Responsible Parents

Judges 13:8-16

8Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.” 9God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”

11Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?” “I am,” he said. 12So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?” 13The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”

15Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.” 16The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.

Introduction

The Bible did not present a lifestyle of believer who excelled in every aspect of life. Abraham was the father of faith but had to send his other children away from Isaac. Moses was the greatest leader but sent his family to his father-in-law. David was the greatest king of Israel but had parenting problems too.

God allowed everyone to have a unique problem in which He wanted to reveal himself to those who trust Him for help. It says in Psalm 145:19, 19He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

Manoah was never popular but his name was mentioned in the Bible as the father of Samson. One significant effort credited to his name was his appeal for clarification of his role as responsible father to Samson.

1. Appeal

8Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”

Can we assume that Manoah was worthy of respect so that his wife did not keep secret what the angel told her? Obviously, Manoah was prayerful and had high reverence of God. When he said, “Pardon your servant,” he implied that he was not worthy of God’s attention even in prayer so that he asked for mercy. He was afraid that he was too bold to appeal for God to send back His messenger.

Moreover, Manoah did not pretend to be expert of raising the child that the Lord promised them. His acknowledgment of their need as responsible parents implies that he just believed that his wife will eventually get pregnant. He did not doubt that a messenger from the Lord informed her about having a child.

9God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!”

The wife of Manoah may have been excited that the angel of the Lord appeared to her again so that she hurried to inform her husband. When it says that God heard Manoah and sent the angel of God to the woman, it practically exhibited that Manoah was an upright person. His prayer was answered.

It says in 1 Peter 3:7, Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

It also says in John 9:31, 31We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.

It was God’s will for Manoah and his wife to raise the child that an angel had revealed to the woman. So, when Manoah prayed for God to send back the messenger, God readily answered his prayer. When Manoah met the angel, he was given an affirmation of what his wife should avoid.

2. Affirmation

11Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?” “I am,” he said. 12So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?” 13The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.”

Previously, the angel told the wife of Manoah that their child will be Nazirite and no razor should touch his head. But the angel affirmed only to Manoah the thing that his wife must avoid. Moreover, she must do everything that the angel had commanded her to do. The angel did not give Manoah all details of the command which may imply that angel knew that Manoah trusted his wife.

The woman was childless and may have been the subject of ridicule from other women but she remained respectful to Manoah her husband.

It says in Proverbs 19:14, Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.

Smart Wife

To be prudent is practically smart. I often say that my wife is smart. When others ask why I consider my wife as smart, I would casually say, “Well, she is smart that she chose me!” I heard that statement from my professor.

Prudent and smart women are beautiful inside. In 1 Peter 3:3-6, 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Sarah respected Abraham, and Manoah’s wife was smart like Sarah. It may have been her habit to inform Manoah everything she knows and Manoah trusted her because he sensed the respect of his wife. When Manoah offered to serve food, the angel told him that burnt offering is most appropriate for the Lord.

3. Appropriation

15Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.” 16The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.

Why did Manoah offer food to the angel? Eating helps conversation relaxing.

Manoah may have wanted to hear more from the angel and to know more details on how to be responsible parents to their child. The angel didn’t elaborate the details of parenting responsibilities that Manoah wanted to know. It’s possible that the Lord had trusted Manoah and his wife to be good parents to Samson.

Really? The reality that Manoah and his wife were chosen among other Israelites to be parents of Samson should testify that God knew the appropriate parents for Samson. Additionally, when the Lord answered Manoah’s prayer to send back the angel, it showed that the Lord was attentive to Manoah’s prayers.

It says in Psalm 34:15, 15The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.

And in 1 John 5:14, 14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

How much confidence do you have that God would be attentive to your prayer?

Census

When King David became powerful and defeated all enemies, he ordered his commanders to take a census or count the number of Israelites. Census is useful for taxation purposes but it was not pleasing to God.

It narrated in 1 Chronicles 21:11-13, 11“This is what the Lord says: ‘Take your choice: 12three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the Lord—days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.’ Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me.” 13David said to Gad (his seer), “I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

Famine and plague reminded David that blessing comes from God, not from taxation. He trusted God’s discipline is far better than abuse from enemies.

In this generation, government agencies are watchful of parenting issues. How should we follow biblical parenting and still abide with government laws?

Manoah was wise to ask God on how to raise their child.

Parents should pray and ask God for wisdom on how raise their children.

In James 1:5, 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

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