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Summary: We have lots of questions...one is why try to get close to God?

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18The angel of GOD said, “What’s this? You ask for my name?

You wouldn’t understand—it’s sheer wonder.” Judges 13:18 (TMSG)

Decades ago Oswald Chambers wrote about spiritual perseverance, defining it as… not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately, knowing with certainty that God will never be defeated. The Bible is full of examples of men and women who didn’t “just-hang-on” but rather “hung-in” with God, pressing for illumination, inspiration and insight. [1]

• Abraham pressed the angel of God to not destroy Sodom if he could find just ten righteous people in that wicked city.

• Moses stood in the gap for the disobedient children of Israel, pressing God to save them rather than annihilate them.

• Paul pressed God to remove a thorn from his flesh.

• Peter nearly fainted, but stammered a faint “You know that I love you” in response to Jesus’ question; it was a pressing of his hope to yet serve, even though he’d failed.

In today’s text, poor Manoah, unfortunately, cannot be counted among these heroes of the faith; he didn’t even have a clue he was speaking to God.

The details of this chapter of Israel’s history are straight-forward:

Manoah and his wife had no children. In that time and culture, not having children was thought to be punishment for sin. At the very least it put the future in question for the couple, as they’d have no one to care for them in old age.

They had also been born into a world where wickedness and godlessness were the norm. Israel had forgotten their whole mission was to serve Yahweh, and they were about to enter 40 years of punishment – domination by their arch enemies, the Philistines. But the LORD also decided to send a deliverer…a child born to Manoah and his wife, whom she would name Samson. Samson would grow up in the midst of Israel’s punishment and shame to become the national judge to lead a rout of the Philistines, ending God’s judgment on his disobedient children.

The incident of chapter 13:

• An “angel of the LORD ” visits Manoah’s wife alone, giving her the news. [2]

• The wife informs Manoah, who may have been somewhat frustrated and jealous that an angel came to the woman, not him – or simply disbelieving that a mere woman got it right. He prays God would send the angel back to clarify a few details. God consents and the angel reappears, but only to Mrs. Manoah, who runs to get her husband, who then meets him.

• Manoah asks (as did Moses at the burning bush) “what’s your name?” The angel informs him not to worry about it. Spiritually blind-as-a-bat, Manoah could never really comprehend; it’s a name “too wonderful”.

• Manoah wants the angel to stay for dinner, but the angel refuses, telling him if he wanted to make a roast, to offer it as a sacrifice to the LORD. When Manoah does this the angel joins the sparks of the offering as they float heavenward.


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