Nasso (Make an Accounting)
Torah: Numbers 4:21-7:89 Haftarah: Judges 13:2-25 Brit Chadasha: Matthew 3:10-17
“Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in trespass against יהוה, and that being is guilty, then they shall confess (hold out the hand) their sin which they have done. And he shall restore (shuv) his guilt in its principal, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to whom he has been guilty. Numbers 5:6-7
Here is a great principle in Torah that helps us see what true repentance entails. Those of us who were apart of xtianity were probably taught that confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness of them is repenting. Basically that all we had to do was run down to an altar and cry some tears and say we were sorry and we could then get up as if nothing ever happened and go on our merry little way. Confession of sins is not a Newer Test. principle as many think; we see it taught all throughout the Torah. See here is where the rubber meets the road in my opinion. Numbers 5 is giving us a great picture into the realm of the heart of a believer. Those of you who listen and read our material have heard me say multiple times that today there is no cost associated with sin. We can say I’m sorry and get up and live our life like nothing happened. In my opinion we’ve lost this aspect not only in xtianity but Hebrew Roots as well. Guys there is a price tag associated with sin and there is more than praying a 3 point prayer and then saying ok I’m good. First, folks held out their hand, i.e. confess. I see the picture of someone standing up while raising their hand and saying I’m the guilty one. It was me while all eyes of the folks around are on the guilty party. That costs something. It is humbling and causes a person to have to swallow their pride. That was step one now onto step two. Step two hits that person where it hurts the most possibly, the pocket book. The idea of restitution today seems archaic or possibly can be said to have been replaced by the spirit of entitlement. See both of these steps are action steps.
My point is today we have a system set up that waters sin down to the point to where it is CROSS less or STAKE less. Again, sin doesn’t cost folks today because man has set up a system and made it easy for him to live according to the way that he sees fit. I’m sorry Father please forgive me is the prayer prayed and that person or we pretty much could say all of us gets up leaves the confines of the building and go/went right back to what we were asking forgiveness for. There is no longer a cost to sin in most folks minds but trust me a man reaps what he sows. Just think about this animals had to give their life because of the sin of folks and these animals weren’t just donated free of charge to go through a ‘ritual’. Guys the Eternal put this system in place in order to remind us to not become complacent and go through the motions. He not only wants confession but restitution. This is why the Hebrew is so important here because the confession, the holding out of the hand (action) is not just words what we are showing the other party/ies involved is that truly there has been repentance because look at what I am having to go through.
The Father didn’t set this system up in order to humiliate us or crack the whip on us. He set it up so that we had a way to return (shuv) before ruin came.
“Therefore I judge you, O house of Yisra’ĕl, every one according to his ways,” declares the Master יהוה. “Repent (shuv), and turn back from all your transgressions, and let not crookedness be a stumbling-block to you (one version say so iniquity will not be your ruin). “Cast away from you all the transgressions, by which you have transgressed, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Yisra’ĕl? “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” declares the Master יהוה. “So turn back and live!” Ezekiel 18:30-32
The Father doesn’t want to see us destroyed so he has something in place that will restore us back into right standing and fellowship with Him thus revealing again the He truly loves and cares for us.
Verse 31 says Cast away from you all the transgressions by which you have transgressed… In my life and I know in the lives of others this has been a struggle. Our flesh wants to ‘cast away transgression’ about two inches away from us. Casting something away means like throwing a rock or ball as far away from you as you can. Many times the reason why we have returned to our sin is simple; it’s because we haven’t fully cast it away.
