Judges 13:1 – And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
Judges 13:2 – And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.
Judges 13:3 – And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
Judges 13:4 – Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
Judges 13:5 – For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
Hello all, new blog today, and hopefully this will be a blessing to you today. It is actually going to be quite a monumental blog (in terms of word count!)… I had never seen all this in the story of Samson found in Judges 13 to Judges 16. But before we begin, it is really necessary to read Judges 13, but it would be desirable to read Judges 13 to Judges 16 to get the full picture, especially if you are not familiar with it… a) because it’s best you read and check it out for yourself … b) because I will take for granted in this blog your familiarity with this story as I write. I want to trace through the life of Samson, from before his birth to his end to show you how his birth is a picture of our salvation. With that in mind, seeing Samson as a picture of our salvation, we also will see Samson’s life, because after we are saved, there is a life to live. Samson’s life got snagged by sin, and ours does too, so we would do well to learn from this as the times of the judges are very similar to the times today. And it all starts back with his parents, his faithful parents who raised him right, who obeyed God in raising him… and whom he will not be able to blame at judgement. Sure, his parents should’ve put their foot down harder when Samson wanted a Philistine wife, but by then Samson was well on his way. The title of this blog is how to birth a Samson in your life, and this may not seem appealing, as Samson is generally seen as a story of failure in the Bible. But he is in Hebrews 11, because he is a triumph of God’s grace and power. He actually judged Israel for twenty years, but he’s known for the bad in his life… so often we can do pretty well most of the time, but some bad in there can really mess us up. Gotta take care of that sin! Samson lived like a split person, he was drawn by his flesh, and also led by the Spirit of God, and we want to take the good from his life, and learn from the bad.
One of the keys to understand what we are talking today is that the woman, unnamed in this story, and perhaps because she is representative of all of us… well, she was barren. She was also a woman, and the church is referred to in a feminine sense in the Bible. What is the church? Well you have the church, which is the body of believers, all those who have been saved… which is distinct from a physica church, which is a place where believers gather together. Believers form the body of Christ, he is the head, as he is God and it is he who died for us, it is he who is resurrected and ascended, and we all have his Spirit (if you are saved). So the church is a spiritual body, whereas Israel was (and is) God’s nation. We look at these Old Testament stories and learn practical truths and take spiritual applications. For instance, God won’t require you to take the Nazarite vow, as that was for Israel at this time, but we can examine the spiritual truths of the Nazarite vow and apply it to our lives today.
So this woman was barren, and that’s how we all start out. Barren. If you want to be spiritually unbarren, read this story. Because she would miraculously conceive, and salvation is a miracle, salvation takes the power of God. It certainly took the power of God for her to conceive a son, as she was barren, this was a miracle, and salvation is of the Lord, it is something only he can perform. Only he can save us and make us unbarren. And make no mistake, if you are not saved, you are barren as a brick, you have no life, you do not have God.
Judges 13 starts with describing the plight of Israel, they did evil, and were delivered by God into the hand of the Philistines. That was their state. They weren’t even crying out for deliverance by now. At the outset, this is a picture of the world which we are born into and live in. We do evil, because it is in our fallen nature. Noone taught you to be selfish, to be proud, to lie, to cheat, to steal, to lust. And we all start out dead in sins. The Bible says God’s wrath abides on us, and it abode on Israel because of their rejection and disobedience and rebellion to him. It is important to note that just like us today, they knew better, and the Bible says we have all been given light. We are without excuse, the Bible says that Jesus has lighted every man that has come into the world. What does that mean? Well it means that we have the knowledge of God that he put in us, we have conscience (that means “with knowledge”), we have creation that bears witness of God… but we also have an enemy who blinds us and oppresses us, just like the Philistines did. This enemy is headlined by the devil, he is the prince of this world, a world we are all born in to, and this world is cursed with sin, of which we are also born in to.
If you are not saved, you are of the world. How do you know if you are saved? Well one to know if you are saved by your attitude to and what you’ve done with God’s word, what you’ve done with the light that was given you… that will gauge where you are at spiritually. Just like Israel, they disobeyed God’s word, they disregarded it, they rebelled… it’s not they didn’t know it… they went against his commands, they went against his word… is that what your life is like? It’s funny how the further you go into your rebellion, the more that light is put out… to the point of where you don’t know the truth. Jesus said if the light that is in you is darkness… how great is that darkness! By the time Jesus came to earth, he found people who sat in darkness… the gospel went forth in Acts to nations so deeply generationally entrenched in disobedience, and consequentially under the power of Satan… that they didn’t know anything. If you reject Jesus Christ, if you reject the light of life… all that is left for you is darkness. And you will pass the darkness on. So is your life ANTI God’s word? That is a gauge of where you are at spiritually. Jesus said, if ye love me, keep my commandments. If Jesus fulfilled the law, and always obeyed his Father, why don’t you?
