2018年冬季训练 民数记结晶读经(一)

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第5篇 神渴望祂所有的子民都是今日的拿细耳人

读经:

民六1~9,启一2,十九10

民 6:1 耶和华对摩西说,
民 6:2 你要对以色列人说,无论男女许了特别的愿,就是拿细耳人的愿,要将自己分别出来归给耶和华,
民 6:3 他就要远离淡酒和浓酒,也不可喝淡酒或浓酒作的醋;不可喝什么葡萄汁,也不可吃鲜葡萄或干葡萄。
民 6:4 在他分别出来的一切日子,凡葡萄树上结的,自核至皮所作的物,都不可吃。
民 6:5 在他许愿分别出来的一切日子,不可用剃刀剃头。他要成为圣别,直到他将自己分别出来归耶和华的日子满了;他要任由发绺长长。
民 6:6 在他将自己分别出来归耶和华的一切日子,不可挨近死人。
民 6:7 他的父母、兄弟、或姊妹死了的时候,他不可因他们使自己不洁净,因为那分别出来归神的凭据在他头上。
民 6:8 在他分别出来的一切日子,他是归耶和华为圣的。
民 6:9 若有人在他旁边忽然死了,以致玷污了他分别出来的头,他就要在得洁净的日子剃头,就是在第七日剃头。

启 1:2 约翰便将神的话,和耶稣基督的见证,凡自己所看见的,都见证出来。

启 19:10 我就俯伏在他脚前要拜他。他说,千万不可。我和你并你那些持守耶稣见证的弟兄,同是作奴仆的;你要敬拜神!因为耶稣的见证乃是预言的灵。

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听抄 (原信息中文文本)

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晨兴圣言 经节:



壹 人类中间独一的拿细耳人是主耶稣;因此,拿细耳人预表基督在祂的人性里绝对为神活着—约五30,腓二8,参太十一28~30,弗四20~21,约六57:
一 主耶稣在祂的人性生活里,一生一世都吃奶油(最丰富的恩典)与蜂蜜(最甘甜的爱);父这最丰盛的恩典与最甘甜的爱,使祂能拒绝恶的,拣选父旨意中的善—赛七14~15,太十一25~26,十四22~23,二六39,可一35,路五16。
二 一个人能拣选父的旨意,能有所撇下,能否认己,或者能拣选困难的事,原因乃是他背后有顶大支持的能力,就是享受基督作最丰富的恩典与最甘甜的爱—约一17,罗五17,提后二1,林后五14~15,加二20,罗八37,十二1~2。
贰 神渴望祂所有的子民都是拿细耳人;作拿细耳人就是绝对且彻底地成为圣别,分别出来归给神,就是不为着别的事物,只为着神,只为着神的满足—耶稣的见证—民六1~2,诗七三25~26,启一2、9~13,十九10,参民二2:
一 禁绝酒和任何与其来源有关的东西,表征禁绝各种属地的享受和娱乐—六3~4,参诗一〇四15,传十19:
1 拿细耳人是完全从任何属地的享乐中分别出来—路二46~49,林后六14~七1,雅四4,约壹二15。
2 我们必须天天享受基督作我们的新酒(神那使人振奋的生命与令人愉快的爱),好使我们能作奠祭被浇奠给神,使神满足—太九17,歌一2,四10,士九13,提后四6,腓二17。
二 不可剃头,表征不可弃绝主的主权,乃要绝对服从,也要服从神所设立的一切代表权柄—民六5,罗十三1~2上,弗五21、23,六1,来十三17,彼前五5:
1 “万有也在祂里面得以维系;祂也是召会身体的头;……使祂可以在万有中居首位”—西一17~18。
2 “持定元首;本于祂,全身借着节和筋,得了丰富的供应,并结合一起,就以神的增长而长大”—二19。
3 充满基督,就是充满服从,有服从的灵、地位、气氛和意愿;你若是这样的人,这对你和你的将来都有很大的祝福—腓二8~9,弗五18~21。
4 在主的作头之下—甚至被置于某人、某事或某环境之下—乃是极大的祝福—三1,四1,六20。
5 在服从里有能力—士十六17。
三 不因血亲的死受玷污,而一直分别为圣归神,表征拿细耳人胜过天然的情感—民六7:
1 神不要我们用天然的爱来爱人,乃要我们以祂作我们的爱来爱人—太十二48~50,腓二21,林前十三4~8、13,提后一7。
2 保罗与巴拿巴之间的难处,是由天然生命连同天然的关系引起的—利二11,徒十五35~39,西四10。
3 我们需要使自己分别出来,脱离出于我们天然人,连同其天然热心、天然情感、天然力量或天然能力的一切,好使我们凭灵活着,凭灵而行,并凭那灵事奉,为着神独一的见证,在我们灵里凭那灵作一切事—利十1~11,加五25,腓三3,罗一9,八4,亚四6。
四 不可挨近死人,或因身旁有人忽然死了而受玷污,表征拿细耳人是分别出来,脱离死亡的—民六6~9:
1 在神眼中最可恨的是死—启三4,利十一31。
2 在召会生活里,不同种的属灵死亡可能在神子民中间散布,就如野蛮的死(兽的尸体)、温和的死(牲畜的尸体)和狡猾的死(爬物的尸体)—五2,参约壹五16上。
3 我们要得救脱离死亡,就必须将我们的心思置于灵,注意我们的灵,顾到我们的灵,并且运用我们的灵—罗八6。
4 我们要得救脱离死亡,就必须满了“抗死剂”,就是借着操练灵祷告,被基督这赐生命的灵所充满—11节,弗六18。
5 我们若因某种意料之外的死受了玷污,就需要将自己重新分别给主,有新的奉献,而有新的开始—民六9~14上,参撒上一11,二11。
叁 在圣经里有两个拿细耳人—撒母耳和参孙—的对比:
一 撒母耳是忠信之拿细耳人的积极榜样—撒上一11、28,二28、35,三20,七15:
1 哈拿的祷告乃是回应并说出神的心愿,是人与神行动的合作,为要完成神永远的经纶:
a 神能推动哈拿这在生命线上与祂是一的人;只要神能得着这样一个人,祂在地上就有路。
b 哈拿的祷告指明,神的行动和祂对哈拿之祷告的答应(一10~17),乃是要产生一个绝对为着成全神愿望的拿细耳人;拿细耳人是完全奉献给神,接受神作头,以神为丈夫,且对属世享乐没有兴趣的人。
2 撒母耳是一个在地上与神是一的人;撒母耳开始尽职,作为代理的神,代表天上的神在地上治理祂的百姓—七3。
3 在神的命定里,撒母耳是新的祭司和申言者,他的说话转移时代,不是借着革命,乃是借着神圣的启示,带进君王职分:
a 撒母耳作拿细耳人供职,绝对奉献给神,使神得以完成祂的经纶,也就是自愿者,顶替了任何正式、形式的事奉神者— 一11、28上。
b 撒母耳作尊重神、讨神喜悦的祭司供职,顶替陈腐、堕落的祭司职分—二30、35,参士九9、13,申三四7。
c 撒母耳作申言者供职,在耶和华的言语稀少,不常有默示的时候说神的话—撒上三1~10、19~21。
d 撒母耳作士师供职,在君王职分的实际里,顶替老旧、陈腐之祭司职任对百姓的审断—七15~17。
e 撒母耳作祷告的人供职,为神的选民祷告,使他们蒙保守在神的道路上,好叫神对祂选民旨意中的愿望得以成就—八6,十二20~25,十五11。
4 撒母耳是合乎神心的人—神的心复制在他里面,他是纯洁单一的—参太五8,六22~23,提后二22。
5 撒母耳不仅行事、生活并工作是照着神,他的全人和所是也是照着神;他的所是和神的心乃是一;他就是在地上代理的神。
6 神的心思就是撒母耳的考量,他没有别的意念或考量。
7 他完全不为自己寻求什么,也从不想为自己得利—参太十六24,路九23~25。
8 他的心只为着神和神的选民,此外别无所顾;他的心是神心的返照(参林后三16~18);他的生活和工作乃是为着完成一切在神心中的事。
9 因着撒母耳无心为他的子孙建立国度,神就很容易把国度带进来;因此,撒母耳是转移时代的人。
10 虽然撒母耳在他那特别的环境中,并不容易为神站住,但他顾到神的权益,并且转移了时代;照着旧约,撒母耳在为着神和神权益的事上,是与摩西并列的—耶十五1。
二 参孙是拿细耳人的消极榜样—士十三3~5,林前十6:
1 他的出身是由耶和华使者的显现所引进的神迹—士十三3。
2 参孙在母腹中,就被圣别为拿细耳人—3、5节。
3 他长大时,按着神的定命作了一个洁净、纯洁的人—4~5节。
4 参孙得着神的灵,就是圣别、经纶之灵的加力—25节,十四5~6、19。
5 参孙是在能力之灵里行动,却不在生命之灵里行动的例证;他非常有能力,但在他身上我们看不见任何生命。
6 参孙的失败在于不接触神,并放纵肉体的情欲—1节:
a 他不是真心寻找配偶;他接触女人只是要放纵情欲—1~3、10~17节,十六1~20上。
b 虽然他得着神的加力,但因着他放纵情欲,就被破坏到极点。
c 最终,耶和华离开他,他的结局悲惨,因为他不知道如何约束他肉体的情欲—参提后二22。
7 拿细耳人无需神灵的激动(士十四6、19);反之,拿细耳人需要有一颗心,作神心的返照。
晨兴喂养
民六2  你要对以色列人说,无论男女许了特别的愿,就是拿细耳人的愿,要将自己分别出来归给耶和华。

