Morning & Evening Devotional Reading–
August 29– Evening
by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and edited by W. C. Neff
“[The one who takes the Nazarite vow] will eat nothing from the vine— not even the seeds or the skin.'”
Nazarites had taken a special vow– one which barred them from the use of wine. In order that they might not violate the obligation, they were forbidden to drink even the vinegar of wine or strong liquors. And to make the separation still more clear, they were not even to touch the unfermented juice of grapes nor the fruit– fresh or dried. To secure the integrity of the vow, they were not allowed anything that had to do with the vine at all.
Surely this is a lesson to the Lord’s separated ones. It teaches them to come away from sin in every form, to avoid not merely its outwards forms but even its spirit and likeness. To take personal conduct seriously is despised in these days, but rest assured, dear reader, it is both the safest and the happiest pathway. The Christian who yields a point or two to the world is in great danger; he who eats the grapes of Sodom will soon drink the wine of Gomorrah. A little crevice in the sea-bank in Holland lets in the sea, and the gap speedily swells until a whole province is drowned.
Worldly conformity in any degree is a snare to the soul and makes it more and more liable to presumptuous sins. Just as the Nazarite was to stay away even from something as innocent as grape juice to keep his vow intact, so the Christian who is serious about righteous living must keep his conscience clear by guarding himself even from seemingly innocent activities. If we wonder whether something is harmful to us, we don’t need to wonder any further; we should consider it to be off-limits for us. Don’t dally with such things but flee from them with speed. Better to be sneered at as a Puritan than to be despised as a hypocrite. Careful living involves much self-denial, but it has pleasures of its own which are more than a sufficient reward. [M&E]