The Bible says the whole world lies in wickedness. That was the state of Israel. Hey, Israel were God’s people yet you see through Judges they were incredibly wicked. That’s what God’s people are like when they depart from God’s word, when they walk in rebellion. So messed up were they warred against each other, all because the tribe of Benjamin wouldn’t surrender a bunch of sodomites who gang raped a Levite’s concubine. Think about how in violation of God’s word that all is. The family broke down completely, the worship of God broke down, and the political sphere broke down. That’s what you get when you depart from God. The Bible says of the time of the judges, that there was no king in Israel… everyone did that which was right in their own eyes. Sounds like today doesn’t it. Everyone does what seems good to them, everyone has their own truth… there is no standard. The Bible says that when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard against him. Unfortunately, if the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do? The foundations have been knocked out with new Bibles, new spirits, new gospels, new Jesus’… its a mess… but even in the mess… there’s a solution and God is in control and allowing it to happen to prove us all.
But here in Judges 13, and like today (who says the Bible isn’t up to date!?)… we see the state of the world… corrupted, in a mess, upside down, full of wickedness, in darkness…. and it’s in that state that God came and found us in. He found a certain man and his wife… God still has them that seek him and will believe him, even when it’s grim. Jesus loved us enough to seek us out in this lost world, and into this picture of darkness, we see the angel of the Lord enter the scene and appear to a woman with good news! The gospel is good news! We were lost and without him in this world, and unless you have been saved and born again, this is your condition… lost, without God in this world, in darkness, and under the control of the Philistines… that you need not be controlled by! You do not HAVE to go to hell, you do not have to waste your life, you do not have to barren. Israel was barren because they disobeyed God, but we are going to see the remedy in this chapter.
The Bible says that into this state the angel of the Lord appeared to a woman, a wife of a man called Manoah. The Bible says “a certain man”… are you a certain man, someone God sees, someone who is different to the rest, someone who will hear him when he calls you? This angel came to Manoah’s wife and he told her she would have her child, and how to raise it. … BUT it started with the angel saying behold now, thou art barren. She knew that! But he wanted her to see something clearly… Behold now. We gotta see the truth about ourselves first before there can be blessing. But in today’s society when you tell people the truth about themselves, and when you get told the truth about yourself… we don’t say thanks… we get offended! Why is it so hard to agree with God? She wasn’t too proud to admit she was barren. Seeing your barrenness… and you are barren regardless of whether you have the capacity to see and acknowledge it… is a huge part of salvation… seeing your need for salvation. And perhaps this is why the angel of the Lord came to her, because God comes to whoever is humble and contrite and broken before him. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Later on, we’d see a son who the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon. You gotta be poor of your spirit first, before God gives you his Spirit. She wanted a child, she wanted to be unbarren, she wanted to be fruitful and blessed… they were going to die out without a child, what a plight… she wanted to raise up seed to her husband, having a child meant a lot in Israel to keep the family going, a child thus represented life and blessing, continuation upon the earth, victory over death’s conquering. She wanted a good thing, salvation is something good to want, and something good God wants to give us. God finds anyone who wants salvation, don’t worry about others, worry about yours first… stop looking at others and pretending to care for them when you aren’t even right with God yourself.
God knows how to reach those who call upon him. It was the angel of the Lord… and that’s who comes to all of us today. The angel of the Lord is Jesus Christ. He didn’t begin to exist in the gospels… he was around long before then… he made the heaven and the earth in the beginning, he is God. In the New Testament, the introduction of Jesus is when he was born into the world as a man, but he existed long before creation, because his goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting… he has not starting point… he is God. Angels are messengers, and Jesus Christ wants to and does get his message to us today through his word. What is the message, the true message God has for us? The gospel of Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sin, redemption, eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is interesting that the angel of the Lord appeared as a man, yet was God… Jesus Christ was perfectly man, and perfectly God. And he spoke. We know from Genesis 1 and Hebrews 1 that God has spoken. He has revealed his will and instruction to us. It was crystal clear the the woman, it was consistent to her and Manoah, it didn’t lose it’s punch, it wasn’t different from one to the other. And beware the angel said, because his word is to be taken VERY seriously.
So we see the angel of the Lord spoke to the woman… and she believed him! It was such good news to her! Hey, you’re going to have a son… and this son is going to do amazing things. In fact this son will begin to deliver! Deliverance at hand… the gospel is deliverance isn’t it? What great news. Isn’t the gospel great news today? You can get saved, and you can live a life with meaning… Samson had meaning and purpose. He wouldn’t be “just like any other man”. Once we get past the offense of being told we are barren, God gives us the solution to our lives, he tells us everything we have to do. That’s what the Bible is for, it is God’s word written down, in hard copy so we can have it and access it if we choose. Talk about how great an opportunity we have. God gave the instructions to Manoah and his wife, and you know what, they heard and obeyed. That’s what faith is, hearing the word, and obeying it.
The angel of the Lord said thou shalt conceive and bare a son. It was nothing she did. Faith isn’t what I can do, it’s believing in what God can do and will do. The gospel was nothing we could do. It is HIS power. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. This simple, humble woman heard and believed the good news. And believing that news has creative power, not our belief, but God’s power is in it. You see, when we get saved, there is something born in us, just like this woman would have a precious child. Jesus said, ye must be born again. So when the title of this blog is “How to birth a Samson”, Samson’s birth is very much a picture of salvation. We also get Samson’s life recorded… which shows what trajectory many of us take after we do get saved. Samson had a tragic end for such a great beginning, so there is a huge warning and lesson attached with this story. He will BEGIN to deliver, he didn’t deliver them because he himself was not Jesus Christ, but he pointed to someone who would deliver totally, he also only began to deliver because he disobeyed God, he got drawn away by his lust… although he still finished because of God’s grace, not because of anything redeeming of his own. This is a picture of us in many ways, we will make it, not because of us, because our flesh never gets better, but great is God’s faithfulness… and God will see us through. We don’t have to do as Samson did, we can do better than he did, particularly with his failure to learn from.