  赛七15  他必吃奶酪〔或,奶油〕与蜂蜜,直到他晓得弃恶择善的时候。

  按预表,人类中间独一的拿细耳人是主耶稣。因此,拿细耳人是基督的预表。拿细耳人表征主耶稣在祂的人性里为神活着(民数记生命读经,六一页)。
信息选读
我们读四福音书的时候,要看见主在外面的生活,不知有多好,有多完全。但是,我们从四福音书里不能知道主怎么在外面有那样超人的生活。……赛七15把祂所以能有这样生活的原因告诉我们了。祂为什么知道拣选善的,弃绝恶的呢?祂为什么知道拒绝世界,拣选神的旨意呢?祂为什么知道拒绝从人来的荣耀,唯独要神的荣耀呢?我们从以赛亚七章就可以知道了。十四节:“必有童女怀孕生子,她要给他起名叫以马内利。”我们知道,这是指着主耶稣说的。可惜许多人把十五节丢掉了。……不只十四节是指着主说的,十五节也是指着主说的。十五节是说祂一生一世,都是吃奶油与蜂蜜。因为祂一生一世,都是吃奶油与蜂蜜,所以祂能拣选好的,拒绝不好的。所以祂能顺服神,求神的荣耀,得神的心。……奶油与蜂蜜,有什么意思呢?在所有的味中,……奶油是最丰的,蜂蜜是最甜的。主耶稣一生一世,吃了那最丰的,最甜的,所以祂能拒绝恶的,拣选善的。
  圣经告诉我们,什么是最丰的呢?神的恩典。圣经又告诉我们,什么是最甜的呢?神的爱。神总是把丰盛的恩典摆在祂面前,把甘甜的爱给祂尝了,所以祂能顺服神,拣选神的旨意。所以祂知道拒绝恶的,拣选善的。〔我们要来看一点〕主是怎样吃奶油与蜂蜜,怎样能拒绝恶的,拣选善的。
  我们的主,当十二岁的时候,跟着祂的父母上耶路撒冷去守节。期满了,他们回去,祂仍在耶路撒冷,祂的父母并不知道。后来祂的父母回到耶路撒冷去找祂,过了三天,就遇见祂在殿里。祂母亲对祂说,“孩子,为什么向我们这样行?看哪,你父亲和我多么伤心的在找你。”〔路二48〕主不是答应说,“难道你不知道我应当遵行神的旨意么?”主乃是答应说,“岂不知我必须以我父的事为念么?”〔49〕在这里,主有奶油与蜂蜜。主在十二岁时,就认识祂的父。祂有天上的奶油与蜂蜜。祂得着了那最丰盛、最甘甜的,所以祂是在神的旨意中生活。要是我们,也许要回答说,你们回拿撒勒去吧,你们去作木匠的事,去作管家的事吧。我不去,让我在圣殿里。我们的主不是这样。祂说,祂作见证,但是祂就同他们下去,回到拿撒勒,并且顺从他们。祂所以能拣选一个难的,是因神把最丰盛、最甘甜的滋味给祂尝了。
  马利亚是常常搅扰主的。人家的酒用尽了,她就对主说,“他们没有酒了。”(约二3)主正同许多人讲道,她却叫人去找祂,要同祂说话(太十二46)。但是,圣经记着说,“祂就同他们下去,回到拿撒勒,并且服从他们。”〔路二51〕这是主的拣选。这是人所难的,……但是祂宁肯拣选回去,同一个头脑又小又不明白的马利亚同住在一起。因为祂吃了奶油与蜂蜜,所以祂能拣选一个人所难堪的(倪柝声文集第一辑第十七册,一二四至一二七页)。
  参读∷倪柝声文集第一辑第十七册,拣选的能力。
晨兴喂养
民六3~4  他〔拿细耳人〕就要远离淡酒和浓酒,也不可喝淡酒或浓酒作的醋;不可喝什么葡萄汁,也不可吃鲜葡萄或干葡萄。在他分别出来的一切日子,凡葡萄树上结的,自核至皮所作的物,都不可吃。

