Sermons

Summary: Couples, Pt. 5

A PARENT’S WORK IS NEVER DONE (JUDGES 14:1-15:1)

Have you heard of the “Parent’s Dictionary of Meanings” in deciphering children speak?

DUMBWAITER: one who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

FEEDBACK: the inevitable result when the baby doesn’t appreciate the strained carrots.

FULL NAME: what you call your child when you’re mad at him.

GRANDPARENTS: the people who think your children are wonderful even though they’re sure you’re not raising them right.

HEARSAY: what toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.

INDEPENDENT: how we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.

OW: the first word spoken by children with older siblings

PUDDLE: a small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes into it.

SHOW OFF: a child who is more talented than yours.

STERILIZE: what you do to your first baby’s pacifier by boiling it, and to your last baby’s pacifier by blowing on it and wiping it with saliva.

TOP BUNK: where you should never put a child wearing Superman jammies.

TWO-MINUTE WARNING: when the baby’s face turns red and she begins to make those familiar (bowel) grunting noises.

VERBAL: able to whine in words

WHODUNIT: none of the kids that live in your house.

One of the sweetest couples in the Bible is Manoah and his wife, but their child was more than a handful, more than any normal parent could handle. Their child was a special gift and a miracle child when the couple was childless. From the very beginning, the couple knew that they were simply entrusted with the task of raising Samson and that God had other plans for him. The emerging adult Samson had superhuman strength, drew national attention and was destined for great things. He was set apart by God from birth to deliver of Israel from the hands of the Philistines (Judg 13:5).

How do parents prepare their hearts and their child to experience life’s success and setbacks, its twists and turns, and his friends and foes? What if your child is a gifted child? How do you help him or her fulfill his or her potential and avoid the pitfalls?

Parenting is a Privileged Responsibility

12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy’s life and work?” 13 The angel of the LORD answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.” (Judg 13:12-14)

24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him, 25 and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. (Judg 13:24)

USA Today released the results of a survey by Public Agenda, a non-profit research organization, on how 1,607 parents of kids age 5-17 feel and say about their success in raising kids and the hurdles and hindrances of child-rearing. 91% of parents say honesty is essential, but only 55% say they have succeeded in teaching it. 84% of adults say courtesy is essential and 62% have succeeded in teaching it. 83% of parents say it is vital to teach kids self-control, but only 34% admitted they have succeeded. 82% believe it is essential to teach their children to do their best in school, but only 50% can say they have gotten their message across. 74% say independence is essential but only 38% say they have conveyed it successfully. 70% say good money habits are essential but only a mere 28% says the message is gotten across.

About 90% of the same parents lament that say TV programs are getting worse every year because of bad language and adult themes in shows during prime time. However, 93% say TV is all right as long as children watch the right shows in moderation. (USA Today 10/30/02 “Parents feel they’re failing to teach values.”)

Manoah and his wife were godly believers and parents and they took the roles of marriage and parenting very seriously. In fear and trembling they sought God’s will and asked for advice on raising the child God gave them. Manoah already heard from his wife what the angel of God had told her (Judg 13:5), but he wanted to learn more. No one could blame him. God has promised his wife not an ordinary child, but a hero, a champion, a warrior, the nation’s treasure, deliverer, and leader (Judg 13:5). The weight of expectation was too much for one parent to carry alone. He couldn’t fathom or allow it. The verb describing Manoah’s praying in verse 8 is not the more general Hebrew word for praying (palal) that occurs 84 times in the Bible, but the more urgent word for prayer that occurs 20 times, 8 of them for Pharaoh’s pleading for Moses to intercede for him (Ex 8:8, 9, 28, 29, 30; 9:28; 10:17, 18). The KJV and NASB translate this word as “entreat.” Manoah’s prayer was urgent, uninterrupted and unrelenting.

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