So Samson is a picture of that new creature born of God in us when we get saved. Samson was separated from his mother’s womb unto God. And when we are born again, God creates a new person in us, born of God, separated unto God, which it took the power of God to create. Listen to these verse… John 1:12,13 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Samson is just like us though, he talked to Delilah and said he’d been a Nazarite unto God his whole life. Just like him, we can think of ourselves a lot higher than we ought. He lived a life in violation of his vow, and in the end when you sow to the flesh, you of the flesh reap corruption. Just because you are saved doesn’t mean you can go out and sin. In fact, if you think that, it’s probably because you have never received the grace of God. The problem with being raised in a godly home, as he was, is you can overestimate your righteousness, you can create separate standards for yourself versus others. He justified his behavior, as they did, so I have done… is that really a way to live? He said after I’ll do this, then I’ll cease. How often we live like this… just one more sin, then I’ll dedicate myself to God. But I digress…
This child would deliver Israel. He wouldn’t be bound like everyone else was. Because when you get saved, and the Spirit of God comes to live inside you, and there is a new person in you, well, that person is in God’s kingdom, and has the victory through Jesus Christ. The Philistines were completely unable to compete with him… and they didn’t know what the secret to his strength was. The world does not know the things of God, without the Spirit of God, they can’t be known. The Bible says that whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world. Samson in this story is a picture of a born again believer. BUT… and it’s a big but, God also gave the woman instructions. Instructions his parents obeyed, but instructions the child Samson grew in violation of. Is this not us? We have God’s word, instructions on how to live… the law of God… but we know better don’t we. We want to please ourselves. Samson had unbelievable potential and ability in the Spirit of God, however he walked in the flesh most of the time. When you get saved you have two natures, you have that person in you born of God which sins not, but you also have your flesh nature… and Samson didn’t walk in the Spirit, but in the flesh. Christians today don’t understand sanctification. After you are saved, you’re still here, still in this world, in a battle… just like the conditions Samson was born into, the Philistines are real. You will have victory in OBEYING God, and in obeying God that will separate you unto God… and it takes the Spirit of God to obey God. You need his grace… and Samson’s had God’s grace upon him, the Bible says the child Samson grew… and the Lord blessed him. A saved person knows countless blessings and will know countless blessings.
But back to the woman, she went and told her husband the good news. If you’ve ever got truly saved, you want to tell others, and see others get saved. She told him exactly what the angel told her. She took God’s word seriously. Oh that we would take God’s word seriously as she did, oh that we would believe it like she did. But wow, what the angel said was so restrictive, don’t do this, don’t do that… but unlike a lot of Christians so called today, she loved the law of God. Jesus said, if ye love me, keep my commandments. His commandments are not grievous the Bible says. It’s a sign of genuine salvation, wanting to hear God’s word, obey it, and then tell others. The Bible says God’s commandments are not grievous. When you are saved, you realize the laws God put in place are good for us. A society that’s not full of murder, theft, sexual sin… is a pretty good one to live in. God’s restrictive commands were for their good and for Samson’s good. And it’s never too early to start, don’t put off to tomorrow. We see the urgency in the command of God. Because although Samson would be the Nazarite, the woman would adhere to the vow as well in bearing him. She also ran to tell her husband the news. Salvation is TODAY, noone ever got saved tomorrow. Start obeying God today… or you don’t want to obey him? That’s a bad sign. She loved hearing God’s word, it was the message of life to her. There is something inside you that loves God when you got saved, just as the baby Samson was in his mum’s belly. You see, just as that baby grew in the wife of Manoah, so we start out little, so young in the faith, tender, precious… it’s called growing in the Lord. Galaitans 4:19 – My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you… It’s God making you grow, little by little. So we want to birth a Samson in our life, but we don’t want his end. Because he grew and grew, the Lord blessed him, but then the pull of the world got him, disobedience to God got him, selfishness… his eyes, his understanding. Maybe he was spoilt by his parents, because he had an entitled streak to him, he was so precious to them, and he abused that, just like we abuse the grace and goodness of God to us so easily.
So the woman listened to what the angel said… and then she relayed it to her husband. But Manoah wasn’t sold. He sort of believed… but wanted to see for himself. And that is fair enough in some ways. His wife’s experience wasn’t his. Salvation can’t be done by me for you, or you for me. You’ve got to get saved for yourself. Noone can get saved for you, just like you can’t get saved for me. As much as you may want to make other people saved, you cannot. You can’t change other people’s fates and unbelief as much as you would love to. Manoah wanted to hear for himself, and you’ve got to get to the cross yourself, as nothing will substitute for having your own real salvation and your own real walk with God. Notice though, how they received the same instruction… why is there not this unity in Christianity today? There should be one word, one GOD. And there is. These REAL believers documented in God’s word experienced that true fellowship and unity of faith… while all the rest of Israel did what was right in their own eyes serving their gods all with the “Lord”s name attached to it. Talk about dragging God’s name through the mud right behind all your sin.
