Introduction: To most, Judges 13 provides an introduction to God’s final deliverer Samson. But this story is more than his mere introduction. It tells the story of one of Jesus’ many Old Testament pre-incarnate appearances in the. From the events leading to His appearance and His message to Samson’s parents, He reveals several truths about Himself and your need for Him.
First, God punished the Jews and tested their hearts through 40 years of subjugation to the Philistines after they returned to idol worship. From the Jews’ failure to cry out for help from their sins, He reveals that all mankind is in need of Jesus’ deliverance from the consequences of their sins. Second, through the promise of mankind’s final deliverer through a miraculous birth, He foreshadowed the arrival of the true Messiah through a miraculous birth. Third, from the many failures of faith of Samson’s father, a man named Manoah, He reveals that you must believe in Jesus in faith to be delivered. Fourth, Jesus revealed Himself to Samson’s parents by the name “Wonderful.” Isaiah later revealed that the Messiah would hold this title. Jesus fulfilled this title by performing exactly 40 wondrous miracles after His birth. Fifth, during His appearance before Samson’s parents, Jesus rejected an offer to dine with them. After He instructed them to create a sacrifice, He became the sacrifice and ascended to heaven. From this, He revealed that He would become mankind’s sacrifice and then ascend into heaven. Sixth, after realizing that they had met God, Manoah feared that He would die. Manoah’s wife encouraged him to have faith. From this, Jesus reveals that He has come to reconcile us to be in the presence of God the Father without dying. Finally, He filled Samson with the Holy Spirit. From this, He reveals that He will give you the power of the Holy Spirit as well when you believe in Jesus.
The Jews’ failure to seek God’s deliverance from their sins after 40 years of testing. After being rescued from civil strife by God’s ninth through eleventh deliverers (Ibzan, Elon and Abdon) (Jdgs. 12:8-15), the Jews once again returned to idolatry. To help the Jews to turn back to Him, God tested their hearts by placing them under the oppression of the Philistines for forty years: “1 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years.” (Jdgs. 13:1). The “evil” that the Jews committed was to forget God and serve the Canaanite fertility gods Baal and Asheroth: “The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.” (Jdgs. 3:7; 2:11-13; Dt. 31:16). The “forty” years of oppression symbolized God’s testing (cf., Jdgs. 3:4; Dt. 8:2; Ex. 34:28; Lk. 4:2). He frequently tests a believer’s heart to show where it is evil (Jer. 17:10; 20:12). What made this period of testing unique in the book of Judges was the failure of the Jews to turn back to God and cry out for deliverance. The Jews previously cried out for help a total of six times. First, after their initial disobedience following Joshua’s death, they cried out from the pain of their sins, and God brought them Othniel (Jdgs. 3:9). Second, following Othniel’s death, they sinned again cried out from the pain of their sins. He then brought them Ehud (Jdgs. 3:15). Third, following Ehud’s death, they sinned and cried out a third time. He then sent Deborah and Barak as joint delivers (Jdgs. 4:3-8). Fourth, following their deaths, they sinned and cried out a fourth time. He then sent Gideon (Jdgs. 6:6-14). Fifth, following the deaths of Tola and Jair, they sinned and cried out a fifth time. But He rejected their insincere cry (Jdgs. 10:10). Sixth, after they cried out again (yet without a change in behavior), He empowered the Jews’ appointed pagan deliverer Jephthah (Jdgs. 15; 11:29). Six is the number representing mankind. It is incomplete. The Jews had simply given up on crying out for help. God then gave them Samson as an incomplete and flawed final deliverer. He gave them Samson to demonstrate their need for Him to save them. They could not save themselves. Their final cry for help (which would come later) would bring the true Messiah, Jesus Christ. He is the one and only true deliverer of mankind.
God handed His rebellious people into bondage1
All mankind has sinned and is in need of deliverance from their sins. Like many people today, the Jews failed to cry out in their oppression because they failed to see themselves as sinners in need of deliverance. The universal sin of mankind is a central tenet of the Bible: “as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one;” (Ro. 3:10). “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Ro. 3:23). “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 Jo. 1:8). “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” (Ecc. 7:20). “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin?’” (Prov. 20:9). “And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no man living is righteous.” (Ps. 143:2; Jer. 2:35; Job 14:4; 15:14; 25:4). If you could make it to heaven based upon your works, did Christ really need to die on the cross for you? (Gal. 2:21).
