes--but, the giver who fervently celebrates to give--expressing love for the Lord in response to His generosity to him or her--that God loves.
Sounds extreme, doesn't it? How excessive is God's love for us? Higher than the heavens, deeper than the oceans, wider than the universe, and longer than time--from eternity to eternity--most graphically expressed in the indescribable suffering of Christ for sinners like we are! No wonder after Paul spent eleven chapters in Romans developing the doctrine of justification by faith, that he would give the call to complete sanctification in the remaining chapters as our proper response--the pivotal verses being 12:1-2:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
The Nazirite's joy was not to be found in the world, but in the Lord. He or she must be willing to bear the reproach of being, "different," because of devotion. Anything defiling was to be scrupulously avoided. This is to be our response to God's amazing grace!
Is it surprising that after the dedication expressed by the Nazirites, that we have the benediction exclaimed by the Lord? This is the devotion that brings God delight! Nothing brings God pleasure more than when we exhibit such pleasure in Him. Aaron would call upon God for provision, protection, and peace for God's people--and how we need that today! Our devotion is the unobstructed channel through which those blessings flow.