We are in a series called Live Stronger. The life of Samson is our topic. Please join us in reading along in Judges Chapters 13-16. Today we’ll look more at God’s plan for his life and how his parents were involved.
In our last post (click here), we saw an angel appear to Samson’s parents. Before Samson was born he was given responsibilities to serve the Lord and his nation. Consider the last responsibility he would have:
A home to honor (vv. 6-23). Manoah’s wife immediately told her husband about the stranger’s visit and message, although neither of them yet knew that the visitor was the Lord (v. 16). Manoah assumed that he was “a man of God,” perhaps a visiting prophet; and he prayed that the Lord would send the man back. We can’t help but be impressed with the devotion of this husband and wife to each other and to the Lord. The time of the judges was one of apostasy and anarchy, but there were still Jewish homes that were dedicated to the Lord and that believed in prayer; and God was still working through them.
God answered Manoah’s prayer and gave him an opportunity to ask an important question, which the angel of the Lord never answered: “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy’s life and work?” (v. 12, NIV) The Old Testament Law not only gave instructions concerning Nazirites and clean and unclean foods, but also it told parents how to raise their children (Deut. 6). It wasn’t necessary for the Lord to give Manoah and his wife additional instructions when the Word of God already told them what to do. The messenger simply repeated the warning he had already given to Manoah’s wife.
Wanting to be a good and appreciative host, Manoah asked the guest to wait while he and his wife prepared a meal for him (6:18-19; Gen. 18:1-8). The stranger’s cryptic reply was that he wouldn’t eat their food but would permit them to offer a burnt offering to the Lord. After all, their promised son was a gift from God, and they owed the Lord their worship and thanks.
But Manoah thought to himself, If I can’t honor this man of God now, perhaps I can do it in the future after his words come true and the baby boy has been born. (Note that Manoah believed the announcement and said “when” and not “if.”) Manoah would have to know the man’s name so he could locate him nine months later, but the man wouldn’t tell his name except to say it was “wonderful.” (See Gen. 32:29.)
This is the same word used to name the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6; it is translated “wondrously” in Judges 13:19 of KJV, (NIV says “an amazing thing”).
Ordinarily, Jewish worshipers had to bring their offerings to the tabernacle altar at Shiloh; but since the “man of God” commanded Manoah to offer the burnt offering, it was permissible to do it there, using a rock as the altar. Suddenly, the visitor ascended to heaven in the flame! Only then did Manoah and his wife discover that their visitor was an angel from the Lord. This frightened Manoah, because the Jews believed that nobody could look upon God and live (see 6:19-23). Using common sense, Manoah’s wife convinced him that they couldn’t die and fulfill God’s promises at the same time.
*Life Application: Perhaps there are things that stir your heart. These may indicate areas where God wants to use you. God uses a variety of means to develop and prepare us: hereditary traits, environmental influences, and personal experiences. As with Samson, this preparation often begins long before adulthood. Work at being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and the tasks God has prepared for you. Your past may be more useful to you than you imagine.
We cam be strong with God’s help.
Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) – Old Testament
Life Application Bible Notes