The Life and Times of Samson
A Visit from God
Judges 13:1-23
On different occasions in the Bible we find God paying a special visit to man. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Hagar, to name just a few, had such a visit from God. As we saw last week, the mother and father of Samson received such a visit.
You will remember that Samson’s father identified the “angel of the LORD" as God.  That is called a theophany in Scripture.   Manoah and his wife had a personal visit from God.
I would suggest that still happens.  God still visits His people. Maybe not like He did with Manoah and  his wife--as the angel of the LORD--but no doubt, it still occurs.  Job said in Job 10:12, "Thou hast granted me life and favour, and they visitation hath preserved my spirit." Job found that it was God's presence that had strengthened and sustained him during the dark and difficult times of his life.
And there are many in this room who could testify that He visits us when we need His visit the most. Maybe you need a visit from God. I like it when God visits a Church service. His visit can turn a good service into a glorious service. I like it when God gets in the car with me when I'm driving down the road.
I want to talk to you today about having a visit from God. In particular, I want to talk to you about the kind of people whom God visits.
As we continue looking at the life of Samson, I want us to turn our attention to his parents. They play such an important part in the Scripture's introduction of Samson that we don't want to ignore them.
As I have already stated, they experienced a personal visit from God. As we look at them we learn about the kind of people they were, and as well, learn something about the kind of people God's visits. The first thing that I want to point out is that:
1. God Visits People Who Honor Him
It is very obvious that here was a man and woman, a husband and wife, who honored God. Their devotion and dedication to God is obvious. Read about their lives and you can’t help but sense their faithfulness to God. They were a couple that lived for God.
Notice verse 1 again. 
Remember the setting.  The children of Israel were away from God. They had forsaken God and were following the gods of Baalim (cp. 2:11). These were days of spiritual darkness and declension.
Yet, here was a couple who was faithful to God. Their society as a whole had abandoned God, but not Manoah and his wife. They had remained faithful to God in spite of their surroundings. They were certainly in a minority, but they were faithful to God.
It was Mahatma Ghandi who said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
One of the greatest hindrances to reaching others is Christians who "are so unlike our Christ." As for Manoah and his wife, they were faithful to God and lived for Him in spite of their surroundings.
Four preachers were discussing the merits of various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version best. Another liked the American Revised Version best. Still, another liked Moffat's translation best. The fourth preacher said, "I like my mother's translation best. She translated it into life, and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw."
Sometimes you may be the only one in the office who is a Christian. As a student, you may find yourself in the minority. Even in your family, you may be the only one who is a Christian. Even in surroundings where others have no room for God, we should be faithful to God.
It is people who are faithful to God in spite of their surroundings that God visits.
Then in verse 2 we are told about Manoah’s wife being barren and childless.  As we saw last week, barrenness often brought a stigma and reproach. It was sometimes viewed as a sign of God's disfavor. How easy it would have been for Mrs. Manoah to have become bitter and angry with God. How easy it would have been to have doubted God's love and goodness.
I once heard about a woman whose husband died on the Titanic. Someone started to speak to her about God and she quickly interrupted her and said, "Don't talk to me about God. As far as I’m concerned, God went down with the Titanic."
Sometimes we blame God for the events and circumstances in our life. We allow, as Hebrews 12:15 says, an evil root of bitterness to spring up and trouble us.
But that is not the case with Manoah and his wife.  Their circumstances did not shake their faith in God. They continued to serve God in spite of the barrenness they endured. They did not shake their fist at God in anger, but possessed a heart of love and devotion.
Let me remind you of something just in case you’ve forgotten or are ever tempted to forget.  We don’t serve God because all is well. We do not live for God just because our life is absent of trouble and trials. We serve God because He deserves to be served. We are to serve God no matter what is going on in our life.
As you enter Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, there is a statue of a Skye terrier named Greyfriars Bobby. The little dog depicted by that statue belonged to John Gray.  He was an Edinburgh policeman back in the 1800’s.  As the story goes, if you saw one, you saw the other. This policeman and his dog were inseparable.  On February 15, 1858 John Gray died of tuberculosis and was buried in the Greyfriars Kirk cemetery. For 14 years, every day, the little dog would go to his master's grave and lay on it.
Books have been written and movies have been made about the little dog's faithful vigil. When it died it was buried just inside the gate of Greyfriars Kirk. A tombstone is set there with his name and age and this inscription:
“May we all learn from his example”
But the truth of the matter is Greyfriars Bobby is not the real story of faithfulness that comes out of that area. 
It is found much earlier in history in the story of the Covenanters of the 1600's.  They rebelled against the Church of England, and covenanted together to allow nothing to come between a man and his God, including the King of England.
