In Judges Chapter 13, an angel appears to Manoah’s wife, whom scripture states “...was barren and had no children...” (vs. 2) and reveals to her that she is going to have a baby. The angel of the Lord tells her that she is “...to become pregnant and give birth to a son.” (vs. 3) He gives her some rules to accompany the pregnancy and then drops a bomb. The angel tells Manoahs’ wife that her son “...will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” (vs. 5)
Okay, at this point I would be in disbelief. If I had been unable to have children for years and then an ANGEL came to me and told me I was going to have a child, more specifically a boy, and more specifically one that was going to deliver Israel I think I would be in shock.
Goodness I would have a hard time getting my hopes up and trusting that news, but Manoah’s wife doesn’t doubt - she simply believes. And that’s how I can tell I have let this world jade me, because I am not sure I would have simply believed. But let’s see how that act of obedience guides this story - let’s read on.
Manoah prays to God that the angel will come back (not realizing it was the angel of the Lord), and the angel does. He and his wife stand in awe of this angel in front of them; however, once the awe fades, reality sets in and Manoah starts asking logistical questions. How will this pregnancy go? What will our parenting techniques be like? What will our sons work for Israel entail?
But the angel answers with the same instructions he gave before: “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.” (vs. 13-14)
I love this response because it is such a necessary reminder that God is willing to give us instructions but not reveal every detail. When Manoah asks for instructions on his duty, the angel gives it him. But when he starts asking questions about after the birth to satisfy his curiosity, he is given no details.
God is willing to lead us through our current situation, but isn’t always willing to give us details concerning the future.
And after that denial - Manoah does something that touches me to my core.
Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name...” (vs. 17)
When I read this, I was thinking “mmmhhh, I bet Manoah wants to know this angels name SO THAT, when my wife doesn’t get pregnant we can have someone to blame and tell everyone that ____ is a liar.”
How terrible is that?
All I can say is that when I, A) Hear strange news or, B) Get wind of a rumor about a friend of mine I want to know the person’s name who shared the news or started the rumor.
As I read the entirety of chapter 13 I began to realize that Manoah is not me, and he doesn’t ask the angels name to be cynical - he asks it to be genuine and give praise where it is deserved.
Let’s look at the rest of the verse.
“ And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, SO THAT, when your words come true, we may honor you?” (vs. 17)
Monoah creamed me on the character scale. Not only did he have complete faith saying “so that, WHEN your words come true…” meaning he had no doubt that this random (in his mind) angels’ promise would come true. Not only that, but he then goes on to say the reason he wants to know the angels name is so that “...we may honor you.”
WOW, doesn’t that give you goose bumps? It makes me seriously consider my faith in God’s promises and my character. All Manoah wants to do is use his life to bring God glory.
Even when he is promised and insane promise by an angel, he trusts in God.
Even before he knew it was the angel of the Lord, he wanted to know his name to be able to give praise.
I want that, so bad.
I want trust that proceeds doubt and I want character that is unjaded by this world.
At the end of this story Manoah and His wife “...give birth to a boy and they named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him…” (vs. 24)
Monoah and his wife’s simple trust and unjaded character leads to God getting all the Glory - oh and Samson delivering Israel. (haha incredible things can happen when we trust.)
So will you join me in having trust that proceeds doubt and in having character that is unjaded by this world?
Because let’s be honest - we all want to be used SO THAT God can glorified.