  神渴望祂所有的子民都是拿细耳人。作拿细耳人乃是绝对且彻底地成为圣别归给神。这样成为圣别,就是只为着神,而不为着其他事物。
  神要祂的子民洁净、公义并忠信。……神要我们单单爱祂,用我们的心、心思、情感、意志和肉身的力量爱祂(可十二30)。祂要我们没有别的人事物,只有祂作我们起初的爱和独一的爱。即使我们这样爱祂,我们仍可能不是绝对且彻底地为着祂。……拿细耳人的事乃是试验我们的绝对。我们若要作拿细耳人,就必须绝对、完全、彻底为着神(民数记生命读经,六〇至六一页)。
信息选读
民六2说到男人或女人“许了特别的愿,就是拿细耳人的愿,要将自己分别出来归给耶和华”。这里我们看见,拿细耳人是借着许特别的愿,将自己分别归神,而成为圣别。有时我们向主许了愿,但这愿可能不是那么坚定或绝对,我们并没有遵守。你能许愿,并且一生忠于这愿么?
  分别和圣别是不同的。分别是在消极一面,圣别是在积极一面。在消极一面,我们将自己从属世的人中分别出来。在积极一面,我们圣别自己,就是将自己交给神。我们首先被分别,然后被圣别。
  生来为祭司的人,是神所发起而由神命定的。祭司必须是拿细耳人,是绝对为着神的人。这是照着神的命定。人成为祭司乃是神发起的;这不在于人作什么,乃在于神对他所作的。……但人借着许愿成为拿细耳人,却是自己发起,将自己分别归神。这就是说,人并非生来就是拿细耳人,乃是借着许特别的愿才成为拿细耳人。因此,祭司是神所发起,由神命定;但拿细耳人是自己所发起,借着许愿成为这样的人。今天我们在主的恢复里是神发起的,也是我们发起的;这两方面都需要。
  神定旨的成就,需要人的合作以补满神的命定。这由撒母耳的事例可以说明。撒母耳是拿细耳人,补满有了缺欠的以利,一个神所命定的祭司。……撒母耳自己发起,进来补满因以利的缺欠所造成的间隙,因而补满了有缺欠的以利。
  〔在民六3~4〕我们看见,拿细耳人必须禁绝酒和任何与酒来源有关的东西。这表征禁绝属地的享受和娱乐(参诗一〇四15传十19)。禁绝各种的酒,就是禁绝各种属地的享受和娱乐。
  我们对任何使我们快乐的属地事物都该谨慎。属地的享乐导致情欲的行为和情欲的意念。属地的享受和娱乐会玷污拿细耳人。……拿细耳人必须禁绝酒作的醋、葡萄汁、鲜葡萄或干葡萄。……醋与酒归为一类,因为来源相同。酒、醋和葡萄汁都被禁止。由此我们看见,一个绝对为着神的人,是完全从任何属地的享乐中分别出来的。这表明拿细耳人的绝对(民数记生命读经,六一至六四页)。
  参读∷民数记生命读经=第八篇。
晨兴喂养
林前十一36 我且愿意你们知道,基督是各人的头,男人是女人的头,……女人若以剪发或剃发为羞愧,就该把自己蒙起来。
  西二19    ……持定元首;本于祂,全身借着节和筋,得了丰富的供应,并结合一起,就以神的增长而长大。

  〔民六5说,〕“在他许愿分别出来的一切日子,不可用剃刀剃头。他要成为圣别,直到他将自己分别出来归耶和华的日子满了;他要任由发绺长长。”不可剃头,表征不可弃绝主的主权(参林前十一36)。
  我们要作拿细耳人,必须留意两件事。第一,必须与属地的享乐断开关系。第二,必须绝对在权柄之下,绝对在主权之下。……剃头表征弃绝主的主权。按属灵说,我们剃头,意思就是弃绝主在我们身上的权柄。拿细耳人要任由发绺长长;那就是说,他要一直服从主的主权,在此就有能力(士十六17)(民数记生命读经,六四页)。
信息选读
今天是不法的日子。我们若是废除警察,关闭法院,社会将满了强盗和杀人犯。我们无法忍受在这种难耐的局面里生活。美国有绝佳的宪法,并且基于这宪法有很强的法律,还有许多法院监督这些法律得以执行。每一个上法院的人,都必须服从美国政府的法律,否则整个社会就被破坏了。
  堕落的族类是背叛的族类。背叛的性情仍在我们里面。因此,处在没有代表权柄的情况中,那是很危险的。这就是神建立人类政府的原因(创九5~6)。整个政府就是代表权柄,代表神的权柄。保罗提到这事,说,“在上有权柄的,人人都当服从,因为没有权柄不是从神来的,凡掌权的都是神所设立的。所以抗拒掌权的,就是抗拒神的设立。”(罗十三1~2上)教师、雇主和警官都是代表权柄;地上处处都有代表权柄。
  我们要把代表权柄这事应用到召会中。召会中有代表权柄么?召会中若没有代表权柄,为什么有长老?最近有人说,新约中没有代表权柄。这样的说法若是真实的,那新约为什么告诉我们,在众召会中有长老?当然,基督是头,权柄是那灵;但我们在召会中仍需要长老。没有长老,召会就会处于无政府状态。
  我们的家庭生活中也有代表权柄。父母对儿女是代表权柄(弗六1),丈夫对妻子是代表权柄(五23)。保罗甚至说,妻子该敬畏丈夫(33)。妻子敬畏丈夫,意思就是妻子以丈夫为代表权柄。甚至在小小的家庭里也有代表权柄,那么在召会中就更该有代表权柄了!
  拿细耳人的两个特征或两个表记是:第一,不接触任何属地的享乐;第二,总是保守自己在某种权柄之下。这些是严肃的事。我们若是愿意绝对为着神,就必须禁绝属地的享乐,并且不可剃头,就是说,必须尊重权柄,并且在各方面留在主的主权之下(民数记生命读经,六四至六六页)。
  参读∷民数记生命读经=第八篇。
晨兴喂养
民六6~7  在他将自己分别出来归耶和华的一切日子,不可挨近死人。他的父母、兄弟、或姊妹死了的时候,他不可因他们使自己不洁净,因为那分别出来归神的凭据在他头上。

  拿细耳人不可触着任何死的东西,免得受玷污。在神眼中最可恨的是死,拿细耳人不可被死玷污。……拿细耳人不该因……至亲的死受玷污,而该一直分别为圣归神(民六6~8)。甚至他父母的死也不该玷污他。这表征我们不该因来自天然情感的死受玷污,而该在圣别中保守自己洁净。拿细耳人必须一直完全圣别,从一切事物中分别归神,并且该一直联于神(民数记生命读经,六七至六八页)。
信息选读
拿细耳人必须禁绝属地的享乐,不因来自天然情感的死受玷污。享乐是享受的事,天然的情感是爱的事。
  拿细耳人分别出来的头,若因身旁有人忽然死了,以致受了玷污,就要在第七日(分别出来的最后一日—徒二一27)剃头而得洁净(民六9~12)。这指明我们若因某种意料之外的死受了玷污,就当将自己重新分别给主,而得洁净。
  按人说来,若身旁有人忽然死了,这不是拿细耳人的错。然而,这样忽然的死仍会玷污拿细耳人,拿细耳人对这种玷污仍有责任。今天我们生活在人中间,按属灵说,我们无法预知何时有人会在身旁死去。我们若因意料之外的死受了玷污,就需要有新的开始。我们需要将自己重新分别给主,而得洁净。
  我们并不领悟死是多么污秽且玷污人。……在召会生活中,罪可能进来玷污召会,破坏圣徒,但我们更常受到死的玷污。死是隐藏的东西,常常就在我们身旁,但我们对死没有知觉,或者我们不觉得死,于是受到死的玷污。
  我们如何知道自己受了死的玷污?我们是因着有死的知觉或感觉而知道这事。罪带来定罪,这影响我们的良心。然而,死不是定罪的事……。死却是使我们死沉,使我们发死的事。
  我们若是在各面都活在那灵里,当我们来聚会,一旦聚会中有死亡,我们会立刻觉得。我们不仅晓得聚会低沉、迟缓,也晓得聚会中有隐藏的死亡。在这样的时候,我们需要多多祷告,对抗那种死沉的情况:“主,用你的血遮盖我,抵挡一切的死沉,抵挡任何属灵的死亡。”我们必须与死争战。……我们必须是满了生命的人,生命“对抗死亡”。这是在于我们运用灵祷告有多少,不是一般的祷告,乃是与仇敌争战的祷告。
  罪属于撒但(约八44),而撒但是死的源头(来二14)。善恶知识树有恶;但有分于这树的结果不是恶,乃是死。我们吃生命树,结果就是生命。在召会生活中,我们必须不断与死亡争战。譬如,倘若在祷告聚会中,死亡使我们难以祷告,我们就需要与死亡及其影响争战。
  拿细耳人……非常警觉,对于和死亡的争战充满了感觉。在每个召会里,都需要对死亡有感觉,有知觉,这样我们就能与死亡争战(民数记生命读经,六八至六九、七一页)。
  参读∷民数记生命读经=第九至十篇。
晨兴喂养
撒上一11 〔哈拿〕许愿说,万军之耶和华啊,你若……赐你的婢女一个男孩,我必将他终身献与耶和华,不用剃刀剃他的头。
    二35 我要为自己立一个忠信的祭司……。
    三20 ……所有的以色列人都知道,撒母耳被确立为耶和华的申言者。
    七15 撒母耳一生的日子作以色列的士师。

