At the end of our last post, “Wonder–Too Good to Stop There,” we left our Old Testament story, taking a look at the Angel of the LORD; His appearance was jaw-dropping…VERY jaw-dropping; it inspired the woman He spoke with to stand in an abundance of awe, reverence, Godly fear…or, most likely, all three! We considered what would leave us in an abundance of these three responses, which led me to think about creation, in all of its wonder, giving us a view, in a way that we can see, of Jesus, Creator, A Wonder; it helps us visualize a number of His imposing attributes in a way we can begin to grasp.
“What can be known about God is clear to them, because He has made it clear to them. From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what He made. As a result, people have no excuse.”Romans 1:19-20 GWT
Let’s read on in our Judges 13 story and see what else the LORD wants to show us. If you haven’t had a chance to read Judges 13 on your own and have a couple minutes to do so now, feel free to come back to this…
After the woman explained what she could to her husband about her encounter with the Angel of the LORD, her husband prayed to the LORD, asking that the Man of God would come, again, to them to teach them what they were to do for the child. STOP (Yes, I’m still practicing sending telegrams!). How many times has someone explained something to you, and you just won’t believe it until you saw it for yourself…with your own eyes? Can we be a little like “Doubting Thomas,” sometimes? I’m not saying this was, indeed, the case with Manoah, but his response makes me wonder. It’s possible that if he was presented with a message from the LORD, he could have wanted to make sure his wife didn’t forget anything they were supposed to do; he wanted to be sure of every last detail. His wife did admit there were a couple things she didn’t ask the Angel of the LORD, so he may have just wanted to be assured that he, too, knew what was required, and that they didn’t miss a thing. Do you see the craving, emerging…the one we spoke of in the last post…the one with a desire to know?!
There are benefits from “digging in.” We become more invested when we are part of something, but we have to understand that there are responsibilities for the knowledge we obtain; we are responsible for DOING it!
“Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do, yet fails to do it, is guilty of sin.”James 4:17 BSB
What I love about Manoah’s prayer is that he wanted to know. He wanted to make sure that they knew everything they were supposed to do for the child God was giving them. This means he believed his wife’s story, he believed that her getting pregnant was possible, that God was real, and that the Angel of the LORD visiting his wife did happen! What originally looks like a potential lack of faith turns into evidence that there was much faith…and he went to the right source for knowledge and wisdom!
“O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways!”Romans 11:33 BSB
Many years ago, I was convicted of seeking knowledge from the wrong sources. If I didn’t know what to do in a given situation, I would go to my husband…or call my parents. These are strong sources for knowledge and wisdom that the LORD may choose to use, but they were not THE source that I needed to go to first. I am so thankful the Spirit of God checked me on that! Since then, I cannot explain the joy and deepening relationship I have had with the LORD, as I have grown in seeking Him first, even in the littlest things!
We see in Verse 9 of our story that “God listened to the voice of Manoah.” STOP. Many times, people wonder if God really hears our prayers…if He really listens. We do need to be careful of a few things, as we interact with God.
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.”1 John 5:14-15 ESV
“For this reason I say to you, all the things that you ask when you are praying, believe that you will receive them, and they shall be given to you. But when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive, so that your Father Who is in heaven may forgive you your offenses. ”~ Jesus, Mark 11:24-25 AFV
“But he must ask in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”James 1:6-8 NASB
“I call upon You, for You will answer me, O God; incline Your ear to me; hear my words.”Psalm 17:6 ESV
I love this picture. The word “incline” means to lean…to not be sitting straight up or laying flat down; it’s an angled sort of position. Think of when someone is whispering something to you, and you really want to hear it; you lean in, usually, on an angle to hear what is being said. If you don’t care to hear it, you may lean away from the person speaking, but this verse says, “incline Your ear TO ME!” Doesn’t this give you a beautiful visual? The LORD is leaning in; He wants to hear what you have to say!
Even in our inability to fully comprehend the wonder of what He can do…or who He is, God hears our prayers! And more than that…He listens!! He sent that “one more sign” to prove to Manoah it was Him, and this message was from Him. He wants us to know Him…to trust Him!
“Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered.”~ Jesus, John 15:7 CEV
God listened to Manoah’s prayer, and the Angel of God appeared to the woman, yet again. Isn’t it interesting that it was Manoah’s prayer being answered, but the Angel of God came to Manoah’s wife, again…and Manoah wasn’t there?…God, sometimes, answers our prayers through other people. Is God prompting or nudging you to give a message to someone? If so, are you listening to the message to make sure to get every detail He is willing to give you to pass on? Have you obeyed Him and carried out what He asked you to do?
Manoah’s wife, as soon as the Angel of God appeared to her, ran quickly to Manoah and let him know the Man of God was back, again…the same One Who visited her before! STOP. I am sure there were attributes that are hard to believe would belong to anyone else but HIM, but the fact is, Manoah’s wife recognized Him. Let that sink in.
This week, I was blessed with receiving a message from someone that was God’s perfect timing for what I was experiencing. I hadn’t prayed for it, but God knew I would need it, nonetheless, and sent the word to a friend. This friend obeyed the nudging from the LORD and spoke the words I needed to hear. I am SO thankful for this friend’s obedience…and SO in awe of my God, knowing me and listening to my heart, even when words were not, specifically, expressed to Him!! He is mind blowing!!
The LORD wants us to keep soaking in His character…this pattern of wonder, as we take yet another post beyond this one (and, maybe even more beyond that) to continue diving into this story in Judges. Until then, do you have any requests that seem to be “floating out there?” Is it taking a while for the answer to come? If so, are you keeping your mind focused on the wonder of the One Who IS listening? Are you in awe of Who He is and what He can do; respecting HIS knowledge, love, and purpose above what YOU know and YOUR purpose; possessing Godly fear of wanting what HE wants, because you know that will be best; and submitting to HIS authority, knowing He WILL answer you when the timing is best for HIS glory…HIS purpose? How are you doing? Feel free to comment; I’d like to know how to pray for you.
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