And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” Then Manoah prayed to 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 with the child who will be born.”- Judges 13:1-5,8 ESV
The book of Judges is an interesting book. It is one of the books in the Bible that we do NOT know for sure who the writer is. It is believed by many to be written by Samuel the profit. It is understood that the writer of this book had to live shortly after the period of the Judges, and this further points to Samuel, since he fits this qualification. ‘Got Questions dot org’, has a unique description of the book of Judges: The Book of Judges is a tragic account of how God was taken for granted by His children year after year, century after century. Judges is a sad contrast to the book of Joshua which chronicles the blessings God bestowed on the Israelites for their obedience in conquering the land. After the death of Joshua and his contemporaries, the Israelites returned to serving Baal and Ashtaroth. God allowed the Israelites to suffer the consequences of worshiping false gods. It was then that the people of God would cry out to Yahweh for help. God sent His children judges to lead them in righteous living. But time after time they would turn their backs on God and return to their lives of wickedness. However, keeping His part of the covenant with Abraham, God would save His people from their oppressors throughout the 480-year span of the Book of Judges. This 7th book in the Old Testament covers the time between the conquest described in the Book of Joshua and the establishment of a kingdom in the Books of Samuel, during which biblical judges served as temporary leaders. The stories follow a consistent pattern: the people are unfaithful to Yahweh and he therefore delivers them into the hands of their enemies; the people repent and entreat Yahweh for mercy, which he sends in the form of a leader a “judge. The judge delivers the Israelites from oppression and they prosper, but soon they fall again into unfaithfulness and the cycle is repeated. The cycle is repeated because of our nature, because of our sin, and because we are naturally at war with God.
Leader, Samuel in his letters bearing his name, alludes to this pattern of warring AGAINST GOD! If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God. If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the command of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers. (1 Samuel 12:14-15) Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry…. (1 Samuel 15:22-23) What we are seeing is the NATURE OF MAN. When things are going bad, they are tough, not the way we want- we cry out to God and beg Him for help, and blame Him for our problems. It is referred to as, “Jailhouse Religion”. This is the 7th book of the Bible, and 7 times in this book does it say, “And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD”. Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). God is showing us a COMPLETE image of man, that we want what we want, and many walk with God solely for what He can give them when they are in need! 40 represents Judgement and notice how they were allowed to be ruled by their enemy for 40 years. Let us focus now on Samson. Samson had a “pre-conception” experience remarkably similar to those that played a big part in the Salvation of Mankind. His Mother and Father were met by an angel of the Lord before His conception and was given instructions on the child- before there was a fertilized seed. This is similar to Samuel, John the Baptist, and of course Jesus. God is OMNISCIENT, He has perfect knowledge, and He sits above time. So He knows all things, and He can be anywhere on the TIMELINE, at any time. This understanding should give us peace, and rest. Manoah means REST, PEACE- notice the underlying message of walking with God; Rest and Peace!
Conduit, what is interesting about Samson versus John the Baptist, Samuel and Jesus is that Samson was not the picture of an obedient and righteous man like the other three. Samson constantly fed his fleshly desires, did things that got him in trouble and would put himself in situations that would cause him to fall and live below his blessing and his calling- just like we do. Of the 4 whose parents were notified, preconception. about their son, none was closer to the reality of who we are in our FLESH, than Samson! Samson, like us, was the epitome of what the Apostle John talked about in his first epistle. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever”. (1 John 2:15-17) Yet Samson was used by God and represents God’s unrelenting love and the fact that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us. The promise “I will never leave you nor forsake you” was first given to Israel and Joshua before entering the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 31:6). Encouragingly, Moses reminded Joshua that, as the succeeding leader, “the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). See also Jacob (Genesis 28:15), Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:5, 9), Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:20). The same commitment remains in the NEW TESTAMENT. The author of Hebrews restates the promise of God’s eternal presence with believers (Hebrews 13:5). The promise is preceded by a command: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” Instead of trusting in riches or material goods, which will ultimately fail, believers should place their hope in God, who promises, “I will never leave you and I will never forsake you” God loves us because of WHO HE IS, not because of who we are. God loves us because of what JESUS did on the cross, not because of what you did, or DID NOT do! God used the lustful, prideful, rebellious, revengeful, narcissistic, sinful MAN OF GOD- Samson, to begin the defeat of one of Israel’s greatest enemies, the Philistines! David would finish the work of Samson. Like all of us, at the end of his life- Samson called out to God one last time. “Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life.” (Judges 16:28-30) God still would NOT LEAVE Samson, nor forsake him, just like you and I! God is waiting for our return! He’s listening and watching!