We don’t really realize how bad Israel was. This was a nation far departed from God. So bad was it, that there was noone God could or would use to deliver them currently alive. He would get a barren woman to have a child. But this paints another relevant picture of for us. It would take NEW BIRTH to have the victory. Conception to answer barrenness. The necessity of the Spirit of God, of the new birth, is on full display here. Unless you have a Samson born, you won’t get out from Philistine dominion, you won’t experience salvation or deliverance. It’s a picture of the fact that in the flesh we never can and never will win, the victory is in the new birth. Try living a life of being a Christian in the flesh, it’s full of failure, it’s a cycle that ends in loss everytime. Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord. Samson got all his victories when the Spirit of God came upon him… without which he was just a lustful, selfish man. Man doesn’t have too many redeeming qualities does he. We think of Samson as a failure and his life does seem a sordid affair, but there’s plenty of exploits we don’t know about, twenty years is a long time judging, and we just get a few pictures of his low points… but what about our low points. Your thought life… your secret life… are you really any better? Will God have to let your eyes get gouged out by Philistines to really get through to you? Because also in this story of Samson is what happens when a Christian is disobedient. In 1 Corinthians, they delivered a sexually perverted Christian to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. It was done with the goal of repentance and saving of the soul. And it achieved it’s purpose. God may have to chasten you severely to snap you out of the funk you get yourself in, all because sin literally sticks its hooks in you, and you go whoring after it. But let’s keep moving…
It’s funny how Manoah asked God for the man to come again, and God heard his prayer the Bible says… but the angel of the Lord came to his wife again. God’s going to see if you really want to hear from him, he knows how serious and real you are. It also shows that importance of fellow believers, of faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ. God doesn’t need man, but he wants to use man. He uses human instruments… his tabernacle is with men. If you look back in your life, and you are saved, it was some faithful person of God, who told you, and then RETOLD you about Jesus Christ. God works through people. He doesn’t need our fellowship, but he wants our fellowship. He doesn’t owe us anything, but he gives us everything. Manoah arose and went after his wife. There’s nothing wrong with going after someone who is going after God. Paul said follow me, as I follow the Lord. If someone is following God and living in obedience to him, there’s someone you should be around. So the angel came to the woman and the woman ran to her husband. Running… she didn’t mope over to him, or tell him, by the way the angel came by… she knew what the good news was worth, and she had her priorities right. And yet for all this, they didn’t know who they really were talking to. All they saw was a man, yes an important man, but they didn’t realize he was the Angel of the Lord! Jesus Christ. Jesus… God… will never be revealed to you apart from what comes next.
What came next was a sacrifice. Manoah heard the angel reiterate what he told his wife. And Manoah was interested. It is great when someone is interested in God and his word. So many people care not for the things of God… but not these two, these two parents were interested, they wanted this child. This child represents salvation, a new birth, remember. It represents the end of barrenness. Do you want to be saved? Will you give up after the first try? Manoah wanted to see and know for himself, he wanted to see the angel of the Lord to make certain… it wasn’t a passing interest, he was serious… and God knows if you are serious or not. Are you serious about his word like Manoah was? Manoah wanted to know how to order the child. He wanted God’s word on how to raise the child. Do you have that same want for God’s word? Do you want and need God’s word for how to live your life? What to do with your life? They had thirst and hunger for instructions from the Lord. That sounds all good doesn’t it… because everyone professes that right. But these instructions God gave weren’t that easy. They applied to them… they were unusual, they were inconvenient, they would interfere with their lives. Maybe you should read God’s word, because many people stopped following Jesus Christ when they heard what he had to say. He really sorted out who was genuine and who wasn’t. ALL that I commanded her let her observe. Stop picking and choosing what you take from the Bible maybe? The angel of the Lord also said before that… Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. Beware people. God’s word isn’t something to be mucked with. It is what is going to judge you at the last day. People treat God’s word like it’s dirt these days, but no, beware. Beware is a strong word… and what God has said unto you, let yourself beware, because great responsibility and accountability comes with handling truth 1 John 1.
The command contained the instructions of a Nazarite vow. A Nazarite vow was a vow of separation unto God. People want to avoid hell, but keep their love of the world. But salvation is separation. It is not something we set out to do, but something that happens as you believe God and love him and want to obey him… aka. “order” your life. Will you order your life according to God’s word like they wanted to do and did? That takes some commitment. It wasn’t the easiest vow, it was in fact an offensive vow. Imagine not shaving your hair and looking like an idiot. There is a shame and a reproach to being a Christian… a reproachless salvation probably isn’t one. They hated Jesus, they’ll hate you. The very message of the cross is offensive because it says you aren’t good enough, only God is, it says you’re full of sin, your best efforts are trash. Imagine not coming at any dead thing. Imagine a life where you steer clear of unclean things, of dead things. What things are dead? Lust, theft, covetousness, stealing, pride, jealousy, envy… these things are death, and they work death in our life. It’s pretty hard not to sin though isn’t it, but a saved person through Jesus Christ’s Spirit living in them, they have the grace not to be ruled and dominated by sin anymore, to no longer live in the tombs as that man of the Gadarenes did, living in death. Satan abides in death. Hey, if you are saved, you have life, eternal and abundant life. You don’t HAVE to sin anymore, you don’t have to be ruled by fear, by addictions, you don’t have to be in a prison… but Samson ended up in a prison so learn well Christian! But this is even tougher… nothing to do with grapes, no grape juice, no currants, no vineyards. Jesus said he wouldn’t drink the fruit of the vine until he returns. We similarly live not for this world, but for the next… that’s hard. Denying pleasures here with an eye to the future… that takes faith considering we are trusting God for the future! So while it’s easy to say you love God… do you even 0.1% love God enough to obey him and want to order your life according to his word?