God is faithful, even when you are not. Why would God intervene to deliver His people when they had failed to ask for help? Because He promised that He would never forget His covenant with His people: “ . . . ‘I will never break My covenant with you,”’’ (Jdgs. 2:1). “then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.” (Lev. 26:42; Gen 35:11-12). “And He remembered His covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.” (Ps. 106:45). He is faithful even when you are not. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13). Many believers take Jesus for granted by returning to their sins. Do you give thanks for His faithfulness after you break your promises to Him?
The western world also needs to cry out for deliverance from its sins. Like the Jews in that time period, the western world has largely stopped crying out to God and repenting of its sins. At various times, different parts of the world are hit with earthquakes, droughts, wildfires, insect invasions, diseases, or wars. Also like the Jews, believers have stopped asking whether God might be using these disasters to test their hearts and bring them to repentance. Like the Jews, believers need to repent and cry out to Him.
The promise of a final deliverer who would come through a miraculous birth. God revealed to the wife of a man named Manoah that His final, twelfth deliverer would come through a miraculous birth: “2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. 3 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son.” (Jdgs. 13:2-3). In this account, Manoah’s wife demonstrates that she (unlike Manoah) was a person of faith. The promise of a miraculous birth parallels Sarah’s conception. By faith, both conceived in barren wombs: “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.” (Heb. 11:11; Gen. 17:19; 18:11; 21:2). The account also foreshadows the future promise and the future fulfillment of Mary’s virgin birth: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Lk. 1:27-35; Gal. 4:4). There is, however, one important difference in these parallels. Manoah’s wife would give birth to a flawed deliverer. By contrast, Mary would give birth to the perfect deliverer, Jesus.
God’s messenger’s promise of a deliverer set apart for Him who would deliver the Jews. Because this twelfth deliverer of Israel would need to be set apart for God, his mother had to promise to raise him according to the Nazirite vow of separation, even while in the womb: “4 Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. 5 For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.’” 6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, ‘A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’’ (Jdgs. 13:4-7). As a Nazirite, Samson had seven signs that were meant to remind him that he was setting him apart for God’s use. First, God created him from a barren womb. Second, God sent him to deliver the Jews, a task that he would only partially complete. Third, to remind him of his separation and his special purpose, he could not have alcohol, even in the womb: “he shall abstain from wine and strong drink; he shall drink no vinegar, whether made from wine or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried grapes. All the days of his separation he shall not eat anything that is produced by the grape vine, from the seeds even to the skin.” (Nu. 6:3-4). Fourth, he also could not cut his hair. This was also to remind him to be holy and separated for God’s use: ‘“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 the LORD; he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long.”’ (Nu. 6:5). Fifth, he could not touch or go near a dead body (Nu. 6:6-7). This rule was to remind him to be spiritually clean at all times. Sixth, he could not eat anything that was unclean (Jdg. 13:4). The sixth rule applied to all the Jews (Lev. 11:1-47; Dt. 14:1-21). The fact that God had to repeat this rule suggests that most Jews, including the Manoah family, had failed to follow it. This again showed God’s grace is using an undeserving family to bring deliverance to an undeserving nation. Finally, although a Nazirite vow could be for any period of time, Samson’s vow would last until the day of his death (Jdgs. 13:7). Yet, when he became a man, he failed to internalize his outward symbols. True godliness comes from the inside, not outward symbols. For this reason, God told the Jews to circumcise their hearts (Dt. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4). Although the Holy Spirit gave him great power, he only had a form of godlessness. Believers are to avoid these types of persons: “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.” (2 Tim. 3:5). Does your inward piety and obedience match your outward signs that others may see?
