Faith and Common Sense
The Lord is “slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psa. 86:15). Worship God with these words.
Read Judges 13:1-25
 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.  A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth.  The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son.  Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean.  You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”  Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name.  But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.'”  Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”  God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.  The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”  Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?” “I am,” he said.  So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?”  The angel of the LORD answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her.  She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”  Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.”  The angel of the LORD replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.)  Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”  He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.”  Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched:  As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.  When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD.  “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”  But his wife answered, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”  The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him,  and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat special plan did God have for this promised son?
God never gives up on his people. Throughout our readings in Judges, we have seen a pattern of unfaithfulness in the people of Israel: as soon as Joshua died (2:11), in the time of Deborah (4:1), in Gideon’s days (6:1) and now in the time of Samson (13:1). They “provoked the Lord to anger” (2:12), but in his compassion, he repeatedly made plans for their salvation (5). God always has a plan and this time he chooses an unlikely person to set it in motion. Women in Canaan at this time were in some ways second-class citizens. Childless women were often rejected by their husbands and sometimes even considered cursed. The writer of Judges does not even record her name. This woman, however, chooses to believe God’s Word. Manoah seems to be a “good” man wanting to honor the “angel of God” whom he later meets, but he lacks his wife’s faith, not accepting her words without proof. He also lacks her common sense at the end of the chapter, convinced “Now we’re going to die!” She is rewarded with the joy of children (16:31 speaks of his brothers) and the honor of choosing her first son’s name.
What plan might God have for you? Will you willingly carry it out? Faith and obedience are enough.
Lord, I thank You that You have a good plan for me, Help me to know it and obey it.