Reflection: During a period when the Philistines ruled over Israel, an angel of God appeared to a childless woman who was so humble and insignificant that we are not even told her name. This ‘wife of Manoah’ sets an example of faith in God worth noting. She was barren, yet God reached out to her and promised that she would give birth to a son. The angel gave her specific directions, including how she was to raise her son, who would be special and very important.
The woman immediately went to her husband and told him what had happened, and what had been promised. Manoah responds in prayer, requesting further direction on how to raise their son. In answer to his prayer, God sends his angel again to the woman and her husband. Upon offering a sacrifice to the Lord, Manoah and his wife were amazed to see the way the Lord caused the flame of the altar to blaze up to heaven, and the angel ascend on the flame (Judges 13:20). Manoah believed they would die, since, as he said, “we have seen God!”
Yet Manoah’s wife shows her spiritual insight and wisdom when she replies to her husband, ‘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’ (13:23). This wisdom, spiritual understanding, and an insight allowed Manoah’s wife to comfort and advise her husband. Although the son she bore, Samson, proved to be a strange and inconsistent man, he still acted as God’s chosen judge and deliverer of his people, and was honoured for his faith in God (Hebrews 11:32-34).
Question: What stands out to you in this story, particularly in regards to the actions and character demonstrated by Samson’s mother, Manoah’s wife?
Prayer: Thank you Sovereign God,
that you reach out to those who are humble and lowly, and lift them up to serve in your holy plan of salvation for your people. Thank you for the faithful example of Manoah’s wife, and Manoah himself, as they sought to honour you and follow your instructions in raising their son Samson. Please grant that I too would respond to your guidance in my own life with similar reverence and obedience. In Jesus name, Amen.
We are reading the Bible with Karen Mudge until 19th May.