God also anointed you in the womb to serve Him and help deliver others. In a direct parallel to this account, God’s messenger also advised Zacharias before the birth of John the Baptist that he would need to live set apart according to the Nazarite vow, even while in the womb: “But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb.”’ (Lk. 1:13-15). God also anointed Jeremiah before he was born: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:5). He also formed you in your mother’s womb: “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.” (Ps. 139:13). “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, ‘I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone,”’ (Is. 44:24). “Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.” (Ps. 119:73). He made you out of love with a plan for you before you were born: “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,” (Eph. 1:4-5). The fact that God made you is an outward sign of His love for you. Unlike Samson, you must internalize His calling and walk with more than a form of godliness.
Every baby is God’s special creation in the womb. Many see restrictions on abortion as an intrusion upon women's rights. Yet, if we accept as true God’s revelations that He specially creates each baby in the womb, what must He think when we abort thousands of His creations every year? Should we expect His blessings when we reject His Word?
Samson would “begin” the process of deliverance, but fail to complete it. The prophecy of Samson’s birth did not claim that he would successfully deliver the Jews. Instead, he would only begin the process and then fail in his task: ‘“and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”’ (Jdgs. 13:5(b)). This shows that God knew the future. He sent Samson knowing in advance that he would ultimately fail. Why then would He send Samson? He wanted the Jews to come to their own understanding that, after 12 deliverers, that they could not be delivered on their own. Yet, instead of coming to this conclusion, the Jews would come to believe that they needed a king to be delivered. The kings, however, were also flawed and could not deliver His people. There is only one true deliverer between mankind and God the Father, Jesus: “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim. 2:5). “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). Like the Jews, you are at times oppressed and suffer. Is Jesus the only place you turn to for deliverance?
Manoah’s failures of faith. Instead of reacting with joy to his wife’s news, Manoah was jealous that God’s messenger did not speak to him directly. In that culture, the man was in charge. Thus, he pleaded for God to give him a more detailed message than his wife received: “8 Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.’ 9 God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, ‘Behold, the man who came the other day has appeared to me.’ 11 Then Manoah arose and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, ‘Are you the man who spoke to the woman?’ And he said, ‘I am.’ 12 Manoah said, ‘Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?’ 13 So the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘Let the woman pay attention to all that I said. 14 She should not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; let her observe all that I commanded.’” (Jdgs. 13:8-14). In this chapter, Manoah’s faith failed a total of seven times. First, he failed to accept the message given through his wife by demanding that God repeat the message to him (Jdgs. 13:8). His pride must have been bruised when the messenger appeared again to his wife who believed in faith and not to him. Second, he demanded confirmation from the messenger that he was the same messenger, even after his wife introduced him (Jdgs. 13:11). Third, instead of accepting the instructions his wife received, he demanded detailed instructions about the boy’s “mode of life” or how they were to raise him (Jdgs. 13:12). Fourth, he demanded to know the boy’s vocation (Jdgs. 13:12). Fifth, instead of receiving answers to his questions, the messenger repeated the instructions to his wife. This included the prohibition on eating unclean things. This suggests that the messenger’s real motive in coming was to keep the husband from causing the child to stumble because of his own failure to follow God’s Law. Sixth, in the next section, he failed to discern that he was speaking with God’s messenger when he treated him like a human visitor by requesting that they share a meal and by demanding to know his name (Jdgs. 13:15-17). Finally, after he later realized that the messenger was in fact God, he again lacked faith and feared for his life (Jdgs. 13:22). His seven failures of his faith are recorded for you so that you avoid them.
Without faith, it is impossible to be saved or please Jesus. Today, many act like Manoah by refusing to accept the Word, as revealed to others in the Bible. Like Manoah, many will not believe without their own private revelation from God. But it is impossible to please Him when you act without faith: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith.’” (Ro. 1:17; 3:22; Hab. 2:4). “and they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” (Jo. 4:42). Thus, you must accept in faith Jesus’ Word as revealed to God’s prophets in the Bible. If someone does receive a message from the Holy Spirit, don’t be jealous like Manoah by demanding a private revelation of your own. If you feel your faith is lacking, God promises that it will come when you study and hear His Word: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Ro. 10:17). “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” (Col. 3:16). Your faith is like a muscle that will atrophy if it is not exercised. To boost your faith, are you reading the Word and praying daily?
