Monday, October 26, 2015

Sight for the Broken and Barren

There was a certain man who went by the name of Manoah.  He was from the tribe of Dan, a very Jewish tribe, but also very close to the Philistine border.  God had turned the Jewish people over to the hand of the Philistines, due to their evil hearts that spewed forth evil acts.  But, God had set Manoah and his wife aside for His purposes. 

I wonder how many accumulations of months piled upon each other as Manoah’s wife bled deep, her head giving her husband the slightest of shakes.  No baby this time.  I wish I knew her name.  It seems all of the barren and broken women of the world at least deserve a name. 

It was the mercy of God that delivered the Israelites into the hand of their enemy for forty years.  Perhaps that sounds backwards, but He would stop at nothing to have their devotion and love. If ra` (evil) would turn into ra’ah (sight and understanding) only through the hands of a cruel enemy, then so be it.  It was also the mercy of God that would implant a son into Manoah’s wife’s womb.  It was this same mercy of God that would raise this son called Samson up with supernatural strength sewn into each fiber of muscle, a strength that began to deliver Israel. 

They saw Him, you know.  Manoah and his wife beheld Christ Himself.  The broken and barren woman even received a double portion of His presence.  You can’t tell me Jesus doesn’t see the downcast.  Chances are, Manoah and his bride only realized after He left that it was God Himself.  But, the Word is clear.  The Word Himself brought word about their hoped for son.  

The wife saw the Messenger first.  She was given clear instructions on how to raise her son.  He was to be a Nazarite, set apart from wine, razor, and unclean things.  She told her husband the instructions, but Manoah wanted his own taste of glory and begged God to send the Messenger one more time.  God must have smiled down at Manoah as He commissioned Christ to come down again.  Funny thing, Jesus appeared to Manoah’s wife this second time when she was all alone, just like the first!  She had to run to find her husband so he wouldn’t miss out again.  Manoah finally takes in the Presence and begs for the chance to send up a burnt offering, which the Messenger receives.  

Manoah inquires the Messenger’s name but is given only that it is “Wonderful.” The Hebrew word would be pala: to be wonderful, set apart, distinguished, astonishing, extraordinary. Pala is almost always used with God as the subject.  A normal angel would never refer to himself as pala.  It simply must be Jesus here!

If one thing is true, it is this:  when Jesus appears, we can see!  The same word for appear in Hebrew is to see in Hebrew.  Jesus appears and Manoah later tells his wife that they have seen God.  Without an appearance, there is no spiritual sight.  Without an intervention by the Redeemer, ra` (evil) will escalate and no ra’ah (sight) can be given. 

Perhaps you are broken and barren from unanswered prayer.  Perhaps you are in desperate need of sight.  Rest in this truth:  there is a Savior who sees all.  His eye is upon you and the insufferable ache.  Christ’s presence is with you…even if you don’t recognize Him at first.  Pray for sight, and you will see that He was with you all along, His mercy allowing the difficulty that would bring you straight back to his heart.

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