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Scripture reading – Judges 13

Today’s Scripture brings us to the cycle we have observed throughout our study in the Book of Judges: Sin leading to Servitude, resulting in Sorrow, and then to Salvation (Repentance).

Judges 13 began with a sad and familiar condition: “The children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord” (13:1). Faithful to His promise, “the Lord delivered [Israel] into the hand of the Philistines forty years” (13:1). Yet, the LORD, merciful and forgiving, had not forgotten Israel. Once again, He sent a man to judge His people and deliver them from their sins.

Judges 13

The Conception and Birth of Samson Foretold (Judges 13:2-5)

The focus of Judges 13 was the angelic announcement of Samson’s conception and his unique dedication within his mother’s womb. His father’s name was Manoah, of the tribe of Dan, and his wife was barren. Although she was childless, Manoah’s wife was a woman of faith. In His time, the LORD sent an “angel” [i.e., a heavenly messenger] to Manoah’s wife (13:3), and to her, it was revealed: “Thou shalt conceive, and bear a son” (13:3).

The son conceived by Manoah’s wife was chosen and predestined to be a servant to the LORD and His people. Understanding her son was dedicated to the LORD, through a Nazarite vow, she was commanded to “drink not wine, nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing” (13:4). She was told the son she would bear would be “a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (13:5). As a Nazarite, her son’s hair was never to be cut (13:5; Numbers 6:1-8).

The Prophecy Shared with Manoah (Judges 13:6-7)

When the angel departed, Manoah’s wife came to her husband with the news that “a man of God” had appeared to her, whose “countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name” (13:6). She told Manoah what had been prophesied, and that her son was to be “a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death” (13:7).

The Prophecy Repeated (Judges 13:8-14)

Manoah did not discount his wife’s tale of her visitor nor the prophecy; however, he longed for the “man of God” to appear to him. He prayed to the LORD to send the messenger again, and said: “Teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born” (13:8). What an excellent request and prayer for every parent: “Lord, ‘teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born!’”

The LORD heeded Manoah’s prayer, and “the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her” (13:9). It was in her solitude that the heavenly messenger returned, and she ran to her husband and said, “Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day” (13:10).

Manoah followed his wife, “and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am” (13:11). “Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?” (13:12) The “angel of the LORD” repeated those things that were prohibited of his wife (13:13-14).

The Respect Afforded the “Angel of the LORD” (Judges 13:15-18)

Manoah desired to be a gracious host and asked the man to stay for a meal, not understanding “he was an angel of the Lord” (13:16). His guest declined but urged Manoah to “offer a burnt offering…unto the LORD” (3:16). When Manoah asked for the name of his guest, that he might honor him when his son was born (13:17), the “angel of the LORD said unto him…it is secret [literally, “It is Wonderful]” (13:18; Isaiah 9:6).

The Revelation of the Visitor’s Heavenly Character (Judges 13:19-23)

Manoah then prepared and offered a young goat to the LORD (13:19), and suddenly a “flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, [and] the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground” (13:20).

At that moment, Manoah and his wife realized their guest had been more than “a man of God” (13:22). He confessed, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God” (13:22). But his wife affirmed her faith, and said, “If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these” (13:23).

Samson’s Birth (Judges 13:24-25)

As the angel of the LORD promised, Manoah’s wife conceived “a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. 25And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp [tribe] of Dan” (13:25).

Closing thoughts:

A heavenly announcement does not precede the conception and birth of sons and daughters in today’s world; nevertheless, every child is a unique, living, eternal soul sent from the Lord. Indeed, fathers and mothers should bear in mind their responsibility to value and dedicate their children to the LORD. Parents should follow the example of Samson’s parents and pray daily to the LORD, “Teach us what we shall do unto the child” (13:8).

Friend, if you are blessed to carry the sacred responsibility of being a parent or grandparent, I invite you not to close today’s devotion without pausing and praying: “LORD, teach us what we shall do unto the child.”

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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