  就人一面说,撒母耳是出身于他那敬拜神的父母,特别是出于他那寻求神的母亲及其祷告(参撒上一5注1)。在堕落之以色列的混乱中,以利加拿和哈拿留在神为着祂永远定旨所命定的生命线上(见创二9注3二段)。这条生命线是要产生基督,给神的子民享受(见得四18注1),使神能在地上得着祂的国,就是召会,作基督的身体(太十六18~19罗十四17弗一22下~23),也就是三一神的生机体。因着神在哈拿里面的运行,哈拿若不祷告要有一个儿子,就没有平安。哈拿的祷告乃是回应并说出神的心愿,是人与神行动的合作,为要完成神永远的经纶。神能推动哈拿这在生命线上与祂是一的人。只要神能得着这样一个人,祂在地上就有路(圣经恢复本,撒上一10注1)。
信息选读
哈拿的祷告指明,神的行动和祂对哈拿祷告的答应(撒上一19~20),乃是要产生一个绝对为着成全神愿望的拿细耳人。拿细耳人是完全奉献给神,接受神作头,以神为丈夫,且对属世享乐没有兴趣的人(民六1~5与注)。撒母耳甚至在出生之前,就被他母亲奉献作这样的人(圣经恢复本,撒上一11注1)。
  撒上七2~6的图画显示一班回转归向神的百姓,以及一个在地上与神是一的人—撒母耳。撒母耳开始尽职,作为在地上代理的神,代表天上的神在地上治理祂的百姓。
  撒母耳生来是利未人,由极大的背叛者可拉的一个后裔所生(代上六33~38,参民十六1~33)。他以五种身分供职:(一)是拿细耳人,绝对奉献给神,使神得以完成祂的经纶,是自愿者,顶替了任何正式、形式的事奉神者(撒上一1128上);(二)是祭司,忠信的代表神行动,甚至为着神在地上的行政,设立并建立君王(二35);(三)是神所立的申言者(三20),辅助他作为祭司所设立的君王,说神的话,以顶替老旧祭司职分教导神的话语;(四)是由神所立的士师(七15~17),施行神的行政,以顶替老旧祭司职分审断百姓;(五)是祷告的人,为神的选民以色列人祷告(3~14八6十五11下,参十二23),使他们蒙保守在神的道路上,与神是一,不落在外邦偶像的网罗里,却享受神作以便以谢(七12),使神对祂选民旨意中的愿望得以成全。神向耶利米承认,撒母耳像摩西一样,是站在神面前为祂百姓代求的人(耶十五1)。摩西是祭司(出二九),申言者(申十八1518),也是士师(出十八1316);他一直为神的百姓祷告(例如,出三二11~1331~32)。在这些事上,撒母耳也是如此。在旧约里,只有摩西和撒母耳够资格完全有分于祭司职分、申言者职分和士师职分(撒上七3注1)。
  参读∷撒母耳记生命读经=第五篇。
晨兴喂养
撒上十三14 ……现在你的国必不得继续存立。耶和华已经为自己寻着一个合乎祂心的人,耶和华已经立他作百姓的领袖,因为你没有遵守耶和华所吩咐你的。

  耶十五1  耶和华对我说,虽有摩西和撒母耳站在我面前代求,我也不转向这百姓。你将他们从我眼前打发走,叫他们去吧。

  撒母耳……知道在神的心中有一个愿望,要得着国度。神要借着大卫,而不是借着撒母耳,带进国度。……你若是撒母耳,你会容让任何人与你同等或在你之上么?撒母耳是纯洁单一的。他照着他母亲所许的愿,是个拿细耳人;他完全不为自己寻求什么。他从不想为自己得利,他的心只为着神和神的选民,此外别无所顾。神爱以色列人,神的心复制在撒母耳里面(撒母耳记生命读经,五四至五五页)。
信息选读
因着神的心复制在撒母耳里面,撒母耳就不顾自己的利益或得着。……因着当时的情形,撒母耳立自己的儿子作士师,但与扫罗相反,他无意为他们建立国度。撒母耳的儿子不行他的道路,贪图不义之财,收受贿赂,屈枉公理(撒上八1~3)。当百姓要求撒母耳立王时,撒母耳被冒犯了,不是因着他儿子的缘故,而是因着百姓想要顶替神(4~7)。……撒母耳……所关心的,不是自己的儿女,乃是神的百姓。在这样的光景中,神就很容易把国度带进来。
  撒母耳若是个为自己寻求什么的人,他就绝不会与神合作。……神对他说,“明日大约这时候,我必使一个人从便雅悯地到你这里来,你要膏他作我民以色列的领袖。”(九16上)当扫罗和他的仆人到撒母耳那里去的时候,撒母耳就完全照着神的指示去行。
  现在我们能看见,为什么撒母耳在神的手中如此有用。他不为自己寻求什么,也从不想为自己得利。反之,他是个拿细耳人,不用剃刀剃他的头,也不喝任何酒;他完完全全是为着神。神要他去那里,要他作什么事,他都乐意去行。他是一个照着神,合乎神心的人。因此,他能为神所用,以完成祂的经纶。……许多人有高尚的品格,但他们只是为着他们自己、他们的事业和他们的天下;他们不是为着神的国。撒母耳不只品格高,他的高乃在于他拿细耳人的愿。
  我们很值得将撒母耳和另一个拿细耳人—参孙—作比较。参孙也是因着母亲的愿而成为拿细耳人,但他与撒母耳大不相同。圣经说到参孙和其他士师时,常说到神的灵冲击他们(士十四619);但说到撒母耳时没有这样的话。拿细耳人不需要冲击的能力;反之,拿细耳人需要有一颗心,作神心的返照。……虽然撒母耳在他那特别的环境中,并不容易为神站住,但他顾到神的权益,并且转移了时代。照着旧约,撒母耳在为着神和神权益的事上,是与摩西并列的(耶十五1)。
  神用撒母耳首先膏扫罗,然后膏大卫。……扫罗只有自己的王国。当神的宝座在耶路撒冷建立时,神的国才在大卫之下被带进来(撒母耳记生命读经,五五至五八页)。
  耶和华的灵临到参孙(士十三25十四619);毫无疑问,他有神真正的能力。然而,他和许多士师都放纵情欲,无法控制(路得记生命读经,四八至四九页)。
  参读∷撒母耳记生命读经=第七篇丨士师记生命读经=第八篇丨路得记生命读经=第八篇。

