I know we have been marinating on a similar theme for three posts already, but the LORD has made it clear that He wants us to know Him for Who He is! Today, we are going to continue looking at Jesus, A Wonder–a name by which He was prophesied to be called by the prophet Isaiah. We’ll continue looking at a story in Judges 13 that, while it doesn’t talk about Jesus, specifically, was foreshadowing Christ’s birth and mission.
In the last post, we hit on a variety of topics, as we learned more about Manoah’s prayer to the LORD; wanting to know God; doubting versus faith; God listening and answering prayers, leaning in, because He wants to hear from us; how we need to interact with God to ensure our prayers are heard with no sinful hindrance; the responsibility of doing what the LORD commands us to do when He DOES answer; as well as recognizing Him…Yeah. We went over quite a bit! I hope it was enough to keep you in a place of awe this week, as you take your requests to Him; wait for an answer; focus on the wonder of the One Who IS listening, Who He is, and what He can do; respect HIS knowledge, love, and purpose above what YOU know and YOUR purpose; possess Godly fear of wanting what HE wants, because you know that will be best; and submit to HIS authority, knowing He WILL answer you when the timing is best for HIS glory…HIS purpose.
Last time, we left the story where Manoah had prayed to the LORD, Who listened to His prayer and answered it. It was interesting that the Man of God appeared, again, to Manoah’s wife, not Manoah, who had prayed for His return. Can we stop there?!? We didn’t call this out last week, but Verse 9 of this chapter (NKJV) says “the woman…was sitting in the field, but her husband was not with her.” While we don’t know what, particularly, she was doing in the field or what kind of field it was, we know she was there, and it appears she was alone. She could have been gleaning on all fours in a field, picking up what was left over from the harvesters, was exhausted, and sat down for a minute; it’s been suggested she could have been a shepherdess, tending to her flock of sheep; or this could have been where the Angel of God appeared to her before, so she may have returned there, if she knew about her husband’s prayer, in expectant anticipation of the Angel of God’s return. Whatever she was doing, she seemed to be alone, she recognized Him, and ran to get her husband; she wanted to be sure he could experience this wonder, too!
I was talking about this with my parents the other day. My mom brought up her observation that people were, typically, alone when they were visited by an angel. We established previously that this was a “theophanic” angel, which means it’s God showing Himself in a way that was clear to see. With this in mind, do you find yourself often in a place of quiet and rest, alone, where you can hear a word from the LORD, or do you busy yourself with schedules, to-do lists, people, music, etc., that fills your mind with constant noise? Do you quiet yourself before the LORD long enough to see Him when He appears or hear Him when He speaks? If not, I encourage you to stop, wherever you are, find a quiet place…alone, and rest in that quiet, asking the LORD to show you whatever He has for you today.
So, Manoah followed his wife to the Man of God and proceeded to ask Him if He was the same Man Who showed up to his wife before. Mind you, his wife just told him in Verse 10 that it was the same Man who came to her the other day! There is a bit of a theme here. Remember when Manoah asked God to send the Man of God, again, to teach them what they were to do for the child? This was after his wife had already explained what the Angel of the LORD had said to her! Now, he is asking the Man of God if He is the same One Who came before, after his wife said He was! It’s easy to think Manoah may have been the kind of guy who had to be shown or told personally for him to believe it. Then, again, he could have recognized what a wonder this was, and he just wanted to be certain, going directly to the source of wisdom! I guess we’ll leave this as something we weren’t meant to know, for sure, but it IS a reminder to be joyful and content when the LORD gifts us with wisdom through His Spirit! Another thing to remember is that we do not have to always seek to be the main contact in every instance; the LORD uses the body of Christ in a way that encourages one another. Also, there is a call to trust…trust what the LORD gives you for now; it’s what we are responsible for.
Moving on in our story, the Angel of the LORD confirms that He’s the Same One Who appeared to Manoah’s wife before, and Manoah proceeds to agree with what He had said would come to pass. However, Manoah wants to confirm some things about this son he was going to have…What kind of a man was he going to be? What’s going to be the way God uses him to judge; what’s he going to do? Manoah wants to know! He’s seeking answers, yet God doesn’t always give us the answers we seek in the way we want them. The Angel of the LORD’s response to Manoah was to make sure Manoah’s wife obeyed everything the Angel of the LORD had told her last time…and, then, He proceeded to re-state to Manoah what He had told her NOT to do during her pregnancy, since her son would be set apart to serve God, a Nazirite.
Can you relate? How many times have you prayed for something, and God answers…but SO in a way you would never have expected or dreamed…or maybe in a way you thought wasn’t a good answer? The important thing to note here in this story and translate to our lives is that God answers with what is important for us to know. If we know everything, we very well, even with the best of intentions, could get in the way of God’s plan. What was important for Manoah and his wife was to set this son apart to serve God. He told them what THEY needed to do. Everything else was in God’s hands–HIS responsibility, so there was no need to concern them with that. Sometimes, when we receive answers, we may feel like He isn’t answering, yet God IS answering. He answers us with what we need to know…for that time…for that commission…for what we are equipped for and what He wants us to do. If He isn’t answering, it’s possible that the rest of what we WANT TO KNOW isn’t necessary for us to know and is something HE plans to take care of. There’s no need to always give us details of what we can’t do anything about; it may just cause confusion for us, thinking it’s something we need to do, when it’s not.
Did you notice what kind of questions Manoah wanted to know about? He wanted to know what kind of a man his son was going to be…What’s going to be the way God used him to judge; what was he going to do? So often, we get caught up in what other people are doing or are supposed to be doing, rather than looking at ourselves and whether or not WE are doing what WE have been called to! Comparison games, diversions of attention, etc., can be destructive! Let’s be people, set apart to serve God, who are solely focused on what God is directing US to do…and do it well!
So, we know that this story foreshadows the coming of Christ. As we know, Manoah wanted to know what kind of a man his son was going to be, what was going to be the way God used him to judge, and what he was going to do. Since we know this is a foreshadowing of Jesus, let’s find some answers, relating to the Son of God, that can be answered in the following passage:
“For unto us a Child is born; unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this.”Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV
Let’s dig in and see the correlation between the two…
|Son, given to Manoah and his wife||Son of God, given to the people of the world|
|Manoah wanted to know what kind of a man his son was going to be||Jesus was going to shoulder the responsibility of kingship (ruler), have authority, control, be One Whom you stand in awe of, be a counselor, be mighty, be God, be the ultimate “Father Time” (He was, is, and will be the ruler and originator of all specified time: past, present, and future), and be the Prince of Peace (rather than war).|
|Manoah wanted to know the way God planned to use his son to judge; what’s he going to do?||Jesus was going to establish His kingdom with abundant control and abundant peace, which won’t end. He will order His kingdom and set it up with judgment and justice at that time until forever.|
The word for “judgment” here in Isaiah 9:7 is the same word used in Judges 13:12…the one where Manoah wanted to know the way God planned to use his son to judge. Jesus is The Judge and will set up His kingdom with judgment and justice!
Check this out…”The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this.” He greatly desires to see this happen!!! And not only that, but in the original text, it has a word at the end of the verse, after “do, make,” which is translated as “will perform” above. The word is “Ithiel (eeth-ee-ale’),” which translates, “with me is God” and “God has arrived!!!” Soak that in!! God is SO excited about doing this that He commissioned His Son, Immanuel (God with Us), to fulfill this prophecy! Praise God!! If THAT doesn’t excite you and make you stand in awe,…
How have you seen God arrive in your life? If so, where? What is He telling you? If it’s a message you are allowed to share, please comment and encourage the rest of us in our Liv community.
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