There are many unnamed women in the Bible. We know them instead by their actions, and their interactions with God, and with the men in their lives. For so many, it is their faith that makes them memorable, even if we don’t know their names.
Judges 13 tells us only that she was the wife of Manoah; from the clan of the Danites, and that she was childless. She was alone working in the field when an angel appeared to her.
Ok. Stop a minute. The angel of the Lord found her when she was alone, as God has so often done with other women in the Bible, such as Hagar and Jesus mother, Mary. She was working quietly in her field, weeding perhaps or some other tedious chore while her mind wandered to what she would make for dinner or some recent town gossip, or perhaps she was praying and wondering why she could not conceive.
She would later explain that a man of God appeared to her and told her she would conceive a child, a son! What’s more, he would take the lead in delivering his people from the hands of the oppressive Philistines. Wow!!
It’s when she goes to tell her husband that we get to see this event from her point of view.
She told her husband that he looked like an angel of God, very awesome. “I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he said to me you will become pregnant and have a son.” He also gave her specific instructions that she was not to drink fermented drink or eat anything unclean while she was pregnant, and that she was to raise her son as a Nazirite. A Nazirite was dedicated to God. He was not to cut his hair, drink wine or other fermented drink or touch a corpse.
Sounds like a pretty calm recounting of a phenomenal experience, although her husband did not seem willing to just take her word for it. He said he wanted further instruction on how to raise such an anointed child. So he prayed that the man would appear again, this time to them both.
The instructions on how the boy was to be raised were pretty clear, at least to his mother. Remember, a woman’s word was not of much value in those days, so we shouldn’t be surprised that he might have been skeptical and wanted to experience the phenomenon himself.
The angel did come again, but again, to Manoah’s wife and again when she was out alone in her field. I have to admit that my best God encounters happen not only when I am alone but most often when I am out walking or even driving alone in my car. It’s as though all the other noise and distractions and gotta-do’s go away, and I can hear that gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit.
Remember Elijah did not hear God in the rushing wind and crashing rocks. He did not hear God in the earthquake or the roaring fire but in the still, small voice, a whisper that hardly broke the silence. (1 Kings 19)
Samuel, too, heard the voice of God in the silence of the night as he laid down to sleep. Three times, he thought he heard the priest Eli call to him, and three times, Eli sent him back to bed. In the silence on his bed, as sleep began to over take him, Samuel heard the Lord call his name. (1 Samuel 3)
We expect our best God encounters to be at church or in great worship services. We want to hear from God when we are crying out, rattling heaven’s gates. In Matthew 6:7 Jesus warns that heathens pray with vain repetitions and will not be heard for their “much speaking.” Sometimes, a simple prayer of few words will suffice. Oftentimes, God wants to speak to us, just us, when we can be alone together with him, and quiet.
When the angel appeared the second time, Manoah’s wife hurried to fetch her husband. In her initial encounter, she asked nothing of the angel. She simply listened and believed. Faith. Pure, simple faith. Manoah wanted more. He wanted to see and hear this angel for himself. Then Manoah tried to detain him. Let me fix a meal for you, he implored, which the angel declined, but suggested a burnt offering might be acceptable.
Verse 19 says, “Then the Lord did the most amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched. The angel of the Lord ascended in the flames from the sacrificial fire!”
They both fell on their faces, and Manoah cried out, “We are doomed to die because we have seen the Lord!!”
Ahhh. Manoah’s wife! She’s got this. (Did she just roll her eyes when he wasn’t looking?) She calmly tells him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”
She strikes me as the calm and logical one here. She didn’t panic. She accepted the prophesy and believed without fear that she had seen an angel and the promise was to her, a son.
She conducted herself just as the angel had instructed her and gave birth to a son whom she believed would deliver their people from the Philistines. Samson. The strongest of men, with the weakest of will power for beautiful women. He made a mess of it all, again and again, until in his last desperate and broken hours, he finally fulfilled God’s prophetic promise. (Judges 14-15)
He did deliver his people from the Philistines, just not in the way or the time his parents expected him to. I wonder how many hours this woman prayed for the son so filled with promise and yet so foolish in his actions.
Sound familiar? God entrusts our children to us, and we do our best to bring them up in the way they should go. The promise is that when they are old, they will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Samson was no longer a virile young man by the time he got around to fulfilling God’s promise. He learned some harsh lessons along the way until he ended up blind and in a Philistine prison. When they brought him out into an arena to mock him, he finally used his God-given strength for God’s purpose, and he pulled down the pillars that chained him and held up the arena.
His mother may not have even lived long enough to see the day of deliverance. In the meantime, I believe she grieved for him and about him, but I also believe she surely loved him and prayed for him.
Don’t give up, you MaMa’s of wayward children. God trusted that child to you, and you know in your heart the potential God placed on their heads. You did your best with what you had. God hears your every prayer. Like Samson, they may have to learn the hard way, and you might not live to see the victory, but don’t ever stop praying for your wayward sons and daughters. God never took his hand off Samson, and he never stopped listening to the prayers of his mother.
You may have dozens of friends and family praying for your wayward child, or you might be the only one who hasn’t given up on them. If you weren’t praying so faithfully for them, who would? So don’t stop now.
Why Doesn’t God Just Heal Me
If you like what you’ve seen here, please consider picking up a copy of my book
Why Doesn’t God Just Heal Me – available on Amazon.com
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Having endured an undiagnosed illness for thirty years, I prayed daily for healing and diligently searched the Bible to answer the questions we all ask when faith does not seem to be enough.
With a comprehensive and balanced application of scripture, I address the topic of healing and answer the questions that test our faith.