<< WEEK 5 >>
God's Desire for All His People to Be Today's Nazarites

(TF: Morning revival is available )

Scripture Reading: Num. 6:1-9; Rev. 1:2; 19:10
Ⅰ Among the human race, the unique Nazarite is the Lord Jesus; hence, a Nazarite is a type of Christ in His living absolutely for God in His humanity (John 5:30; Phil. 2:8; cf. Matt. 11:28-30; Eph. 4:20-21; John 6:57):
A In His human living, the Lord Jesus ate butter (the richest grace) and honey (the sweetest love) all the days of His life; this richest grace and sweetest love of the Father enabled Him to choose the good things of the Father's will and refuse the evil (Isa. 7:14-15; Matt. 11:25-26; 14:22-23; 26:39; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16).
B The reason anyone can choose the Father's will and give up something, deny himself, or choose the difficult thing is that behind him there is the great and reinforcing power of the enjoyment of Christ as the richest grace and the sweetest love (John 1:17; Rom. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:1; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:37; 12:1-2).
Ⅱ God desires that all His people be Nazarites; to be a Nazarite is to be sanctified, separated, absolutely and ultimately to God, that is, to be for nothing other than God and for nothing other than His satisfaction—the testimony of Jesus (Num. 6:1-2; Psa. 73:25-26; Rev. 1:2, 9-13; 19:10; cf. Num. 2:2):
A Abstaining from wine and anything related to its source signifies abstaining from all kinds of earthly enjoyment and pleasure (6:3-4; cf. Psa. 104:15; Eccl. 10:19):
1 A Nazarite is altogether separated from anything of earthly pleasures (Luke 2:46-49; 2 Cor. 6:14—7:1; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15).
2 We must enjoy Christ as our new wine (God's invigorating life and cheering love) day by day so that we can be poured out to God as a drink offering for His satisfaction (Matt. 9:17; S.S. 1:2; 4:10; Judg. 9:13; 2 Tim. 4:6; Phil. 2:17).
B Not shaving the head signifies not rejecting but being absolutely subject to the headship of the Lord as well as to all deputy authorities appointed by God (Num. 6:5; Rom. 13:1-2a; Eph. 5:21, 23; 6:1; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:5):
1 "All things cohere in Him; and He is the Head of the Body, the church...that He Himself might have the first place in all things" (Col. 1:17-18).
2 "Holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God" (2:19).
3 To be filled with Christ is to be filled with submission, having a submissive spirit, standing, atmosphere, and intention; if you are such a person, there will be a great blessing for you and your future (Phil. 2:8-9; Eph. 5:18-21).
4 It is a great blessing to be under the Lord's headship—even to be under someone, some thing, or some environment (3:1; 4:1; 6:20).
5 In submission there is power (Judg. 16:17).
C Not being defiled by the death of his blood relatives, but remaining in his separation to be holy to God, signifies that a Nazarite overcomes natural affection (Num. 6:7):
1 God does not want us to love with our natural love but with Him as our love (Matt. 12:48-50; Phil. 2:21; 1 Cor. 13:4-8, 13; 2 Tim. 1:7).
2 The problem between Paul and Barnabas was caused by the natural life with natural relationships (Lev. 2:11; Acts 15:35-39; Col. 4:10).
3 We need to separate ourselves from everything of our natural man with its natural enthusiasm, natural affection, natural strength, and natural ability so that we may live by the Spirit, walk by the Spirit, and serve by the Spirit, doing everything by the Spirit in our spirit for God's unique testimony (Lev. 10:1-11; Gal. 5:25; Phil. 3:3; Rom. 1:9; 8:4; Zech. 4:6).
D Not coming near a dead person or not being defiled by the sudden death of one beside him signifies that a Nazarite is separated from death (Num. 6:6-9):
1 The most hateful thing in the eyes of God is death (Rev. 3:4; Lev. 11:31).
2 Different kinds of spiritual death may spread among God's people in the church life—wild death (the carcasses of beasts), mild death (the carcasses of cattle), or subtle death (the carcasses of creeping things) (5:2; cf. 1 John 5:16a).
3 In order to be saved from death, we must set our mind on the spirit, paying attention to our spirit, caring for our spirit, and using our spirit (Rom. 8:6).
4 In order to be saved from death, we must be filled with "anti-death," filled with Christ as the life-giving Spirit by exercising our spirit to pray (v. 11; Eph. 6:18).
5 If we are defiled by some unexpected deadness, we need to have a new start with a new consecration by reseparating ourselves to the Lord (Num. 6:9-14a; cf. 1 Sam. 1:11; 2:11).
Ⅲ There is a contrast in the Scriptures of two Nazarites—Samuel and Samson:
A Samuel is a positive pattern of a faithful Nazarite (1 Sam. 1:11, 28; 2:28, 35; 3:20; 7:15):
1 Hannah's prayer was an echo, a speaking out, of the heart's desire of God; it was a human cooperation with the divine move for the carrying out of God's eternal economy:
a God could motivate Hannah as a person who was one with Him on the line of life; as long as God can gain such a person, He has a way on earth.
b Hannah's prayer indicates that God's move with His answer to Hannah's prayer (1:10-17) was to produce a Nazarite who was absolute for the fulfilling of God's desire; a Nazarite is one who is consecrated to God absolutely, one who takes God as the Head, considering God his Husband, and one who has no interest in the enjoyment of worldly pleasures.
2 Samuel was one with God on earth; he began to minister as the acting God, the representative of the very God in heaven to rule over His people on earth (7:3).
3 In God's ordination Samuel was a new priest and a prophet, whose speaking changed the age, not through revolution but through divine revelation, to bring in the kingship:
a Samuel ministered as a Nazarite consecrated to God absolutely for God's fulfillment of His economy, a volunteer to replace any official and formal serving ones of God (1:11, 28a).
b Samuel ministered as a God-honoring, God-pleasing priest to replace the stale and degraded priesthood (2:30, 35; cf. Judg. 9:9, 13; Deut. 34:7).
c Samuel ministered as a prophet to speak the word of God when the word of Jehovah was rare and visions were not widespread (1 Sam. 3:1-10, 19-21).
d Samuel ministered as a judge in the reality of the kingship to replace the judging of the people by the old and stale priesthood (7:15-17).
e Samuel ministered as a man of prayer, praying for God's elect to be kept in the way of God that God's desire of His will in them might be fulfilled (8:6; 12:20-25; 15:11).
4 Samuel was a man according to God's heart—God's heart was duplicated in him, and he was pure and single (cf. Matt. 5:8; 6:22-23; 2 Tim. 2:22).
5 Samuel's whole being and person, not just his doing, living, and work, were according to God; his being and God's heart were one; he was the acting God on the earth.
6 God's mind was Samuel's consideration; he had no other thought or consideration.
7 He was altogether not self-seeking; he never sought to gain anything for himself (cf. Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:23-25).
8 He had no heart for anything besides God's heart and God's elect; his heart was a reflection of God's heart (cf. 2 Cor. 3:16-18), and his living and working were for the carrying out of whatever was in God's heart.
9 Because Samuel had no heart to build up a kingdom for his descendants, it was easy for God to bring in the kingdom; thus, Samuel was one who turned the age.
10 Although it was not easy for Samuel to stand for God in his particular environment, he cared for God's interest and turned the age; according to the Old Testament, Samuel is ranked with Moses in being for God and for God's interest (Jer. 15:1).
B Samson is a negative example of a Nazarite (Judg. 13:3-5; 1 Cor. 10:6):
1 His origin was a miracle initiated by the appearing of the Angel of Jehovah (Judg. 13:3).
2 Samson was sanctified in his mother's womb to be a Nazarite (vv. 3, 5).
3 He grew up and was clean and pure according to God's ordination (vv. 4-5).
4 Samson was empowered by the Spirit of God as the holy, economical Spirit (v. 25; 14:5-6, 19).
5 Samson is an illustration of one who moved in the Spirit of power but not in the Spirit of life; he was very powerful, yet with him we cannot see anything of life.
6 Samson failed in not contacting God and in indulging in fleshly lusts (v. 1):
a He was not genuine in seeking for a spouse; rather, his contacting of women was to indulge his lusts (vv. 1-3, 10-17; 16:1-20a).
b Although he had been empowered by God, he was damaged to the uttermost because of his indulgence in lust.
c Ultimately, Jehovah left him, and he came to a miserable ending because he did not know how to restrain the lust of his flesh (cf. 2 Tim. 2:22).
7 A Nazarite does not need the Spirit of God rushing upon him (Judg. 14:6, 19); rather, a Nazarite needs a heart that is a reflection of God's heart.
Morning Nourishment
Num. 6:2 Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, When a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazarite, to separate himself to Jehovah.

