Reading: Judges 13:1-25
Focus Verse: Judges 13:23
But his wife answered, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”
We could dig deeper on a number of things in this reading today… A barren woman being told she’d bear a child, Manoah praying in faith and asking for confirmation of what his wife was told, the couple asking God to show them how to raise their child, or what it means that the spirit of the Lord began to “stir” in Samson.
But, as we’re in the middle of a relationship series, it seems fitting that this is a story of a husband and wife working together to understand, confirm, and live out what God has planned for them. They both know the Lord, enough so as to know that they would not see the face of God and live (Exodus 33:20). It seems, though, that Manoah needed a little help sharpening his faith – first by asking God for proof of what his wife told him, then from his wife after he got confirmation.
What if Manoah’s wife had kept it from him that she’d talked to an angel? What if she got lippy with him when he asked for confirmation of the visitor? What if she said, “No, you idiot… we’re not going to die. How dumb can you be?” Well, if that were the case, she probably wouldn’t have been chosen to be Samson’s mother…
Instead, Manoah’s wife encouraged him in each instance. Her faith may have been a bit stronger than his at that moment – exactly what he needed. When we’re equally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14), we hold each other up. When we encourage each other, correct each other in love, and share life together, we sharpen each other in faith. We know that this was a long-childless couple, which also suggests that there has been some heartache in this relationship. I’d be willing to bet that Manoah has shown the same kindness and encouragement to his wife at some point. They have established a kind, gentle, loving way with each other.
We cannot individually handle everything life throws at us… sometimes we doubt. Sometimes we need proof. Sometimes we blow it. We don’t always “get it.” Healthy relationships with other believers provide the encouragement we need to continue to trust and believe that God is God, and that God is good. In this case, that relationship was between a husband and wife. (For you single readers, this is a great example of why it’s so important to be married to a believer.)
Friends, in your marriages, in your friendships (ok, really in any relationship) be kind to each other. Be encouraging to each other. Hold each other up! Yoke equally with other believers and help each other. We’ll all be better for it.
God, will You soften my heart and my words toward others? Inspire me with Your grace, and show me where I can encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for being the perfect example of gentleness – let me embody that for the glory of Your Kingdom! In Jesus’ name, Amen.