The Bible says in Judges 12:7-15, And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead. And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. Then died Ibzan, and was buried at Bethlehem. And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years. And Elon the Zebulonite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the country of Zebulun. And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years. And Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of the Amalekites. In the previous chapters we were told a lot about Jephthah, and so it is a little surprising that he only judged Israel for six years. A lot can be done for God in just a short time. That is one of the reasons that it is never too late to stat serving Him. The earthly ministry of Jesus was only three years, and of course, Jesus accomplished more than anyone else. All of the judges in this list had relatively short times as a judge. The longest was ten years. Some day we will find out about how God used them. Basically, the story recorded for Ibzan, Elon, Abdon is this: they lived, the judged a few years, and then they died. That will be your story too. You live, you have your opportunity to serve, and then you will die. As it says in James 4:14, For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Turn to the Lord Jesus while there is time.
The Bible says in Judges 13:1-5, And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Of course, Israel followed their constant pattern. They did evil again in the sight of the LORD. Some people might think that the Israelites were much than we are. But every Christian sins every day. Just make sure that you turn to the Lord Jesus every day for daily cleansing. Once you come to know Jesus, you are clean every bit and thus you will end up in heaven, but your feet need to be cleansed every day so you can keep walking in fellowship with Christ. What if you do not confess your sins daily? Then you will suffer chastisements. Do not be foolish. Confess your sins quickly and turn back to the Lord. The Israelites were into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
And so the Bible comes to the story of one of the most well-known judges of Israel: Samson the man known for his great physical strength. First, we are told how Samson came into the world. Like everyone, God had a purpose for Samson even before he was born. God was guiding and blessing, and God brought his mother and father together in order to give Samson life. Every child is a precious gift from God. Samsons mother, Manoah, was barren and had no child. But God sent an angel to her and told her that she would conceive and bear a child. Manoah was told that during the pregnancy she should drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing. Her diet was important as she was carrying a child within her. We know that the same will be true about Samson for his entire life. It is important to notice in the age in which we live that there was to be no wine nor strong drink. In this context wine is referred to here are wine with alcohol content. Wine without alcohol is grape juice, but it is still called wine in the Bible. Context tells us if the word wine in the Bible refers to an alcohol drink or to grape juice. For example, it says in Proverbs 20:1, Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. Since wine is forbidden to drink in the Bible, here in this context wine is a beverage with alcohol. On the other hand, the first miracle that Jesus did was changing water into wine. Since this wine was good to drink and since Jesus made it, we know that it had to have been grape juice: wine without alcohol. It says in John 2:7-9, Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom. Food and drink go into us, and God wants that food and drink to be the best in order to symbolize what good things really need to go into us: Spirit and truth. It says in Ephesians 5:18, And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.
In addition to the dietary restrictions, Samson would be given another restriction for which Samson would be well-known: no rasor shall come on his head. Samson would have long hair. Why long hair? Everyone would see his long hair and would know that it meant that he was dedicated to serving God. The Lord wants all Christians to have a testimony like that. Not that we would have long hair, but that we would have a testimony so that when others see our lives, they will know that we are believers in Jesus and followers of Jesus. Do not be a conformist to the world in at least some ways. Romans 12:2 says, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The Bible says in Judges 13:6-7, Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. We can tell from these verses that Manoahs wife was very shocked by the visit of the angel, but she did not get much out of the visit except for the one amazing sentence, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death. The woman and her husband had probably given up having children, and so this would have been very welcome news indeed. Both her and her husband seemed to be puzzled about the instruction for raising their son that they would be given as we see from the next verses.
The Bible says in Judges 13:8-20, Then Manoah intreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him? And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe. And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee. And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD. And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour? And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. One thing is for certain: Manoah and his wife had the right attitude concerning having a child. They knew that they needed to find out what the Lord wanted them to do in raising the child. Every child is a gift from God. Every child is given life because the Lord decided to give life to it. If the Lord gives you a child, the number one consideration should be: how does the Lord want me to raise this child for Him? Pray about it. Manoah prayed to the Lord and said in verse eight, teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. One of the sad things in this world are the parents who do not ask such a question of the Lord. Some Christian parents want their own will to take place in regards to their own hopes and desires for their child. Lost people have no consideration whatsoever as to the spiritual needs of the children. That is why so many do not see the need of taking their children to a Bible-teaching church.
Verse nine says, God hearkened to the voice of Manoah. God answered that prayer. God sent the angel a second time just as Manoah requested. But notice what the angel said. The angel said, I already told you what to do. I have nothing to say but what I already said. The angel said in verse thirteen, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware. If you do not do things Gods way, do not expect very good results. If you do not raise the child the way that God wants you to, there is a lot to lose. You can lose the will of God. You can lose all that the child might have accomplished. Of course, there are no guarantees. Every child will eventually make his or her own decisions. Will your child be like Cain or like Abel? Only time will tell, but your responsibility as a parent is to bring up the child according to the revealed will of God. Warn your children about strong substances such as alcohol and illegal drugs and prescription drugs, and do not take them yourself. And most importantly, teach your child the things of God. That is what is meant in Ephesians 6:4 that says, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Manoah and his wife were not given any new information from the Lord, but they were allowed to see the angel ascend into heaven through the fire of the burning sacrifice. And that had the proper effect on the couple. It says at the end of verse twenty, And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. God knows how to get through to people and to touch them. Parents need to be touched concerning the awesome responsibility of bringing up a child. It cannot be done properly without Gods help.
Copyright; 2020 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved