What do we have in common with Manoah and his bride? Here it is. We desperately need the comfort, cure, and counsel of the Lord. He is closer to us than we ever dare imagine, and he plans on leading us in worship and using us mysteriously and mightily in accordance with his kingdom purposes.
In Judges 13 we read:
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 the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ” 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.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.” Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground. The angel of the Lord appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Manoah and his wife became acquainted with a man sent by the Lord.
They were introduced to man, sent by the Lord, who proved to be the Angel of the Lord.
They were granted an audience with the man, the Angel of the Lord, the One whose name was “Wonderful.”
Yes, Manoah and his bride came very near, sat with, saw with their eyes, and entered into conversation with the Holy, Holy, Holy God, They sat in the presence of the All-Consuming Fire, and here was the fantastic truth — they were not treated in accordance with their sinful condition. They were not killed, but instead they were were comforted, aided, counseled, led in worship, and used by God in accordance with his kingdom purposes.
Friends, this is what we have in common with Manoah. We deserve nothing but judgment from the hands of the Almighty One. However, in love, mercy, and grace he chooses to treat us not as we deserve. And today, though we cannot yet see him face to face, he is in the room. Christian, it is better than that. The Lord has taken residence in your soul, and today he bids you come near, have a seat, strike up a conversation, look into his eye, and be blessed.
He is near to comfort you in your trials.
He is near to grant you aid and fix what ails you — either in this life or on the other side of death.
He is near to counsel you. His Spirit speaks by means of his Word, and he has truth for you today.
He is near to lead you in worship. There is no need for you to prepare special food or a burnt offering, but you can read his Word, converse with him in prayer, and sing songs of intimate praise to him, and he will freshly grace you. And then don’t forget how fantastic it to gather in the House of Prayer this coming Lord’s Day. More grace is found there as well.
And he is near to day to use you — mysteriously and mightily — in his plans for world domination and kingdom expansion. He is routing Satan. He is making disciples. He is waiting for his final D-day when he will march and make all things right. And in the process, he uses impotent husbands and wives, under pagan regimes, as part of his plan.
Friends, we desperately need the comfort, cure, and counsel of the Lord, he is closer to us than we ever dare imagine, and he plans on leading us in worship, and using us in accordance with his kingdom purposes. Let’s run after the God-man and have a “little talk with Jesus.”