Posted: Sunday, May 1
Verse of the day:
The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and said, “Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. So be careful” (Judges 13:3-4).
If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, mentor, or simply desire to make a difference in someone else’s life, you need to read the entire account from Judges 13. It begins with a childless couple; Manoah and his wife desperately wanted a family. Being childless was a pitiable condition in ancient times. For most, including this family, it meant no help in the fields, no one to continue running the family farm, and no heir to build upon their hard-fought gains; their work and wealth would end with them.
Healthy people have a healthy desire to reproduce. Physically, humanity has a natural drive to create offspring. Socially, it’s natural to share and live life in community with others. Spiritually, we’re commanded to “fill the earth and govern it” (Genesis 1:28) and to “teach them everything [Jesus has] commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). And so we come to Manoah and his barren wife and a promise from God. But it comes with an important command; a command that every person who desires to leave a lasting legacy must consider.
The angel of the Lord said to the parents, “Be careful.” He said be careful what you eat, what you do, and how you live for this one to come is to be set a part for something special. Later on, Manoah asks how to raise this child and direct the boys’ life; this is a good request, but the angel of the Lord redirected Manoah’s intentions to what would be one of the most important parts of raising him to serve God; their examples as parents. Samson, in the womb, would take in, second hand, all the food and drink that his mother would consume; it would physically nourish his own growing body. But the impact of their personal, parental decisions on Samson would not stop after the birth took place; they were to train him up and their most important tool to do this would be their lives. Someone once said, “You teach what you know but you reproduce what you are.” Our example is the greatest teacher. I wonder if Samson’s parents failed to follow this command.
Now parenting (and mentoring) is not a perfect science. The Bible shows examples of both godly parents raising ungodly kids and ungodly parents raising godly kids. Our challenge is simply to do our very best and to give the younger generation no excuses. And I think this starts with the command of the angel to “Be careful.” So I ask you to look at your own life today. Here’s a few questions to consider:
1) Is there any “brokenness” in my mind or emotions from past experiences that needs to be healed so I don’t pass it on?
2) Are there any activities I’m partaking of that I’d be ashamed to see in my kids or those I’m mentoring?
3) Do I have any unbridled insecurities that lead me to make reckless, impulsive, or even dangerous decisions?
4) Have I placed anything or anyone in my life before Jesus?