We should pay close attention to the ups and downs in the book of Judges. Typically before the cycle down into difficult times, there is a clue for us as to why… such as in Judges 13, “Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, so that the LORD gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.”
When we as YHWH’s people turn from him and do evil in his sight, he will discipline us to help lead us back to him. Let us not be so hard hearted as to require such discipline before we humble ourselves and pray and ask for forgiveness and turn from our wicked ways. Let us look around us today and pray and seek righteousness. Our culture is in a significant spiritual war for the future of our nation. We must stand up for YHWH’s values and against the ways of men which continually draw us away from him toward depravity.
We can also see the LORD desires to bring us back to him because of his grace, mercy, and abundant lovingkindness. If we are so fortunate as to hear from his messengers directly then let us pay close attention. We can ask for him to repeat the message or to verify and he may accommodate as with Manoah below and with Gideon earlier in Judges. He may not choose to tell us all we want to know, but he will tell us what he wants us to know and we should accept and obey.
Philistines Oppress Again
1Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, so that the LORD gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years.
2There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. 3Then the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. 4“Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. 5“For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” 6Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. 7“But he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink nor eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”
8Then Manoah entreated the LORD and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.” 9God listened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came the other day has appeared to me.” 11Then Manoah arose and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to the woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12Manoah said, “Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?” 13So the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Let the woman pay attention to all that I said. 14“She should not eat anything that comes from the vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; let her observe all that I commanded.”
15Then Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” 16The angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD.” For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD. 17Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?” 18But the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” 19So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the LORD, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.
21Now the angel of the LORD did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. 22So Manoah said to his wife, “We will surely die, for we have seen God.” 23But his wife said to him, “If the LORD had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time.”
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