Guys if we cast it away then let it go don’t just throw it in the trash can and not set it out by the road on trash day and be taken away for good. That’s easy access when we don’t put it out by the road. Probably more than less we purposefully leave the trash in the garage instead of letting it be taken away in the garbage truck. If we are going to turn (shuv) repent then we return to the point where we began to go astray. Brad Scott says it best in that repentance isn’t just turning around and going in another direction. You can walk towards the edge of a cliff and then turn and go another direction and end up walking off that same cliff just in a different location. So returning to the Father or being restored to the Father has to do with going back to where we first began to get off the path. When my children have gotten off the path (strayed from the rules of the house) it isn’t until they return to the point of good standing (begin to obey the rules of the house) where they were before straying; this is what brings the blessings and brings life to us. So instead of repenting only a little bit and continuing to walk round and round why not return or go back to where you came from? Again the commands for confession, repentance, and restitution are not something ‘new’ they are found in Torah and in my opinion are woven all throughout the 613 commandments. What you and I have to do is burn all the bridges that link our lives to sin.
The ancient Hebrew gives us a great picture of the word shuv: the Shin is a picture of a fang and means to consume or destroy, the Vav is a picture of a tent peg and means to connect or attach something to another object, and the Beit is a picture of a tent and means house. The ancient Hebrew here gives us the picture of consuming or destroying the house. So shuv or repent means to burn the house. Destroy the bridge or whatever is attaching you and me to sin. Are there any bridges that we have that still link us or make it easy for us to access our sin? If so do we have a gas can and box of matches in hand? There is not a greater time to fully return to the Father and bring glory to His Set Apart name than now.
We are given the specifics of the Nazirite vow in Numbers chapter six verse one through twenty. I remember reading this portion several times before I finally got the full meaning of this vow. We all know that whatever person just can’t go and claim to be a high priest. You must be a Cohen in order to have this honor. To some this might seem unfair but YHVH isn’t a respecter of persons and He has given the children of Yisrael a way that they could somewhat in my opinion be equivalent to the separation of a high priest and that way is through a Nazirite vow.
The core issue of a Nazirite vow is separation. A person who takes this vow is separating themselves in order to draw near to Yahweh or be close to Elohim. Now I somewhat tied the Nazirite vow in with the high priest so let me explain how so. We know from Leviticus 21:11 that the high priest could not go near any dead body while the regular priests could go near a mother or father which passed away. We see the same instructions for a Nazirite as well.
All the days of his separation to יהוה he does not go near a dead body. ‘He does not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother or his sister, when they die, because his separation to Elohim is on his head. Numbers 6:6-7
The person who took a Nazirite vow could not go near any dead body even his/her mother or father. Yahweh is very serious about clean and unclean and we saw in several portions back that He doesn’t allow any person to approach Him when they are in an unclean state. There are several other correlations that one could say that relate the high priest to the Nazirite such as the hair and the anointing oil upon the high priests head. I think personally the real issue here is that those who aren’t high priests are enabled to attain the same level of set apartness as a high priest and this was accomplished through the Nazirite vow.
I remember many years back when I was in the Constatinian religion. There was a group of young college age kids who went off to seminary school. One time one of the guys returned and he had long hair and really couldn’t grow a beard but had patches of long hair on his face and I asked him what he was doing. He told me he had taken a Nazirite vow. I thought this was interesting and honestly it came out later on that the guy was just doing this be cool and different. Trust me you don’t want to do something like this just to be cool or different. This is very serious; it’s about drawing near to Elohim and there is nothing in Torah that says we should draw near to Him in order to be cool or start some fad.
Unfortunately, it was a short time later that this person dropped out of seminary and left the straight and narrow path to go back to the things of the world. Could it have been because of his playing around with the Nazirite vow thing and trying to make it into something that was cool? I don’t know because I never really was able to speak with this person again. My point is we walk on thin ice when we take the set apart things of Yahweh and profane them (make them common). We shouldn’t take a Nazirite vow and have mixed motives in our heart whereas we try to show everyone around how super spiritual we are and how close to Yahweh we are. I think there is an old saying that says if you play with fire you will get burned. I think that very much applies in light of this week’s portion.
For those of you who think we no longer have to do the commandments or Paul teaches us that we no longer have to obey, well then I leave you with this assignment. Go read Acts 20:20-24 and see what Paul did with this done away with, no longer relevant to us, ancient history i.e. ‘Law’ stuff. Read Numbers 6:1-20 now and see if you can connect the dots.