Summary: What did they do that we can learn from? First, they asked God to teach them what to do. Second, they committed themselves to obedience. Third, they kept an attitude of worship.
LIFE OF SAMSON: GOD DOES AMAZING THINGS
INTRODUCTION… Amazing Story 1 (p)
I remember the time I wrecked my dad’s car… I have tried to forget the details, but it was a mistake I made that I did not really learn from because I have had 2 accidents since that one with similar circumstances. It was the summer after my freshman year in college and I was at home for the summer working. I had finished my job in the morning watering trees. Oh yes, I had the glorious job of riding on the back of a watering truck and watering trees in the parks at Fort Hood, Texas for $4.75 an hour. I was following my co-worker after work on a gravel road. Before I continue with my story… did I mention I was young and dumb and a freshman in college? Anyway, I was driving on the gravel road and I came across a cattle guard on the back roads of Fort Hood. I was of course speeding along very well on the loose gravel road until I hit the cattle guard and I lost control of the car… my dad’s car… the car he had spent many hours of his life cleaning and waxing and caring for. It was a car he had purchased new and kept in tip top shape. He loved that car. I hit the cattle guard and lost control of the car, flipped onto the side of the car and then onto the roof and the car slid off the road into the dense bushes on the side of the road. I slid on the roof for a little bit and came to a stop upside down in the bushes.
What is amazing about this story is that I was not hurt even one little bit. Through flipping the car and sliding on the roof and climbing out… I was not hurt. God must have sent angels to guard and protect me because it was not a nice looking scene. What is also amazing is that my dad did not kill me… I was sure once I climbed out of the car and looked at what I had done that my death was immanent. I thoroughly totaled my dad’s pride and joy and amazingly was not hurt and was not maimed permanently by my dad. Amazing.
The passage we will look at today is an miracle story where God does amazing things. In fact, the words “very awesome” (verse 6), “beyond understanding” (verse 18), and “an amazing thing” (verse 19) all occur in this story as we read it. The passage is all about the announcement and the birth of Samson, a powerful judge in Israel who would lead his people for twenty years against the Philistines (Judges 16:31). The end in Judges 13 in verses 24-25 says, “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.” So we have a woman giving birth to a son and God blesses him. We find out later in the story of Samson that God blesses him with phenomenal divine strength. What makes the end of this chapter so amazing? What makes this birth so amazing? What makes this son born so special? Why are the words “awesome” and “beyond understanding” and “amazing thing” used in this chapter? To figure that out, we have to go back to the beginning of chapter 13 and set the stage.
SETTING OF THE STORY (VERSES 1-7)
Verse 1 in Judges 13 clues us into the spiritual condition of the people of God during this time: “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.” “Evil in the eyes of the Lord” means they were disobeying His commands, worshipping idols, not sacrificing correctly, and a whole host of other sins. The people forgot God and He removed His hand of protection from them and allowed the Philistines to oppress them.
Our story in chapter 13 centers around a town called Zorah with Manoah and his wife… I guess we’ll call her Mrs. Manoah. Verse 2 tells us Mrs. Manoah was “sterile and remained childless.” You and I know that this means no babies naturally. This is where the story begins to get amazing. Similar to Hannah in 1 Samuel 1, Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1, and quite similar to Elizabeth and Mary in Luke 1, an angel comes and brings news to Mrs. Manoah that a special baby will be born who is born with a special purpose. Verse 5 says, “No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines." The child born will be set apart for God to use to deliver His people… that is an amazing purpose to have in life.