But back to the sacrifice aspect. Because this is CRUCIAL. Manoah and his wife had a sin problem. That is why they were barren, it is why they were ageing and would die, it is why Israel was in a mess, sin plagues every human being who has ever lived. And sin must be atoned for, and it must be atoned for lawfully. God is good, so good that he judges all sin, he will by no means clear the guilty the Bible says. Sin must be paid for. It HAS to be paid for or you will pay for your sin eternally, and never pay your sin off, because it is an unpayable debt. That is why they burn forever and ever in Revelation. God is THAT Holy, God is THAT just, God is THAT good… not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law remember. Obviously Manoah and his wife needed to remember though, because they wanted to extend hospitality to the angel and yet he said though ye detain me, yet I will not eat bread with you. Wow, that’s a bit harsh isn’t it? Yes they didn’t realize who they were talking to, if they knew who he was, they’d probably have been quicker to the sacrifice part… because if you are dealing with God, get your sacrifice ready… without which you are not accepted before him. This sacrifice is a picture of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made of himself on the cross for us. Because to interact with God we need a sacrifice, or we will die. It is the central theme of the Bible, it is the basis for our faith, our forgiveness, our hope, our life. There is no fellowship with God until the sacrifice has been done. How can you have fellowship without relationship first? They didn’t even realize they needed to do a sacrifice, but the angel of the Lord said offer a sacrifice (if you want!!!) to the Lord. God won’t force you to believe him or love him… he in fact only wants sacrifices willingly offered. If it’s a chore, don’t bother. If thou wilt… will you?
Consider that before this Manoah had asked the man’s name, not knowing he was the angel of the Lord. And the angel said why ask me, seeing as it is secret? You see, many people may know the gospel, they can have intellectual knowledge, yet Jesus Christ is a secret to them. Manoah knew him as a man, but he didn’t know him as God. He didn’t have a personal revelation of Jesus Christ to his own life personally. Jesus is just a man until he has saved you from YOUR sins! There is a verse in Corinthians hard to be understood, before it says if any man be in Christ he is a new creature… before that… the Bible says though we have known Christ after the flesh, henceforth know we him no more. The Jesus you knew before you got saved is very different to the Jesus you know when you get saved. There are many things hid to an unbeliever… without the Spirit of God, God is secret to you. If you are not in his kingdom, he is secret to you. It’s because there had been no sacrifice yet. And you will never know God until you come to the sacrifice… Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, his burial and his resurrection. IN YOUR PLACE. They weren’t just offering a sacrifice as a meaningless ritual, it was for them. There is no blessing, acceptance or fellowship without the sacrifice first. Of course these sacrifices in the Old Testament were done in faith, because the blood of an animal couldn’t take away their sin, but in faith they offered them, and they pointed to a sacrifice that would actually atone for sin, blood shed that would actually satisfy Holy God’s demands.
As the angel of the Lord directed them to do this sacrifice, so there is a way to God, but it is a way God himself defines and has provided for. The angel of the Lord said how to, and that is … how to. Unless you come by Jesus Christ to God, you cannot come. God couldn’t and didn’t circumvent law to save us. The problem wasn’t that the law was bad, it’s that we couldn’t keep it, so he sent someone who would and did… Jesus Christ. That’s why the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame himself. There is no way around the fact that sin must be atoned for, there is no redemption without dealing with the sin problem. God can’t just love us and say that’s ok. Because he is the Judge, and the judge of the earth will do what is right the Bible says. And what is right is that we are sinners who deserve… who have earnt… hell. We earn judgement, but God’s gift is forgiveness and eternal life. It was once Manoah offered the sacrifice that God was revealed to his understanding. It’s in the sacrifice that people are saved. We have to get back to giving people the gospel, because that’s where the power is. Jesus died for us, he was buried… and rose from the dead! His sacrifice was accepted… it proves he is God, it declares his power, it gives us a real living hope. It separates the truth from all false religion, a risen Savior, not in the flame dead and conquered, but in the flame, yet ascending in the flame to heaven… received and accepted by God. He’s not dead, he is alive forevermore.
The Bible says when they offered the sacrifice that the angel did wondrously. Salvation is a wonderful thing. They brought the sacrifice, but he did it. This means we also have a role to play in salvation, faith is an action word. God loves you and has provided for you, but we also have a choice to believe, a choice to place our faith in him or not. Jesus kept the law, and in so doing, he can save our souls, and make us right with God, and bless our lives. Samson would come after this! Salvation and deliverance! Someone who the Philistines could not conquer. The angel did wondrously, and God will do wonderful things in your life if you believe and trust him. All Manoah and his wife did was… look on. What does this mean? It shows us what salvation really is. The Bible says salvation is of the Lord, we did and can do nothing to save ourselves, they… like us… contributed nothing other than spectating. It is reminiscent of the Old Testament story that Jesus referred to when they were bitten by fiery serpents, and whoever looked on the brazen serpent that Moses made and lifted up… lived. Look and live, and today, salvation isn’t that hard, it’s coming to the cross, and believing on him.