  Isa. 7:15 He will eat curds and honey until he knows how to refuse evil and choose good.

  According to typology, among the human race the unique Nazarite is the Lord Jesus. Hence, a Nazarite is a type of Christ. A Nazarite signifies the Lord Jesus in His living for God in His humanity. (Life-study of Numbers, p. 56)
Today's Reading
In reading the four Gospels, we can see how good and perfect the outward living of the Lord was. Yet from the four Gospels, we cannot tell why the Lord had such a superb outward living....Isaiah 7:15 gives us the reason He had such a living. Why was He able to refuse the evil and choose the good? How did He know to reject the world and choose God's will? How did He know to reject glory from men and choose glory from God? We can find out the answer to these questions from Isaiah 7. Verse 14 says, "Behold, the virgin will conceive and will bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel." We know that this refers to the Lord Jesus. Unfortunately, many people have dropped verse 15....Not only does verse 14 refer to the Lord, but...verse 15 also refers to Him. Verse 15 tells us that He ate butter and honey all His life. Because He ate butter and honey all His life, He was able to choose the good things and refuse the bad things. This is why He could obey God, seek for His glory, and win His heart.

  What is the significance of butter and honey?...Butter is the richest food, while honey is the sweetest food. The Lord Jesus ate the richest and sweetest food throughout His life. This is why He could reject the evil and choose the good.

  The Bible tells us what the richest thing is. It is God's grace. The Bible also tells us what the sweetest thing is. It is God's love. All the time, God placed before Christ the rich grace and gave Him to taste the sweet love. This is why He could obey God and choose His will. This is why He could reject the evil and choose the good. Today we will consider a little how the Lord ate butter and honey, and how He rejected the evil and chose the good.

  At the age of twelve, our Lord went with His parents to Jerusalem to keep the feast. After the feast His parents returned, but He remained in Jerusalem without their knowing about it. Later His parents returned to Jerusalem to look for Him. After three days they found Him in the temple. His mother said, "Child, why have You treated us like this? Behold, Your father and I, being greatly distressed, have been seeking You" [Luke 2:48]. The Lord did not answer saying, "Do you not know that I should do My Father's will?" Instead, He answered, saying, "Did you not know that I must be in the things of My Father?" [v. 49]. The Lord had eaten the butter and the honey. At the age of twelve, the Lord knew the Father already. He had the heavenly butter and honey. He had received the richest and the sweetest and was living in God's will. If it were us, we might have said, "Go back to Nazareth to care for your carpentry and your housework. I will not go. Let me stay in the temple." Our Lord did not behave this way. He spoke, and He testified; yet He went back with them. After they returned to Nazareth, He was subject to them. The reason He could choose the difficult thing was that God had given Him the richest and sweetest taste.

  Mary bothered the Lord all the time. When the wine ran out, she told Him, "They have no wine" (John 2:3). While He was preaching to many people, she would come to speak with Him (Matt. 12:46). Yet the Bible says that "He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them" [Luke 2:51]. This was the Lord's choice. It was something that others would find hard to do....But He chose to return with [his parents] and to live with [them]. The reason for this is that He had eaten butter and honey and was able to choose what was otherwise unbearable to men. (CWWN, vol. 17, "The Power of Choosing," pp. 111-113)

  Further Reading: CWWN, vol. 17, pp. 111-120
Morning Nourishment
Num. 6:3-4 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar of wine or vinegar of strong drink, nor shall he drink any juice of grapes, nor eat fresh or dried grapes. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grape vine, from the seeds even to the skin.

  God desires that all of His people be Nazarites. To be a Nazarite is to be sanctified absolutely and ultimately to God. To be sanctified in this way is to be for nothing other than God.

  God wants His people to be clean, righteous, and faithful....God wants us to love only Him, to love Him with our heart, with our mind, emotion, and will, and with our physical strength (Mark 12:30). He wants us to have no one else and nothing else other than Him as our first love and our unique love. Even if we love Him in such a way, we still may not be absolutely and ultimately for Him.

  The matter of the Nazarite is a test of our absoluteness. If we would be a Nazarite, we must be absolutely, utterly, and ultimately for God. (Life-study of Numbers, pp. 55-56)
Today's Reading
Numbers 6:2 speaks of a man or a woman making "a special vow, the vow of a Nazarite, to separate himself to Jehovah." Here we see that a Nazarite is sanctified by making a special vow to separate himself to God. At times we might have made a vow to the Lord, but it might not have been very strong or absolute, and we might not have kept it. Can you make a vow and be faithful to it for your whole life?

  There is a difference between separation and sanctification. Separation is on the negative side, and sanctification is on the positive side. On the negative side, we separate ourselves from the worldly people. On the positive side, we sanctify ourselves; that is, we give ourselves to God. First we are separated, and then we are sanctified.

  The priests, who are such by birth, are ordained by God out of His initiation. A priest must be a Nazarite, a person absolutely for God. This is according to God's ordination. One's becoming a priest is a matter of God's initiation; it does not depend on what the person does but on what God does concerning him.

