Daily Devotional

September 9, 2017

Daybreak: Judges 13:1-25

“Then Manoah intreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.” (Judges 13:8)

Have you ever witnessed first-time parents with their new baby? The nine months of waiting is finally over and they are jubilant with excitement as they eagerly embrace the new life. I remember when our oldest daughter was born. Initially, we were ecstatic and every moment seemed to be filled with euphoria. However, the euphoric feelings soon gave way to the reality of life with a newborn — the sleepless nights, the rigorous schedule, and very often, the desire that an instruction manual had accompanied the child. Questions arose on a regular basis. What do you do when the baby is screaming and nothing seems to help? How do you know if colic or something more serious is causing her discomfort? Is it normal for a baby to sleep this much? Why those long gaps when she didn’t even seem to be breathing? Was it best to pick her up when she cried or was that spoiling her? It seemed that every day brought more questions.

In our text, Manoah and his wife were childless, but an angel of the Lord appeared to his wife and let her know that she would conceive and give birth to a son. The child was to be a Nazarite, and he would begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Upon hearing the good news, Manoah felt the responsibility that comes with such an announcement, and he entreated the Lord for instructions on how to raise the child. 

In our lives, we often feel the weight of the responsibilities that rest upon us each day. We may feel that what is required of us is more than we can handle on our own. Whether it is raising children, performing our jobs, or doing some service in the work of the Lord, we can learn from Manoah and take the time to entreat the Lord for His direction, instruction, or the wisdom that we need. 

The Lord has provided the greatest manual the world has ever known — the Bible, which is full of practical help and guidelines for any situation that we may encounter. It gives us instructions on how to raise our children, how to treat our spouses, how to get along with our fellowmen, but most importantly, how to make our peace with God and make it to Heaven. 

What a resource is available to us! Let us purpose to make sure we utilize it on a regular basis. 

Background

The first verse of our text tells us that the Children of Israel corrupted themselves and did evil again in the sight of the Lord. The Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines who oppressed them for forty years. It was during this forty-year period that an angel appeared unto Manoah’s wife. Manoah was a Danite. The town in which he lived, Zorah, once belonged to the tribe of Judah, but later was given to the tribe of Dan. The angel gave Manoah’s wife the news that she would conceive and bear a child who would be a Nazarite and would begin to deliver the Children of Israel from the bondage of the Philistines. 

To be a Nazarite meant to take a vow to be separated and consecrated to God. The duration of the vow was optional, usually thirty days, or at the most, one hundred days. The Bible tells of three who were Nazarites for life: Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist. During the whole length of the vow, the person making the vow was to abstain from wine or strong drink, refrain from cutting the hair of his head, and was not supposed to have any contact with the dead. God ordained Samson to be a Nazarite from his mother’s womb. Manoah’s wife was to observe the requirements of being a Nazarite while she carried the child. 

It is interesting to note that when the angel appeared a second time to the wife of Manoah and she called her husband, he also knew that the man was an angel of the Lord. The angel reiterated to him how his wife needed to observe all that he commanded her while she carried the baby. Manoah responded by asking the angel to stay and eat with them and also asked him his name. The angel replied that Manoah needed to sacrifice unto God rather than be bothered with feeding him or knowing his name, which evidently was a secret. Manoah obeyed and offered a sacrifice unto God, and it says in verse 19 that “the angel did wonderously,” while Manoah and his wife looked on. A flame issued from the rock, as in the case of Gideon’s sacrifice (Judges 6:21), and consumed the sacrifice. The angel of the Lord then ascended in this flame. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   Conditions during the period of the judges
      C.   Parenthesis: the tyranny of Abimelech
            9.   Samson
                  a.   Israel’s sin and servitude (13:1)
                  b.   Israel’s deliverance 
                        (1)   The birth of Samson (13:2-25)
                               (a)   The angelic promise of a son (13:2-7)
                               (b)   The angelic reappearance (13:8-23)
                                      [1]   The separated life of the child’s parents (13:8-14)
                                      [2]   The sacrifice to the Lord (13:15-23)
                               (c)   The birth and childhood of Samson (13:24-25)

A Closer Look

  1. How many years had the Philistines oppressed the Israelites prior to Samson’s birth? 
     
  2. Why did Manoah desire further instruction on how to take care of the promised child? 
     
  3. Consider a situation in your life where you desired instruction from the Lord. What did you do to receive that instruction? 

Conclusion

As Christians, we are given a challenge to live a life that is holy and set apart from the world. Like Manoah and his wife, we too have access to instructions on how to do this in a pleasing way to the Lord. The Bible is our greatest instructional source.

Reference Materials