This was a special sacrifice as well, because we see the angel of the Lord ascending in the flame… talk about a picture of Calvary! As the angel of the Lord was in the flame, so Jesus tasted death for every man. That flame which made him say “I thirst”. When the Hebrew children were chucked in the fire, yet the fire did not harm them. The fire of hell, the fire of God’s wrath, the fire will have no power on you if Jesus has tasted the fire for you personally. He was a real man, he knows our grief and suffering and weakness, yet without sin. What a picture of Isaiah 53… and he not only was in the flame, but he ascended in it. While the flame has victory over us, Jesus ascended in it. Such was his righteousness and perfection that death could not hold him, judgement for all our sins was meted out on him, yet he rose from the dead, his sacrifice accepted, the flame to have no power on him or us. If God is not in your sacrifice you have nothing. This applies not only to salvation, but as we live our lives today, if God is not in it, it won’t be accepted. It was only after the sacrifice that Manoah recognized the angel’s identity as God. You will not have a true idea of who God is until you get to the cross, God will only be revealed to our hearts through his Son. But it is interesting to see Manoah’s reaction to the realization what had happened. Alas! When we see God, we also see our own wretchedness… Isaiah said woe is me when he saw God. And it’s true, we would be dead if we saw God, but with Jesus Christ we can see God and live. We are acceptable to God, our sins forgiven, through his sacrifice to us.
Manoah’s wife talked sense to him. He thought they were going to die, but she said why would God tell us we were having a son if he was going to kill us? Why kill us if our sacrifice was accepted? There are proofs for why we won’t ever die. Jesus said those that believe on him will never see death. That’s crazy, but true! Because of this sacrifice, death has been conquered. You see reader, God doesn’t want you to die, he doesn’t want you to be barren, he wants you to be saved and to have forgiveness and eternal life. He wants to birth a Samson in your life. And the Bible says the woman bare a son and called his name Samson… and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. After you get saved, you are born again, and this new person in you grows with the Lord’s blessing. And this new person will grow up to do exploits, God wants you to live a delivered life and to be able to deliver others. However, our lives often go a bit like Samson. Samson when he was with Delilah said he had been a Nazarite his whole life… it sounds like us though. We can be just as deluded about our life as he was. He had lived in violation of his vow, he thought he was ok, even though we see wrong motives, disobedience to God marking his life…we have an inflated view of our own selves. But God had kept delivering him, and it’s a tribute to God’s faithfulness despite our faithlessness. His worthiness and our worthiness. God delivered him, the Bible says even if you deny him as a saved person, yet he abides faithful because he cannot deny himself. You cannot be unborn again, even after the Delilah incident, his hair began to grow again and the Lord heard his prayer. A saved person can get a long way from God, and sure God may depart from your life to chasten you, but he will hear you when you repent. You may think God let Samson down… but no, Samson let Samson down, God departed from him because his flesh needed to be destroyed. But it’s a hard thing to destroy… the flesh is wicked, it cannot be salvaged, it must be put to death daily, nailed to the cross.
Samson’s life also reflects many aspects of our saved lives. Samson was a judge for twenty years… thats a fair amount of time, we aren’t told what happened, we really get the low points of his life in the Bible. But he was never past the lure of sin. And that same old sin got him years later. Don’t ever think you are finally past sin, you might just be heading for your own valley of Sorek. Throughtout Samson’s life, there was part of him that could not be touched, the Philistines could not beat him when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. In 1 John we read that if we are saved and born of God, the wicked one toucheth us not. That Samson part of us is victorious, if you are born of God, that overcomes the world. The world doesn’t know the power, doesn’t understand it, and cannot beat it. It was in Samson’s death that he won his greatest victory. You see, death is the pathway to life for a believer, practically and in the future. If you die with Christ, you will be raised with Christ. When we physically die, we enter eternal life with Christ. Becuase he died for us, we will never experience that death. It is in dying to ourself that there is deliverance from sin, you will be delivered from your Philistine captors when you die to yourself in Christ and let him raise you up. Samson died, but he lives today… just like Abel, though dead, yet he speaks.
It is interesting that when Manoah asked the angel’s name, it is because he wanted to do the angel honour when his sayings came to pass. What right priorities this man had. Why do you come to Jesus? Is it to honor him, to glorify him? Or is your life all about yourself? Samson lived like it was all about himself… get her for me to wife, for she pleaseth ME well. Just becasue you get saved doesn’t mean you are immune to sin’s temptations and can’t fall… it doesn’t mean you can’t get stuck in the mire of self and pride. What we should do in life we should do to the glory of God. Manoah said… when thy sayings come to pass. God’s word is sure. Is that your attitude to God’s word? Do you have a reverence for it’s veracity, it’s infallibility, it’s truth? He had confidence that because God said it, it would happen, it was a certainty… even while it hadn’t happened yet. If only we had the attitude to God’s word that Manoah did. Notice how every word was important… what if you change one word of that angel’s promise, well the promise is changed.
