- The no one asked for (v. 1-5)
- The (second) encounter (v. 6-22)
- The little is born (v. 24-25)
- Read Judges 13:1-2. In this cycle for the first time Israel does not even call out to God to save them. Two points about sin:
- Sin is violating God’s will for us: Notice in v. 1 the people sinned in the “Lord’s sight.” This is in contrast with “our sight.” At the end of Judges, we will see that in those days everyone did what was right in their own eyes. The definition of sin is not up to us, it is defined by God. Tim Keller says: “Sin does not ultimately consist of violating our conscience or violating our personal standards or violating community standards, but rather consists of violating God’s will for us.”In 2022 we live in a culture that says what is right and wrong is up to each individual. If it is right in my eyes, it’s right! I decide and no one else, certainly not God. The problem is history is littered with people doing unimaginable evil – justifying it as “right in their own eyes” (see the Nazis). We do not get to determine what is right or wrong. Goddetermines what is right and wrong.
- Sin is deceptive. We get caught in sin. It’s deceptive! Galatians 6:1 says: Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. We should never underestimate the deceitfulness of sin. Tim Keller says, “The Israelites had psychological and cultural rationalizations and supports for their sin, so they were in a kind of ‘group denial.’ In their own ‘eyes’or perception, there was nothing wrong with what they were doing.”
- Read the instructions for the Nazarite vow in Numbers 6:1-21. How is Samson’s Nazarite vow different than the norm? What kind of purity do you need to commit to in your life? How will you fulfill this commitment?
- How is God’s mercy shown to His people in v. 1-5? How has God’s mercy been shown in your life? Pray now and thank Him for His mercy.
- Read v. 6-7. What is the difference between what Manoah’s wife said and what the angel said in v. 3-5? We will soon see that Samson’s mother is right!
- Read v. 8-18. What does Manoah try to do? How does the angel respond? Are there times in your life when you are looking for answers and the Lord does not provide clarity? What can you do in times like this? Read Proverbs 3:5-6.
- The angel only appeared temporarily to Manoah and his wife, but Jesus came in the flesh! Miles Van Pelt says, “With the incarnation, the temporary appearance of the angel of the Lord as a man becomes a permanent reality in Jesus of Nazareth."
- Read v. 19-22. Fear gripped this couple when the angel disappeared into the flame. Before we look down on Manoah for his fear, we need to remember this is what he understood about God’s nature. Since he was young, he probably heard the stories about Moses, who encountered the Lord Almighty and was told, “No one can see my face and live” (Exodus 33:20). Do we worship with reverent awe? We may think we should not be afraid of God so we swing to the other extreme and act as if God is our buddy. Our worship of God ought to be both thankfulness for God’s personal nearness and a healthy fear of His infinite holiness and power. Both are true!
- Read v. 24-25. This is all we know of Samson’s birth and childhood. How do we see God’s mercy in these verses?
- Read Romans 12:1-2. How will you offer your body to God this week? How will you not be conformed to this age this week? How will you be transformed by the renewing of your mind this week?