LAST OF THE JUDGES
The Birth Of Samson
The old familiar refrain begins this section as the people do what is evil in the sight of the Lord and the consequences of their disobedience include oppression from the Philistines. This account is different because there is no record of the people calling out to God in their suffering and repenting of their sin. However, God is always saving his people, and he will soon deliver his people once again. The story introduces a couple living in a border region of the area controlled by the Philistines. Life for this husband and wife must have been challenging due to the proximity of the Philistines. Combine these circumstances with the sadness hanging over the family because they had no children and you have a painful existence. The angel of the Lord came to this woman announcing that she would have a child and this son was to be a Nazirite and keep all of the conditions associated with the vow found in Numbers 6:1-21. This son would save Israel from the hand of the Philistines. Almost a century has passed since the angel of the Lord visited but this nameless woman finds favor, and the almighty has come to visit and save his people.
This woman hurries to her husband and declares that she has met with a visitor who was a man of God. It does not seem that she understands this to be God, but she knows that this was no ordinary man because he was like the angel of God, very awesome. She explains to her husband that she did not ask him about his name or where he was from during the exchange and repeated the angel's instructions. Manoah was not with his wife, and he asks the Lord to send the man of God to them again to teach them about how they were to raise this son. God heard this prayer and sent the angel again who met the woman again in a field. She quickly ran to get her husband. The two return to the spot and Manoah inquires about the man's identity receiving the answer I am. Manoah believes this messenger and asks about the child's mission and the way he is to be raised. The instructions are repeated, and this time Manoah's wife is instructed to observe the vow as well.
Fear And Worship
Manoah offers hospitality to this man of God and asks him to stay so that they may prepare a meal for this guest. The angel would not eat a meal, but he would stay if they wished to make an offering to the Lord. Manoah and his wife still do not understand that this is the angel of the Lord. Manoah asks the angel for his name so that they might honor him at the birth of their son. The angel asks Manoah why he wishes to know his name because it is wonderful and he must be content with the revelation that has been given. Manoah prepared the offering and placed it on a rock which served as an altar to the Lord who performs miracles. While the couple was watching, the flames rose and so did the angel who went up in the flame from the altar. This man and woman immediately respond by falling to the ground in worship. The angel would not appear to them again, but Manoah knew that this was the angel of the Lord. Manoah panicked and began to fear for their lives because they had been in the presence of God. His wife calms his fears explaining that if God intended to slay them, he would not have accepted the sacrifice, performed his wonders in front of them, or announced the birth of their son. Manoah's wife conceives, and she gives birth to a son who they name Samson. The boy grew, the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit began to enable him to fulfill his mission.
Things To Consider:
- How do we see the gospel as God chooses to rescue his people?
- How do you think Manoah's wife coped with the news from the angel?
- How do we see the faithfulness of this couple through their actions?
- What offering are we to make under the new covenant (Romans 12:1-2)?
- Where do we find the revelation of God?
- How should we receive God's word?
- Why don't we talk about the fear of the Lord?
- How do we receive the Spirit?
- How can we see the Spirit's activity in us?