By the way, it may interest you to know that our American terms of “redneck” and “hillbilly” come out of that particular time.  The covenanters marked themselves by wearing red scarfs around their necks and became known as the “rednecks”. 
The supporters of King William wear known as “Billy’s boys” and in the 1700’s as they began to immigrate to the hill country of America the term morphed to “hillbillies”.
Anyway, as a result of that decision to rebel against the Church of England, 100’s were executed for their faith just outside the walls of the Kirk in Grassmarket Square
That is the real story of faithfulness. It is the story of those who would not deny their faith even in the face of death. In spite of their situation and circumstances they remained faithful to God.
Who does God visit? He visits those who honor Him! He visits those who are faithful to Him in spite of their surroundings and their situations.
Secondly, God not only visits those who honor Him, but also:
2. God Visits Those Who Hear Him
verse 3, 7, 13
It’s one thing for God to speak; it is another to listen when He speaks.  In this couple, we find folks who heard Him when He spoke to them. When God spoke they listened.
James 1:19 says, "let every man be swift to hear." The word "swift" speaks of being prompt or ready to hear. Manoah and his wife are good examples of James' instruction.
What is involved in “hearing” God speak? 
verse 8
We get some good insight into what it means to “hear” by this verse. 
Manoah seeks God in prayer and asks God to teach him, or show him, how He wanted the child to be reared. There is compliance to what God says. What God said was taken seriously and there was expressed a desire to obey God's Word.
Again the writing of James comes to mind.  James 1:22 says, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only."
First, one hears the Word of God. Then one heeds the word they hear. When the Word of God is heard,  there will be a response to what God says.
Now apparently God spoke audibly to Manoah and his wife. He may still do that if He chooses.  I’m certainly not going to say that He can’t.  But primarily God speaks today through His Word--the Bible. When we read our Bible we are reading more than a book. It is God speaking to us. The Bible is a book to read thoughtfully. We are to listen carefully to everything the Bible says and then obey its commands. Like Manoah and his wife, there ought to be an eagerness and willingness to obey what God says.
Why is that so important?  I guess there are a lot of responses, but maybe the most important one is because God visits those who listen to His Word thoughtfully.
Then notice verse 12
Once again Manoah expresses his desire to know exactly how God wanted the child reared.  But there is also a trust in God's word. 
If God expects it, then it must be good.  “Let it be!  They believed what the angel of the LORD has promised them; they would have a son.   Listen:  You can trust the promises of God.  It is God's promises to us, promises that we can believe, promises on which we can rely, promises that we can trust. If God tells us that He will do something, you can rest with assurance that He will bring it to pass.
Someone has said, "The empire of Caesar is gone; the legions of Rome are smouldering in the dust; the avalanches that Napoleon hurled upon Europe have melted away; the prince of the Pharaohs is fallen;
the pyramids they raised to be their tombs are sinking every day in the desert sands; Tyre is a rock for bleaching fisherman's nets; Sidon has scarcely left a wreck behind; but the Word of God still survives. All things that threatened to extinguish it have only aided it; and it proves every day how transient is the noblest monument that men can build, how enduring is the least word that God has spoken."
The least word God has spoken is just as true as any other word. God told Manoah and his wife they would have a son. They would, as we shall see, have a son just as God promised. Is the Bible true? Yes! Can we believe and trust it? Absolutely!
Who does God visit? He visits those who honor Him; He visits those who hear Him, and lastly,
3. God Visits Those Who Hallow Him
By hallowed, I am talking about the great respect they had for the Lord. They saw Him as one that worthy of their devotion and worship. Notice the respect they had for the Lord.
verse 6
She provides three details of how the Lord was revealed to her.
First, she called him a "man of God".  It is literally "a divine man." She knew that this was not any ordinary man. There was something divine about Him.
Secondly, she said that "his countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God." He had the appearance as a messenger of God.
Thirdly, she spoke of Him as "very awesome". There was something glorious and holy about Him.
After the second visit from the angel of the LORD, we find their response to this special visitor.
verse 15
He wanted to offer a sacrifice in his honor. It showed the great reverence they had for the Lord.  At first, Manoah and his wife were not aware that this was actually the LORD who had visited them.
verse 17-22
Even though they did not at first realize who their visitor was, their actions reveal how they reverenced the things of God. If they would have honored an angel with an offering, they certainly would worship God. They were a couple who had great reverence for God.
Who does God visit? He visits those who love Him with all their heart, mind, and soul. He visits those who see Him as Holy. He visits those who lift Him up and have no other objective than that He be glorified.
Do you want a visit from God? Do you need a visit from God? God still visits His people. You can have a visit from God. We can have a visit from God. If we honor, hear, and hallow Him, we will enjoy that blessed visits from Him.


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