God’s messenger’s name was “Wonderful”. As part of his failures of faith, Manoah demanded that God’s messenger dine with him and reveal his name, as if he were an equal man. He did not yet realize that he was speaking directly with God: “15 Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, ‘Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.’ 16 The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.’ For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord. 17 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, ‘What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?’ 18 But the angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?’” (Jdgs. 13:15-17). The term “wonderful” was not used an adjective. It was a noun that symbolized His power to perform miracles. The term “wonderful” referred to the wondrous miracles that only God could perform: “The LORD said to Moses, ‘When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.”’ (Ex. 4:21). “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 7:3). “Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.” (Ex. 11:11). “Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” (Ex. 15:11). “Who does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number.” (Job 5:9). “Who does great things, unfathomable, and wondrous works without number.” (Job 9:10). “Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count.” (Ps. 40:5). “To Him who alone does great wonders, for His lovingkindness is everlasting;” (Ps. 136:4). Manoah’s failure to understand the messenger’s true identity foreshadowed mankind’s failure to realize Jesus’ identity.
It was Jesus who appeared to Samson’s father2
Jesus the “Wonderful”. Through Isaiah, God revealed that the messenger with the name “Wonderful” was in fact Jesus: “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6). There were seven things about His identity that made Him Wonderful: (1) He is God (Jo. 1:1, 14); (2) He created all things (Col. 1:15-16); (3) He was also a man without sin (2 Cor. 5:21); (3) He was miraculously born from a virgin (Matt. 1:18-23); (4) His is omnipotent (all-powerful) (Matt. 28:18); (5) He is omniscient (all-knowing) (Jo. 16:30); (6) He is omnipresence (everywhere-present) (Matt. 28:20); and (7) He brings salvation for those who believed in Him (Jo. 3:16). To confirm that He was God incarnate with the power to save, He first fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. He also performed 40 miracles as an adult to confirm His identity. These include: (1) His turning water into wine (Jo. 2:1-11); (2) His miraculous first catch of fish (Lk. 5:1-11); (3) His driving out an evil spirit (Mk. 1:21-27; Lk. 4:31-36); (4) His healing a royal official’s son (Jo. 4:43-54); (5) His healing of a leper (Matt. 8:1-4; Mk. 1:40-45; Lk. 5:12-14); (6) His healing Peter’s mother-in-law (Matt. 8:14-15; Mk. 1:29-31; Lk. 4:38-39); (7) His healing many sick people during one encounter (Matt. 8:16-17; Mk. 1:32-31); (8) His healing a centurion’s servant (Matt. 8:5-13; Lk. 7:1-10); (9) His healing of a paralytic man (Matt. 9:1-8; Mk. 2:1-12; Lk. 5:17-26); (10) His healing of a man’s disabled hand (Matt. 12:9-14; Mk. 3:1-6; Lk. 6:6-11); (11) His control over the weather to calm a storm (Matt. 8:23-27; Mk. 4:35-41; Lk. 8:22-25); (12) His exorcism of many demons from a man into a herd of pigs (Matt. 8:28-33; Mk. 5:1-20; Lk. 8:26-39); (13) His raising of a widow’s son (Lk. 7:11-17); (14) His healing a woman in a crowd who bled for 12 years (Matt. 9:20-22; Mk. 5:25-34; Lk. 8:42-48); (15) His raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Matt. 9:18, 23-26; Mk. 5:21-24, 35-43; Lk. 8:40-42, 49-56); (16) His healing two blind men (Matt. 9:27-31); (17) His healing a mute man (Matt. 9:32-34); (18) His healing a disabled man at Bethesda (Jo. 5:1-15); (19) His exorcising and healing of a blind and mute demon-possessed man (Matt. 12:22-23; Lk. 11:14-23); (20) His feeding the 5,000 followers with five bread loaves and two fish (Matt. 14-13-21; Mk. 6:30-44; Lk. 9:10-17; Jo. 6:1-15); (21) His walking on water (Matt. 14:22-33; Mk. 6:45-52; Jo. 6:16-21); (22) His healing the sick in Gennesaret (Matt. 14:34-36; Mk. 6:53-56); (23) His healing a demon-possessed daughter (Matt. 15:21-28; Mk. 7:24-30); (24) His healing of a deaf and dumb man (Mk. 7:31-37); (25) His healing of a crowd of lame, crippled, blind, mute, and others (Matt. 15:29-31); (26) His feeding of 4,000 (Matt. 15:32-39; Mk. 8:1-13); (27) His healing the blind man at Bethsaida (Mk. 8:22-26); (28) His healing the man who was born blind (Jo. 