THE STORY SO FAR
We have come to the penultimate series on the book of Judges. In Series 25, we move from the multi-tasking strong leadership of Jephthah to the incoherent, romance-filled, legendary and almost mystical leadership stint of Samson. He was a strongman whose strength seemed to lie only in his body. Unable to protect the secret to this singular source of strength, he died reduced to a blind prisoner who entertained those he had had power over. What does it take to hold all the aces needed to succeed, and yet live without the trophies of success? Samson is an eye-opener on this.
Manoah: How do you know that he is an angel?
Mrs. Manoah: He looked terrible. Shining face, hands of burnished bronze, a sheathed sword and flashing eyes. I couldn’t look at him. I remembered the stories about the angel who appeared to Joshua outside Jericho and gave the secret for conquering the impossible wall of Jericho. The one who sat under the tree in Bokim. My heart told me he is the angel who has been with our people since that night in Egypt. Since God chose our father Abraham. I even think he is the one who was in the burning bush
Manoah: I want to see him too
Mrs Manoah: Of course. You want to see him too. But will he come back? Will such a majestic being come back simply because Manoah of Eshtaol wants to see him? Three times he said I would have a son. A special son who would liberate our people from the Philistines. A son dedicated to God. A son who is not to drink wine or cut his hair or touch anything defiled. Manoah. Why these three things? He said even I couldn’t drink wine from the moment I am pregnant. I’ve waited so long to have a child and now it comes with strangeness? My feelings are mixed. I don’t know whether to be happy or unhappy
Manoah: Be happy. Nothing is so complicated that we can’t find good in it. If God wants us to host a special son, it only means that we are blessed beyond measure. Peace.
Mrs Manoah: Shalom? When have we known shalom? Barrenness took my peace long ago
Manoah: And this visitation brings it back. Learn to rejoice, my wife. All is well. Mmmmm. I think there should be no wine because he must be controlled by the Lord’s Spirit and not fermented drink. No wine for you because you need to be clear hearted and minded if you will carry and nurture a servant of God. No razor? (Covers his face) His blood must not drop anywhere. Simple. No occasion for his blood to fall on the ground or be handled by the ungodly. No part of his life is to be accessible. And the third is no dead or defiled thing? Simple again. He is dedicated to the Holy one. It is all easy to understand
Mrs Manoah: Trust you to know the mind of God. I love your worship, Manoah. The strange man said that Israel needs a liberator and our son will be God’s weapon against the Philistines. Why us, Manoah? I know you love the Lord and pray all the time. But why does God need a special son for Israel’s liberation? Do we matter that much to God? Why can’t anyone be groomed to do that work?
Manoah: He always answers prayer, my love. He is our God. I have never understood why we could not get pregnant. Now I do. Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He restrained the womb of my wife from bearing early because it must bear His needed servant. We are blessed, my love. For God to come to our family line when He needs a man, we are blessed. And as long as the earth remains, its seed is given by heaven. Its fruit is judged by heaven.
Mrs Manoah: Mmmm. I don’t understand that last thing you said, though. But so be it. You are the head of this home. If you understand, I will understand one day. I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to His will. It just sounds weird to me, Manoah. Why did the angel tell me, and not you? You understand God better than I do?
Manoah. I don’t know. There must just be a good reason for it. (clasps his hands in prayer) Lord, please teach us how to bring up this child
Mrs Manoah: Is heaven that interested in earth?
Manoah: There is no earth without heaven. God is never far from us. and He never will stay away from the affairs of men. Because when we are stuck, we will pray. And when we pray, He will help us. This too, is simple, my love.