Raising A LeaderA certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”Judges 13:2-5
For context, read Judges 13
Being a mother is hard work. Sometimes, it takes so long to see the fruits of our labor that we feel like we aren’t doing anything important. We wonder if we are making a difference at all. Everything seems so mundane. Diapers, feedings, cooking meals, cleaning up toys, singing songs, reading stories, breaking up fights, dropping them off, picking them up... The days often feel like they are on repeat. As moms, we long to know that what we are doing is important work. Kingdom work.
When we come to Samson’s mom in the Biblical narrative, we come to a woman who did something of Kingdom significance. But we don’t even know her name. She is only referred to as “Manoah’s wife” or “the woman”. And yet, she received an extraordinary blessing wrapped up in an ordinary role. Like so many other women in the Scriptures, she was barren. Until the LORD stepped in. The angel of the LORD appeared to her and told her that she was going to become pregnant with a son who was to be dedicated to God. He was to be a Nazirite.
A Nazirite took a vow to be set apart for the service of God. As a Nazirite, the angel of the LORD said that the woman's son was not to drink anything fermented, eat or touch anything unclean, or ever have a razor touch his head for his entire life. Even in the womb, Samson was not to have wine. His mother was instructed to abstain from all fermented beverages.
When the angel of the LORD told her these things, she went to her husband and told him what had happened. Her husband, Manoah, prayed to the LORD and asked for the angel of the LORD to return to teach them how to bring the boy up. He wanted to be absolutely sure that they were raising Him exactly as God intended. The angel of the LORD did come back and He told Manoah that his wife needed to do everything that He had already commanded her. Then Manoah prepared a burnt offering to the LORD. During the burnt offering the angel of the LORD worked miracles in front of them and then ascended in the flame that blazed up from the altar. That is when Manoah realized that this was the Angel of the LORD-a preincarnate Jesus and He was afraid that they would die because they had seen God.
But his wife speaks sense to him. She said that if the Angel of the LORD wanted to kill them, He wouldn’t have accepted the offering, told them that they were going to become pregnant, and He wouldn’t have given them instructions on how to raise their son as a Nazirite. Eventually, she gives birth to her son and names him Samson. Samson would grow to become a judge of Israel, full of physical strength and power from God.
The WORD about women in the story of Samson’s mother is that there is no such thing as “just a mom”. God uses mothers for extraordinary purposes, especially when we are obedient to raise our children as the LORD commanded. Sisters, we can’t forget that being a mom or a caretaker of children is Kingdom work. God has a plan for the children in our lives. Who knows who they will become? God does. We get to lay down the foundation of their faith and have a front row seat to watch God work. ReflectHave you ever felt like the work you are doing is unimportant or doesn’t matter? How can you do the work that God has called you to do with Kingdom purpose?PrayFather, thank You for the gift of children. Help me to raise my children as You have commanded or to support a mother who is seeking to raise her children as You have instructed. Amen.