Beyond Understanding

Judges 13:17-25

17Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”

18He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” 19Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.

22“We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”

23But 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.” 24The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, 25and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Introduction

The geological wonders of the world are amazing. But what have you experienced as believer that you were amazed and cannot explain in plain word?

Ananias cannot believe that the Lord told him to go and see Paul. It says in Acts 9:13-16, 13“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

The Lord uses the unexpected as instrument for His purposes. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, 27God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.

We can be amazed when the Lord does something beyond understanding.

1. Amaze

17Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?” 18He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.”

The angel’s name was so amazing that Manoah’s human mind cannot comprehend, the angel declared. The angel could have used ordinary word that Manoah can understand but did not give a name when Manoah asked, why?

God sent the angel to tell Manoah to obey all the commands during his wife’s pregnancy and after the child is born. Giving a name was not included in the Lord’s instruction. Did not give a name and did not taste the food offering that Manoah prepared, the angel has exemplified what total obedience to the Lord is.

19Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.

If you see an angel goes up in the flame toward heaven, won’t you be amazed? That event was a practical display of mysterious things that we cannot understand. It is easier to ignore mysteries than to accept them. But, mysterious things should help us accept that God’s wonderful works are not easy for us to understand. They are beyond the boundary of our comprehension.

It says in Psalm 89:5-6, 5The heavens praise your wonders, Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. 6For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?

Pharaoh’s Dream

You may have dreamed and puzzled and you desire to know its meaning?

The Bible has many events where God has spoken to individuals in a dream. Pharaoh dreamed as narrated in Genesis 41:15-16, 15Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

God gave Joseph wisdom to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Yet, Joseph said he cannot interpret. Instead, he said the God will give Pharaoh’s desired answer. When Joseph point to God as revealer of mystery, he testified that God wanted to reveal His wonderful ways not everybody but to selected individuals.

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 11:25-27, 25I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. 27All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

In and through Christ, God revealed to believers not everything but enough information for us to understand more about life in eternity. Christ proclaimed that His Father hid them from the wise and learned. Only by faith in Christ, not by human intellectuality that one may accept and believe the mysteries of God.

When Manoah saw the angel went up in the flame, it was God’s assurance that he and his wife were chosen as parents of a child who will save Israel. No one else had seen that wonderful event that they have witnessed. Manoah was so scared but his wife told him that the Lord accepted their burnt offering.

2. Accept

21When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. 22“We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!” 23But 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.”

When Manoah said they were doomed to die, he acknowledged that they were not perfect. He was humble to admit that they were not righteous people. Even so, his wife was smart to reason out that the Lord has accepted their burnt offering which implies that God has favored them to see mysterious things.

Eventually, Manoah’s wife gave birth to Samson. The Lord blessed him, and when he grew as an adult, the Spirit of the Lord became more apparently at work in his life. God’s purpose for Samson to save Israel from the hands of the Philistines started to materialize.

For his part, Manoah may have been very knowledgeable of history. He may have heard or read that Moses was chosen by the Lord to lead Israel but God did not show his face to him. Actually, Moses asked God to show His glory.

In Exodus 33:18-23, 18Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

The Lord said that no one may see Him and live. So, how should reconcile that when it says in Exodus 33:11, 11The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. And in Genesis 32:30, 30So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

Bible scholars interpret that when the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, it’s a figure of speech which may mean that the Lord and Moses had a very close communion and conversation.

In Jacob’s case when he saw God face to face, the Lord appeared in a human form and not the actual godly form. Jacob was returning to Canaan at that time. The night before he met his brother Esau, he wrestled with God in human form. And, Jacob won that wrestling match.

So, when Manoah said that they were doomed to die after seeing the angel’s face, he may have heard exaggerated stories about seeing God. Such fear of Manoah should teach us to have the highest regard our Lord.

Pertaining to Christ our Lord, it says in Ephesians 1:22-23, God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

If you are invited to attend a gathering of Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings and Queens, how would you imagine yourself? Christ is the King of kings.

By faith, we believe that God placed all things under Christ, including all leaders on earth. Our lifestyle should reflect our reverence to the Lord of lords.

How much reverence, respect, and honor do we have for our Lord?

May the Lord give us awareness of His glory and power at all times.

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