The Bible says the angel appeared no more after he ascended in the flame. Jesus won’t be sacrificed again, he did it once, and it was accepted. It is also a picture of our life of faith here. We don’t see him at the moment, but we will one day. God wants us to believe his word, to take him at his word. The just shall live by faith, there are going to be many things you won’t physically see, you won’t feel, all you’ll have is God’s word… will that be enough for you?
Samson was born, a child separated to God from his mother’s womb. This is an unpopular truth, God will use someone who is separated unto himself. Samson entered the world and lost his separation, Jesus was in this world, yet separate from sinners the Bible says… yet undefiled. It is so much easier to start from birth. It is harder to get saved as we grow up and grow in bitterness and unbelief. You’d rather grow in Christ, than grow in unbelief… which one are you well seasoned in? From birth Samson was separated, and this new creature born of God inside you is a new creation, something distinct from your flesh… born of God. And what will your story as a saved person be? He was raised in obedience to God’s word, he was in fact begotten BY the word of God. He happened, because God said so. It is the gospel that begat u, a seed sown that was watered and given life. Samson represents salvation, deliverance and life, that’s what we have when we believe God’s word. No wonder his mum called him Samson. Samon means “Sun man”. If you have been born again you bear the name of Jesus Christ, his name was a reference to the God who said they would have him. He was meant to be a light as Jesus is the light of the world… unfortunately there was plenty of darkness in his life, but the light did shine through.. at times. Do you want to be more than an “at times” Christian? Is the separated life for you? It is hard no doubt. Imagine Samson growing up and being different to the other kids, not being able to do the fun things they did. That’ll test your faith and dedication to God. It would’ve been hard, it thrust upon him without even any choice in the matter… always wondering about that green grass on the other side. Humans can’t handle the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin has temptation, sin has pleasure… and it would’ve played on his mind a lot. There is a cost to being saved… can you go without things that other people have. Can you go without the pleasures of sin all because of faith in God’s word? It’ll test us all. Are you even separated, or are you just like the world… so many Christians aren’t separated or dedicated or consecrated to God at all… probably because there is no new birth there to begin with.
So Samson’s parents were converted in their thinking… by the sacrifice. It is not in miracles that sinners are converted, it is coming to the cross of Jesus Christ, believing his word. That altar would be the basis for the family, and God’s word is the way to build your home. They would havea child born to do this and that. There is a purpose that God has for us. You can have purpose and meaning in this life. This child was meant to be separated, so there will be a difference put between a saved person and unsaved… it is inescapable. No difference, it is probably because you are not born again to begin with. Samson lived a life trying to blur those lines, so you may be saved, but if you make provision for your flesh, as he did, you’ll end up losing out. If he had obeyed God in finding his bride, he wouldn’t have got burnt so bad. In disobeying God, he also abandoned God’s wisdom for his life, and made poor decisions. It was a lonely life for him, he at least was doing something, and if you are saved and want to follow Jesus Christ… there is cost to it, and don’t expect others, even fellow Christians, to come with you. In fact his own people came to get him to give to the Philistines! They were upset with him delivering them! Don’t expect thanks even from fellow Christians. Manoah had said to the angel… how shall we order the child? God… what do we do… how do we live? Do you want God’s ordering for your life, or will you be just fine ordering your own life? There’s stuff applicable to many areas of our lives in this story, from witnessing, to parenting, to the gospel of Jesus Christ in here. Remember the world is against you, the Philistines wanted to take Samson’s strength, they wanted him to be “like any other man”… does this sound relevant… are you living, thinking and doing like any other man? Samson knew Delilah was betraying him, but he kept on, why will you stick with friends and ways that are so obviously against you, so clearly circumventing your life?
It wasn’t obvious to the Philistines were Samson’s strength was from. Even we can mistake where our strength comes from. Samson himself thought it was because he was a Nazarite… but he didn’t live it at all… the strength came from the Spirit of the Lord, not our own (worthless) efforts. Make no mistake, this world does not know Jesus Christ, they have no idea who he truly is. He even came to his own, and his own received him not. They may know him the man, but not him as God. They are against him. The Bible says that the woman said the angel of the Lord had a terrible countenance. Before you are saved that is God’s countenance towards you. If you are not saved, he is terrible. God’s wrath abides on the unbeliever, he is angry with the wicked every day. And he is very longsuffering, don’t mistake his patience and grace towards you as him putting the big OK stamp on your sin. Your sin is not alright, it will land you in hell. Look at Samson’s life, and if you are saved, does his thinking mirror yours. One of his rationales was… I’m not as bad as others, therefore it justifies my actions. That is how he rationalized his slaughtering of the Philistines. You’ll do a bit of destruction if you live with that motto. Samson said… after this, then I will cease. Are you just “one more sin” away from getting right with God? Because that last sin will never arrive before you finally start obeying God. Samson was raised in a Christian home, it made him think he was better than he was… do you have an inflated view of your own life thoughts and deeds? His parents had more reverence for God’s word than he did. The angel of the Lord said of all that I said, let her beware. There is no other word. If God’s word doesn’t get it done for you, there is nothing else… even if you convince yourself otherwise. There was no contradiction in the angel’s command… and there was a beware… God’s word must take precedence in your life. Samson had a slot machine approach to God, he wanted God to bail him out the problems he made, whereas his parents wanted to honor God. Samson lived for himself more than for God… is that your story as well? When the angel came to his parents, the angel refused to eat of their bread. We bring nothing acceptable to God, unless it’s in faith and obedience through his Son. Our bread is the bread of wickedness, whereas he is the bread of heaven.