  The Nazarite, who becomes such by a vow, is separated to God by himself out of his initiation. This means that a person is not a Nazarite by birth but can make himself a Nazarite by making a special vow. Thus, the priests are ordained by God out of His initiation, but the Nazarites become such by a vow out of their own initiation. Today we are in the Lord's recovery out of God's initiation and also out of our initiation. Both are needed.

  The accomplishment of God's purpose requires man's cooperation to complement God's ordination. This is illustrated by the case of Samuel. Samuel was a Nazarite who complemented the deficient Eli, a priest ordained by God....Samuel, out of his own initiation, came in to fill up the gap caused by Eli's deficiencies and thereby to complement the deficient Eli.

  [In Numbers 6:3 and 4] we see that a Nazarite had to abstain from wine and anything related to its source. This signifies abstaining from the earthly enjoyment and pleasure (cf. Psa. 104:15; Eccl. 10:19). To abstain from all kinds of wine is to abstain from all kinds of earthly enjoyment and pleasure.

  We should be careful of anything earthly that makes us happy. Earthly pleasure leads to lustful conduct and to a lustful intention. Earthly enjoyment and pleasure would defile a Nazarite.

  A Nazarite had to abstain from vinegar made from wine, from the juice of grapes, and from grapes fresh or dried....Vinegar is classified with wine because the source is the same. Wine, vinegar, and grape juice are all prohibited. From this we see that the one who is absolute for God is altogether separated from anything of earthly pleasures. This shows the absoluteness of the Nazarite. (Life-study of Numbers, pp. 56-58)

  Further Reading: Life-study of Numbers, msg. 8
Morning Nourishment
1 Cor. 11:3 But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman...

  6 ...But if it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, let her be covered.

  Col. 2:19 And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.

  [Numbers 6:5 says], "All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head. He shall be holy until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to Jehovah; he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow long." Not shaving the head signifies not rejecting the headship of the Lord (cf. 1 Cor. 11:3, 6).

  To be a Nazarite we must take care of two things. First, we must have nothing to do with earthly pleasure. Second, we must be absolutely under authority, absolutely under the headship.

  The shaving of one's head signifies the rejecting of the headship of the Lord. Spiritually speaking, for us to shave our head means that we cast off the Lord's authority over us. The Nazarite was to let his hair grow long (freely); that is, he was to remain in subjection to the Lord's headship, wherein is the power (Judg. 16:17). (Life-study of Numbers, p. 58)
Today's Reading
Today is a day of lawlessness. If we were to do away with the police and close the courts, society would be full of robbers and murderers. We could not bear to live in such an intolerable situation. The United States of America has an excellent constitution, and based upon this constitution there are strong laws and many courts to see that these laws are carried out. Everyone who appears in a court of law must submit to the laws of the United States government. Otherwise, the entire society would be destroyed.

  The fallen race is a rebellious race. The rebellious nature is still within us. Thus, it would be dangerous to be in a situation in which there is no deputy authority. This was the reason God established human government (Gen. 9:5-6). The entire government is a deputy authority representing God's authority. Speaking of this, Paul says, "Let every person be subject to the authorities over him, for there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are ordained by God. So then he who resists the authority opposes God's ordination" (Rom. 13:1-2a). Teachers, employers, and police officers are deputy authorities. Everywhere on earth there is deputy authority.

  Let us apply this matter of deputy authority to the church. Is there deputy authority in the church? If there is no deputy authority in the church, why are there elders? Recently, some have said that there is no deputy authority in the New Testament. If such a claim is true, why does the New Testament tell us that there are elders in the churches? Surely, Christ is the Head, and the authority is the Spirit, but we still need elders in the church. Without elders, the church would be in anarchy.

  There is also deputy authority in our family life. The parents are the deputy authority to the children (Eph. 6:1), and the husbands are the deputy authority to the wives (5:23). Paul even says that a wife should fear her husband (v. 33). For a wife to fear her husband means that she takes him as the deputy authority. Even in a small family there is deputy authority. Then how much more should there be deputy authority in the church!

  Two particular characteristics, or two signs, of a Nazarite are, first, that he does not touch any worldly pleasure and, second, that he always keeps himself under some authority. These are solemn matters. As those who would be absolute for God, we must abstain from earthly pleasure. Furthermore, we must not shave our head; that is, we must respect authority and remain under the headship of our Lord in every way. (Life-study of Numbers, pp. 58-59)

  Further Reading: Life-study of Numbers, msg. 8
Morning Nourishment
Num. 6:6-7 All the days that he separates himself to Jehovah he shall not come near a dead person. He shall not make himself unclean for his father or for his mother, for his brother or for his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is upon his head.

  A Nazarite must not touch anything dead so that he might not be defiled. The most hateful thing in the eyes of God is death, and a Nazarite must not be defiled by it.

  A Nazarite should not be defiled by the death of...the relatives closest to him but should remain in his separation to be holy to God (Num. 6:6-8). Even the death of his father and mother should not defile him. This signifies that we should not be defiled from the deadness that comes through natural affection, but should keep ourselves clean in our sanctification. A Nazarite must remain fully sanctified, separated to God from all things, and should continually cleave to God. (Life-study of Numbers, pp. 61-62)
Today's Reading
A Nazarite had to abstain from earthly pleasure and not be defiled by the deadness that comes through natural affection. Pleasure is a matter of enjoyment, and natural affection is a matter of love.

  If the head of a Nazarite's separation was defiled by the sudden death of one beside him, he was to be cleansed on the seventh day (the last day of his separation—Acts 21:27) by shaving his head (Num. 6:9-12). This indicates that if we are defiled by some unexpected deadness, we should be cleansed by reseparating ourselves to the Lord.

  Humanly speaking, it would not be the fault of a Nazarite if one beside him died suddenly. Nevertheless, such a sudden death would defile the Nazarite, and the Nazarite was held responsible for this defilement. Today we are living among others, and we cannot predict when, spiritually speaking, someone will die beside us. If we are defiled by unexpected deadness, we need to have a new start. We need to be cleansed by reseparating ourselves to the Lord.

  We do not realize how dirty and defiling death is....In the church life, sin may come in to defile the church and damage the saints, but more often we are defiled by death. Death is something hidden. Often death is right beside us, yet we have no consciousness of it or feeling concerning it and become defiled by it.

  How can we know that we have been defiled by death? We know this by having a sense, or feeling, of deadness. Sin brings in condemnation, which affects our conscience. However, death is not a matter of condemnation....Rather, death is a matter that deadens us and makes us dead.

  If we are living in the Spirit in every way, when we come to a meeting, we may immediately have the sense that deadness is there. We may realize not only that the meeting is low and slow but that in the meeting there is deadness hidden beneath the surface. At such a time we need to pray very much to counter that deadening situation: "Lord, cover me with Your blood against any deadening, against any spiritual deadness." We must fight against deadness.

  We must be those who are full of life, which is "anti-death." This depends on how much we exercise our spirit to pray, not in a general way but with a prayer that fights against the enemy.

  Sin is of Satan (John 8:44), who is also the source of death (Heb. 2:14). With the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there is evil; however, the result of partaking of this tree is not evil—it is death. When we eat of the tree of life, the result is life. In the church life we must constantly fight against death. For example, if in the prayer meeting death makes it difficult for us to pray, we need to fight against death and its influence.

