Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Judges 13:5 (NIV)
“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.”
Judges 13:5 (MSG)
“You are, in fact, pregnant right now, carrying a son. No razor will touch his head—the boy will be God’s Nazirite from the moment of his birth. He will launch the deliverance from Philistine oppression.”
“For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite [dedicated] to God from birth; and he shall begin to rescue Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” -AMPLIFIED
Remember, the people of Israel had once again done evil in the sight of the Lord. God then allowed the evil nation of the Philistines oppress them once again. This dictatorship and subjection would last for forty years, but we find God providing and preparing His deliverer before that time.
Judges 13 tells us of a man named Manoah, whose wife was unable to have children, and they were childless. We find Manoah’s wife having an extraordinary encounter one day. A Messenger from God came to her and told her, “You are barren and have no children, but all of that is about to change. You will conceive and have a son. Be careful that you don’t drink wine or any other spirits (strong drink), and don’t eat anything that is ritually impure, for you are going to become pregnant and have a son. Don’t ever use a razor on his head, because you will raise this boy as a Nazirite, dedicated to the True God from his conception, and he will be the one to begin delivering Israel from the Philistines.” -Judges 13:3-5 (VOICE)
This child, that Manoah’s wife would bare, would be a Nazarite from birth. In fact, Manoah’s wife was to subject herself to the laws of the Nazarite vow even while she was pregnant. She was forbidden to drink wine or any other intoxicating drinks. She was also told not to eat anything ceremonially unclean. God was preparing this child that she would carry to do great things for Him right from the time of conception.
The Messenger left and Manoah’s wife ran to tell her husband about the encounter that she had with the Messenger from God. “Then the woman went 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. I did not ask Him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name. But He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or [any other] intoxicating drink, nor eat anything [ceremonially] unclean, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from birth to the day of his death.’” -Judges 13:6-7 (AMP)
We now find something of utmost importance; Manoah prayed and implored God to send the Messenger back so that they could learn more about how they were to raise this boy who was to be the delivered. “Then Manoah pleaded with the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do for the boy who is to be born.” -Judges 13:8 (AMP)
Though the majority of people had turned away from God we find that there were still a few who are seeking God. Manoah and his wife desired a good thing; to be taught how to raise their child in the right way. They sought something that we should all seek God’s wisdom, guidance and direction. In a time of apostasy and infidelity among the people of Israel, this two were a kernel of hope. (If only Samson had learned from his godly parents and made wiser choices.)
Robert Jamieson notes this about Manoah, “Manoah’s intense desire for the repetition of the angel’s visit was prompted not by doubts or anxieties of any kind, but was the fruit of lively faith, and of his great anxiety to follow out the instructions given. Blessed was he who had not seen, yet had believed.” -Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Scripture tells us that God did indeed hear Manoah’s request and He sent the Messenger back to speak with them both. “And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the Angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the Man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” Then Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the Man and said to him, “Are you the Man who spoke to this woman?” He said, “I am.” And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what shall be the boy’s manner of life, and his vocation?” The Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “The woman must pay attention to everything that I said to her.” -Judges 13:9-13
Manoah and his wife not only sought after God’s direction in their lives, but they desired God to send that deliverer to save the people of Israel. They were not so focused on themselves that they did not see what God wanted for their people as a whole.
God had told the people that there would be times that they foolishly wandered away from Him, but He gave them this promise. “And there you will serve [false and foreign] gods, the work of human hands, [lifeless images of] wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell [the offerings of food given to them]. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and tribulation and all these things come on you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful and compassionate God; He will not fail you, nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” -Deuteronomy 4:28-31 (AMP)
Seek God while He may be found!
Lord, I want to be constantly seeking you and your direction in my life. Manoah and his wife stayed true to you even when everyone else turned their backs on you; focusing instead on false gods and their own happiness and satisfaction. In a nation that had strayed far from you and your ways they were the nonconformists; they sought after you and your ways and you rewarded them for their faithfulness. Let me be a nonconformist too. I want to conform to your ways. I want to be like Jesus; not the World. Help me to seek to do things your way, dear Lord.