When Samson's story began the Lord had delivered the Israelites into the hands of the Philistines because of their pervasive cycle of disobedience; this time for 40 years. Before Samson was born, God had it in mind that Samson would be the deliverer and judge for the Israelites. Samson's birth was prophetic. An angel appeared to Samson's mother, whom I've christened Mrs. Manoah since she is never identified by name, and told her she would have a son. This was a miracle because up until that point she and Manoah - Samson's father, could not conceive. The angel said, "Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” There is another instance in the Bible where an angel visited a woman and foretold a birth - the Angel Gabriel to Mary regarding Jesus. Samson was a type of Christ, as a Nazarite to God, a Nazarite from the womb. For, though Jesus was not a Nazarite himself, yet he was typified by the Nazarites, as being perfectly pure from all sin, not so much as conceived in it, and entirely devoted to his Father’s honor. (Matthew Henry Commentary)
Mrs. Manoah recognized that she had just had a Godly appointment and ran to tell her husband. He had slight doubt because he wanted additional information and confirmation on this son. He may have been wondering just how this was going to happen.
Mrs. Manoah believed all along; Mr. Manoah had to be convinced just a little bit more.
The angel appeared again to Mrs. Manoah and this time Manoah gets to meet the angel not knowing that he was in the presence of God. In response to Manaoh's question of how they should raise the boy, the angel reiterated what he told Mrs. Manoah but he never provided specifics on how they should raise Samson. Manoah insisted on serving their guest, but the guest - the Angel tells them to make an offering to the Lord. "I will stay,” the angel of the Lord replied, “but I will not eat anything. However, you may prepare a burnt offering as a sacrifice to the Lord.” Manoah didn’t realize it was the angel of the Lord. (Judges 13:16)
Scripture points out that Manoah did not realize at this point that he was conversing with an angel of God which upon reading would indicate that he was leaning in that direction. Everything is lined up to show it's a supernatural event and yet he still did not know he was in the presence of the Lord. God was speaking to him through his wife, giving him clear instruction, having dialogue and only after he miraculously disappeared does Manoah recognize he was in the presence of God. I am challenged and convicted by this passage. Only after one final event, one final blaze of glory, do we finally grasp what God is trying to tell us.
His wife knew all along and upon his realization, Manoah becomes fearful. She told him to relax for if we were going to die it would have happened already. “If the Lord were going to kill us, he wouldn’t have accepted our burnt offering and grain offering. He wouldn’t have appeared to us and told us this wonderful thing and done these miracles.” Mrs. Manoah provided the encouragement that Manoah needed through her calm faith. This act by Mrs. Manoah is a perfect example of what it means to be a helpmeet.
In the prophecy from the angel to Mrs. Manoah, Samson's role was delineated - he was to begin the Israelite's deliverance from the Philistines. Judges 13:4-5 Mrs. Manoah was given special instructions of what to do during the pregnancy and then Samson's role was stated. He was the last judge but he doesn't complete their deliverance. David came after to complete their deliverance from the Philistines.
Another rarely mentioned fact about Samson is that the Spirit of the Lord was on Samson from a very young age and as we go further into Samson's story, it was the source of Samson's strength. No one could understand how Samson was so strong; perhaps his look did not indicate strength. But yet he was very strong and it was only because of the Spirit of the Lord.
Judges 13 provides an initial framework for the life of Samson. Keep in mind, though he is known for his poor decisions, he too is mentioned as a hero of faith in Hebrews. God wants us to understand, that just like Samson - flaws and all, we can still be used by Him. We don't know everyone's beginning or what God has in store for anyone, but God does, so we should engage a heavenly perspective to see how God may be working in our lives and others.
Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. Isaiah 46:10
Have you had a divine appointment and were unaware? Do you know the promises God has for you? For your children? Are you a faithful encourager to your spouse?
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