Father, You provide me with instruction from Your Word and help by Your Spirit. I desire to be obedient – not just for me in my life – but also for the generations to come.
Focus of the Month: Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Hope
No (wo)man is an island. Everyone plays a part. You are a piece in God’s big puzzle. Every joint provides a supply. It takes a village.
Have you ever heard these phrases? Maybe you have or haven’t. Perhaps you wholeheartedly agree or disagree with them. Today, we are visiting the life of a woman whose choice to obey or disobey would affect the generation to come.
The wife of Manoah was visited by the angel of Lord and given specific instruction. This account is in Judges 13:
There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” (Judges 13:2-5)
The angel gave Manoah’s wife explicit instructions. The reason? The child would be a Nazirite to God from conception. What does that mean? We find the Nazirite Vow in Numbers 6. From that passage, we learn a Nazirite can be a man or a woman who makes a special vow to separate him- or her-self to the Lord. Nazirites refrain from the consumption of alcohol, and go so far as to not consume any product of the grapevine, including the seeds or the skins. In addition, the Nazirites do not cut their hair, nor go near any dead body.
Manoah’s wife could have opted to ignore the angel’s instructions. She could have defiled her child from the Nazirite Vow while the babe was still in her womb. Or, as the child grew, she could have not watched, nurtured, and cared for him in such a way as to protect him in the Nazirite requirements. But she didn’t. Instead, she was obedient to the instructions of the angel of the Lord.
How do we know? She mothered Samson, the victorious Israelite warrior and judge. Perhaps you are familiar with Samson’s story…but have you ever considered his mother? Before Samson would be responsible and accountable for his own choices and actions, his mother was the one charged with his protection, upbringing, and preservation.
Mothers play a vital role in the upbringing of their children – from the moment of conception until the children are of an age of their own accountability. But not just mothers. All of us speak into the lives of so many others every single day. Teachers, volunteers, employees, neighbors, families, … every single relationship and interaction poses the opportunity to encourage others in fulfilling their destiny in Christ.
Maybe you feel like no one is watching, and your obedience – or lack of – affects no one but yourself. That is a falsity. The Apostle Paul teaches us that every single one of us helps fulfill the purpose of God. He reaffirms that God has called us, predestined us for good works, and created us to be His hands and feet in the earth as we love Him and love others. Further, our choices can be an encouragement or a cause of stumbling to others. And finally, we are to help hold others up in strength, encouragement, and care.
Manoah’s wife set her trust in the words of the angel of the Lord. She committed to the instructions that were given to her. She cast her vision on her child’s destiny, instead of on her own fleshly desires. She secured her hope in the fulfillment of the angel’s words. And, she witnessed her son grow into the man God created him to be.
Samson’s mother brought the “mother lode” to the Israelites in the form of her son whom the Spirit of the Lord could rush upon and display supernatural-strength for the Israelites to defeat the Philistines.
How about you and I? Are we committed to obedience to God as we nurture others to fulfill their destinies in Christ? It’s a tall order…but I am convinced each one of us can help bring the benefit, fulfillment, treasure, and victory for others simply through our own obedience. Expand your vision to generations to come, and set your hope on God’s purpose – not just in you, but in them.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Judges 13-16; Numbers 6:1-21; 1 Corinthians 8:9, 12:12-31; Hebrews 12:3-17; Ephesians 2:1-10