By Henry Mahan
The preacher of the gospel of Christ will find many things about Samson which will enable him to illustrate the person and work of Christ Jesus.
Samson's birth was miraculous, his mother being barren--God sent him.
Samson's birth was foretold by an angel of the Lord.
Samson was sanctified from the womb--a Nazarite.
Samson was a MIGHTY man who destroyed the enemy and delivered Israel.
But a whole chapter in God's word is given to the appearance of the angel of the Lord to Samson's mother and father; and in this chapter we find some strong assurance and confidence in our Samson, the Lord Jesus Christ.
v. 1. 'The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.' This evil was IDOLATRY, a sin they were prone to and of which they were frequently guilty. God delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years as punishment for their idolatry.
vv. 2-5. The angel of the Lord appeared unto the wife of Manoah, of the tribe of Dan. The woman was barren and had never conceived. He told her that she would bear a SPECIAL SON, who would be a Nazarite from the womb and would mightily deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
A Nazarite was a man or woman who, under Hebrew law, bound himself to abstain from wine and all products of the grape, to wear long, uncut hair, and to observe various forms of purification in the service of the Lord. The period of observance of the vow varied but may cover a lifetime. When the period was concluded, offerings were made, the hair was cut and burned, and the Nazarite was discharged from his vow (Num. 6:1-21).
Paul assisted four Christian Jews in this ceremony (Acts 21:20- 26).
vv. 6-8. The woman came and told her husband all that she had seen and heard, and Manoah prayed unto the Lord that he would again send the messenger of God and further instruct them concerning the child.
vv. 9-14. The angel of the Lord appeared again unto them. We have no doubt that this was the Lord Jesus Christ himself, who often appeared in human form to saints in Old Testament times (Gen. 14:l8; Gen. 32:30; Judges 6:22-24). Verses 18 and 22 indicate that this angel of the Lord was Christ. His name is secret or wonderful (Isa. 9:6). Other angels did not hesitate to identify themselves (Luke 1:19; Dan. 10:13).
vv. 15-22. Manoah asked the man of God to allow him to offer a lamb before him; but he declined saying, 'If you would offer a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.' Manoah did not know that this was the angel of the Lord, though his countenance was unusual (v. 6); so he would have been honoring the creature rather than the creator (v. 17). So Manoah offered a kid upon a rock unto the Lord: and as the flame and smoke arose, the man or angel of the Lord ascended to heaven in the flame. Manoah and his wife fell on their faces, realizing that this man was indeed the angel of the Lord! Manoah said to his wife, 'We shall surely die, because we have seen God' (Exo. 33:20). His faith wavered in the presence of such miracles and majesty.
v. 23. But Manoah's wife was strong in faith and wisdom, and she encouraged him with a three-fold argument. May we, as believers in the grace and mercy of God in Christ Jesus, be encouraged by the same arguments.
1. 'If the Lord intended to destroy us, he would not have received the burnt offering.'
We were commanded by the Lord to offer a burnt offering, which we did; and C, the Lord was pleased to show his approval and acceptance by ascending in the very flame of the sacrifice.
Our Lamb has been sacrificed on Calvary. By faith we look to Christ, the Lamb of God. 'For God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself' (2 Cor. 5:19). It cannot be that Christ loved the church and died for it and the church die also. It cannot be that the Lord laid on him our iniquity and on us also. The Lord Jesus is himself our sacrifice and has not only died but arose and ascended to God's right hand (Heb. 1:3). This is our assurance of grace and mercy.
2. 'If the Lord intended to destroy us, he would not have showed us all these things.'
He showed himself in two appearances. He showed us his acceptance of the sacrifice by identifying himself with it. Our Lord has revealed himself to the sons of Adam in the person of the Lord Jesus (John 10:30; John 14:9). Our Lord has revealed his justice, holiness, and righteousness in the sacrifice of his own dear Son (Rom. 3:25-26). Our Lord has showed us the way of life in the obedience and death of Christ. If he did not purpose to save a people, why would he reveal to them Christ, the way of life? (John 14:6).
3. 'If the Lord intended to destroy us, would he have told us such wonderful things as these?'
The word to us is that we will have a son called Samson, who would indeed deliver us from bondage. This is the foundation of our faith--to believe God! (Rom. 4:19-25). When we are depressed or filled with doubt and fear, go to the word, the promises of God, and believe! Believe not your feelings nor your human reason, but believe God! God has told us the Saviour would come; he has come! The Old Testament says, 'Someone is coming;' the New Testament says, 'Someone has come and will come again' (Isa. 7:14; Isa. 9:6; John 4:25-26).