If there is one thing Samson’s life teaches us, and it teaches us plenty as discussed… is that his life teaches us the longsuffering of God. And thank God he is longsuffering otherwise we’d be cooked too. When you’ve sinned the trillionth time, be thankful that God is longsuffering. The longsuffering of God is salvation… any Christian who has grown in the faith sees how it was God being longsuffering the whole way. It is sad how people instead use God’s grace as permissiveness to go and sin more… or they think… because I sin and get by, there is no God. In Ezekiel 8:12 … for they say, the Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath forsaken the earth. We don’t have to do the bad things Samson did, but it’d be nice if we had the Spirit of the Lord, the blessing of God, his deliverance as Samson had when the Spirit came upon him. Samson’s life shows how good God is and how bad we are. And thats true of all of us… maybe it’s time for us to stop looking down our nose at him, because he is in Hebrews 11 for a reason… his flaws, his sins are laid bare for us in scripture, what would your life look like if it was in the Bible? He judged Israel for twenty years, yet we get just a few events in his life. How easy it is to undo a lot of good with some bad in our life. David did a lot right… but most remember that sin with Bathsheba. Never stop fighting… never quit… never think you’ve got life sorted out. None of us are beyond sin’s lure. So many advancements we make, progress we make in life… yet back to square one. It’s a shame for us if we never grow, if we can never judge… people say don’t judge… yet Samson was a… judge! We should be able to judge righteously… which is judging things according to God’s word. Samson’s hair that kept growing represented his Christian life, growing … yet to lose it all, to be shaved off. Don’t let someone shave you of everything God has shown you and done for you.
So it’s time to wrap this blog up… this story is a picture of salvation, and the life thereafter. It is littered with lessons and warnings… good for us to learn from, and bad for us to heed. It started with Israel in a bad state and the angel of the Lord coming to the woman with truth, with a promise, because God doesn’t want any of us to be barren and dead. This woman accepted the truth about herself, she was barren, and without that love of the truth, that ability to recognize truth, even if it’s incovenient and hard to accept about yourself… there is no help for you. Very few people love the truth. And because Jesus IS the truth, very people actually love Jesus. It is easy to misunderstand that Nazarite vow and how it applies to us. God doesn’t save us and then we “take it from here”. God just gives us commands because they’re good for us, and his Spirit puts it in our heart and enables us to live a life of godliness. Eat no unclean thing… that’s pretty good… if you are into drugs, alcohol, pornography… they’re unclean things.. and they will ruin us all. Are you consuming dead things? God’s “ordering” for our life is for our good. If you want to follow Jesus, get in the book and obey his ordering for your life. Imposing God’s commands on our flesh is a waste of our time, because we are fallen, so God births a new creature in us. That is being born again, it happens when we believe the gospel. The Bible says we are saved by grace through faith… unto good works. Hey, God’s ways are better than the ways we walked in before we got saved. We can once again walk in step with God as Adam once did before he sinned. We can’t do it in our energy, we need the Spirit of God. We need to be born again. We need to birth a Samson in our life. The gospel of Jesus Christ, he died for your sins.. will do that today.
I do hope when you get to the end of this blog that it made sense! I chased many rabbit trails but tried to stay on topic and not confuse the issue! Thank you for reading and I hope it is a blessing to you. May God bless his word to you, and may the gospel find good soil in your heart today. Manoah said to God, please come again. You may have had chances and God may have visited people, but you’ve missed out to date. Don’t let him pass by, don’t miss your blessing, don’t miss his instruction. What chance are you on in your life? How many chances does God have to give you. Jesus said seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Faith is an action word, God provides, but what will we do with it? The angel of the Lord pointed to God’s word, and pointed to that sacrifice, Jesus Christ… that’s what the Holy Spirit does, that’s what and who the Holy Spirit bears witness of. He takes you to Jesus Christ and his word. He will lead you into the truth, just as this angel did. And if you repent of your sins, and place your faith in Jesus Christ he will save you. After you are saved and have the Spirit of God, then walk in the Spirit! We see in Samson’s life he was moved by the Spirit, but he was led more by his flesh in what we read of him. If you are unsaved, you only have the flesh leading you, if you are saved, stop following your flesh and start walking in the Spirit. Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord. Samson’s power didn’t come in the flesh, in fact he was defeated in the flesh, but when the Spirit came upon him it enabled him… and our lives will go nowhere without that grace of God resting upon our lives, grace we do not deserve, just as Samson did not. Samon’s strength, strength not known to the Philistines, was when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him… and you won’t be able to see or enter the kingdom of God without being born again, and you certainly won’t be able to live it without his Holy Spirit. You need God’s ability, not your own. But that same Spirit of the Lord today can move our lives as we love him and abide in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The power is not ours, but it is his. As much as we want to criticize Samson, he was a lone fighter, all the rest of Israel was under Philistine dominion, he at least fought and won battles and had victories. There are just so many truths here… you do not have to be barren, trust in the Lord!