9:1-12); (29) His exorcising a boy with a demon (Matt. 17:14-20; Mk. 9:14-29; Lk. 9:37-43); (30) a temple shekel that He miraculously made appear in a fish’s mouth (Matt. 17:24-27); (31) His healing of a crippled woman (Lk. 13:10-17); (32) His healing of a man with “dropsy” on the Sabbath (Lk. 13:10-17); (33) His healing of ten lepers (Lk. 17:11-19); (34) His raising of Lazarus from the dead (Jo. 11:1-45); (35) His restoring the sight of Bartimaeous (Matt. 20:29-34; 10:46-52; Lk. 18:35-43); (36) His withering of a fig tree (Matt. 21:18-22; Mk. 11:12-14); (37) His healing a soldier’s severed ear (Lk. 22:50-51); (38) His miraculous catch of fish (Jo. 21:4-11); (39) His resurrection from the grave (Matt. 28:1-20); and (40) His ascension into heaven (Lk. 24:50-53; Mk. 16:19; Acts 1:9-11). Not all of His miracles are recorded (Jo. 21:25). These 40 recorded miracles are recorded to test the faith of each person to accept Him as Lord and Savior. You may say that you believe in Him. But does He rule as Lord over every aspect of your life?
The messenger becomes the sacrifice and ascends to heaven. At the messenger’s direction, Manoah prepared a sacrifice. To his astonishment, the messenger then became the sacrifice and ascended to heaven: “19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.” (Jdgs. 19-20). At this point, Manoah’s eyes were open that he had met God Himself. Instead of trying to pepper his visitor with questions, he bowed down and worshiped Him. The messenger’s transformation into the sacrifice and His ascension to heaven both foreshadowed Christ.
The messenger of the Lord became the sacrifice3
Christ became the sacrifice for all and then rose from the dead to be with the Father. Jesus was without sin. But He became mankind’s sacrifice and experienced the fire of hell so that you will never have to experience it. “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” (Is. 53:7). “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”’ (Jo. 1:29; Acts 8:32). “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21). “and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 Jo. 2:2). “You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.” (1 Jo. 3:5). Yet, like Manoah’s messenger, He did not die in the sacrificial fire. He instead rose from the grave after three days and ascended to be at the right hand of the Father: “and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Cor. 15:4; Acts 2:24). “So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mk. 16:19). Even though his faith failed him, Manoah bowed down and worshiped Jesus. How intensely and frequently are you worshiping Him?
Willem Drost (1633-1659) The Angel Ascends after Manoah’s Sacrifice (drawing 1655)4
Manoah’s fear of dying after meeting Jesus. After realizing that He had met God, Manoah feared for his life. Yet, his wife told him to have faith: “21 Now the angel of the Lord did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 So Manoah said to his wife, ‘We will surely die, for we have seen God.’ 23 But his wife said to him, ‘If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time.’” (Jdgs. 13:21-23). Manoah knew the Scriptures. He could not see God and live: “But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”’ (Ex. 33:20). The reason he did not die was because he in fact met Jesus: “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (Jo. 1:18). Manoah’s name meant “rest.” Jesus would fulfill and give meaning to his name.
Jesus reconciled you with God. Jesus has also reconciled you to God the Father (2 Cor. 5:19). Yet, as Manoah discovered, His fellowship cannot exist unless you accept first His sacrifice. If you accept His sacrifice, He offers to dine with you in fellowship, just as Manoah wanted to do (Rev. 3:30). Are you accepting Jesus’ offer of fellowship?
Samson’s power from the Holy Spirit. After creating Samson in a barren womb, God filled him with the power of the Holy Spirit: “24 Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the Lord blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.” (Jdgs. 13:24-25). The power of the Spirit foreshadows the power given to all believers.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Samson gives birth5
God has also given you a Spirit of strength. Like Samson, Jesus has given you a Spirit of power: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7). “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 Jo. 4:4). Are you letting His Spirit guide you and strengthen you to do His will?
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