  The Nazarites...are very vigilant, full of feeling for the war against death. In every church there is the need of the sense, the consciousness, of death so that we may fight against it. (Life-study of Numbers, pp. 62-65)

  Further Reading: Life-study of Numbers, msgs. 9-10
Morning Nourishment
1 Sam. 1:11 And she made a vow and said, O Jehovah of hosts, if You...give to Your female servant a male child, then I will give him to Jehovah for all the days of his life, and no razor will come upon his head.

  2:35 And I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest...

  3:20 And all Israel...knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of Jehovah.

  7:15 And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.

  On the human side, Samuel's origin was his God-worshipping parents, especially his God-seeking mother with her prayer (cf. 1 Samuel 1:5, footnote 1). In the midst of the chaos of degraded Israel, Elkanah and Hannah remained in the line of life ordained by God for His eternal purpose (see footnote 3, par. 2, on Gen. 2:9). The line of life is a line that brings forth Christ for the enjoyment of God's people (see footnote 1 on Ruth 4:18), that on earth God may have His kingdom, which is the church as the Body of Christ (Matt. 16:18-19; Rom. 14:17; Eph. 1:22b-23), the very organism of the Triune God. Because of God's moving in her, Hannah could not have peace until she prayed for a son. Hannah's prayer was an echo, a speaking out, of the heart's desire of God. It was a human cooperation with the divine move for the carrying out of God's eternal economy. God could motivate Hannah as a person who was one with Him in the line of life. As long as God can gain such a person, He has a way on earth. (1 Sam. 1:10, footnote 1)
Today's Reading
Hannah's prayer indicates that God's move with His answer to Hannah's prayer (1 Sam. 1:19-20) was to produce a Nazarite who was absolute for the fulfilling of God's desire. A Nazarite is one who is consecrated to God absolutely, one who takes God as the Head, considering God his Husband, and one who has no interest in the enjoyment of worldly pleasures (Num. 6:1-5 and footnotes). Even before he was born, Samuel was consecrated by his mother to be such a person. (1 Sam. 1:11, footnote 1)

  The picture in 1 Samuel 7:2-6 shows a people returning to God, and a man, Samuel, who was one with God on earth. As the acting God on earth, the representative of the very God in heaven to rule over His people on earth, Samuel began to minister.

  Samuel, who was by nature a Levite born of one of the descendants of the great rebel Korah (1 Chron. 6:33-38; cf. Num. 16:1-33), ministered in five statuses: (1) as a Nazarite consecrated to God absolutely for God's fulfillment of His economy, a volunteer to replace any official and formal serving ones of God (1 Sam. 1:11, 28a); (2) as a priest faithful to act on behalf of God, even to appoint and establish kings for the divine government on earth (2:35); (3) as a prophet established by God (3:20) to assist the kings appointed by him as a priest, to speak the word of God to replace the teaching of the word of God by the old priesthood; (4) as a judge (7:15-17) established by God to carry out God's governmental administration, to replace the judging of the people by the old priesthood; and (5) as a man of prayer who prayed for God's elect, the children of Israel (vv. 3-14; 8:6; 15:11b; cf. 12:23), that they would be kept in the way of God, would be one with God, would not be ensnared by the idols of the nations, and would enjoy God as Ebenezer (7:12) that God's desire in His will regarding His elect might be fulfilled. God admitted to Jeremiah that Samuel, like Moses, was a man standing before Him for His people (Jer. 15:1). Moses was a priest (Exo. 29), a prophet (Deut. 18:15, 18), and a judge (Exo. 18:13, 16), and he always prayed for God's people (e.g., Exo. 32:11-13, 31-32). In these matters Samuel was the same. In the Old Testament only Moses and Samuel were qualified to participate fully in the priesthood, the prophethood, and the judgeship. (1 Sam. 7:3, footnote 1)

  Further Reading: Life-study of 1 & 2 Samuel, msg. 5
Morning Nourishment
1 Sam. 13:14 ...Your kingdom will not continue. Jehovah has sought a man according to His heart for Himself, and Jehovah has appointed him ruler over His people; for you have not kept that which Jehovah commanded you.

  Jer. 15:1 And Jehovah said to me, Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My soul would not turn toward this people. Send them out of My sight and let them go.

  Samuel knew that within God's heart there was a desire for a kingdom. God wanted the kingdom to be brought in not through Samuel but through David.

  If you had been Samuel, would you have given any ground for someone to match you or be above you? Samuel was pure and single. He was a Nazarite according to his mother's vow and was altogether not self-seeking. He never sought to gain anything for himself. He had no heart for anything besides God and God's elect. God loved Israel, and His heart was duplicated in Samuel. (Life-study of 1 & 2 Samuel, p. 44)
Today's Reading
Because God's heart was duplicated in Samuel, Samuel did not care for his own interest or gain....Due to the situation at the time, Samuel appointed his sons to be judges, but, contrary to Saul, he had no intention to build up a kingdom for them. His sons did not follow in his ways but went after unjust gain, took bribes, and perverted justice (1 Sam. 8:1-3). When the people asked Samuel to appoint a king, he was not offended by anything related to his sons; on the contrary, he was offended by their desire to replace God (vv. 4-7)....Samuel's concern was not for his children but for God's people. In such a situation it was easy for God to bring in the kingdom.

  Samuel would never have cooperated with God if he had been a self-seeking person....God said to him, "At about this time tomorrow I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him ruler over My people Israel" (9:16). When Saul and his servant came to Samuel, Samuel did exactly as God had instructed.

  Now we can see why Samuel was so useful in the hand of God. He had no self-seeking nor any thought of self-gain. Instead, as a Nazarite, who allowed no razor to come upon his head and who did not drink any wine, he was absolutely for God. He was happy to go wherever God wanted him to go and to do whatever God wanted him to do. He was a man according to God, a man according to God's heart. Therefore, he was a man whom God could use to carry out His economy.

  Many people have a high character, but they are just for themselves, their enterprise, and their kingdom. They are not for God's kingdom. Samuel was not only high in character; he was high in the Nazarite vow.

  It is worthwhile to compare Samuel with another Nazarite—Samson. Samson also was a Nazarite by his mother's vow, but he was very different from Samuel. When the Bible speaks of Samson and the other judges, it often says that the Spirit of God rushed upon them (Judg. 14:6, 19). But there is no such word about Samuel. A Nazarite does not need rushing power; rather, a Nazarite needs a heart that is a reflection of God's heart.

  Although it was not easy for Samuel to stand for God in his particular environment, he cared for God's interest and he turned the age. According to the Old Testament, Samuel is ranked with Moses in being for God and for God's interest (Jer. 15:1).

  God used Samuel to anoint first Saul and then David....Saul only had a monarchy. The kingdom of God came first under David, when God's throne was established in Jerusalem. (Life-study of 1 & 2Samuel, pp. 44-47)

  Jehovah's Spirit came upon Samson (Judg. 13:25; 14:6, 19); there is no doubt that he had the real power of God. Nevertheless, he and so many of the judges had no control over their indulgence in lust. (Life-study of Ruth, p. 38)

  Further Reading: Life-study of 1 & 2 Samuel, msg. 7; Life-study of Judges, msg. 8; Life-study of Ruth, msg. 8

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