Judges 13:8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “O Lord, I beg you, 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.”
To be quite honest, I think Manoah might well have prayed this prayer because he wondered if his wife hadn’t just had a fling with a handsome stranger, and he wanted to check out her story. After all, the cause of a couple’s infertility can be with either spouse. It wasn’t until the angel went up in the flame of the sacrifice that he was completely sure that it was indeed an angel. None of us have conversations with angels every day! However, God was gracious to him and to his wife, confirming what He had said to her in the clearest possible way. The negative side of this was that I think Manoah and his wife treated their son with such awe at the circumstances of his conception that they failed to discipline him at all, and he was spoiled rotten. We actually know more of the story of their son Samson’s life than we do about most of the minor characters in the Bible, and self control was hardly one of his character traits! It was tragic, but God used even the results of their poor parenting to deliver Israel, in spite of Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him. I think the reason Samson has four chapters of the Bible devoted to him is that he was a prime example of someone who was mightily gifted by God, but failed to submit that gifting to Him in faithful obedience. We see that all the time, with performers and scientists and athletes and people of virtually every other profession who are at the top of their field but fail to acknowledge their Creator, claiming all the glory for themselves. It’s tragic every time, just as it was for Samson.
My gifting is certainly not in the extreme category of that of Samson, and thankfully, my parents did a much better job of parenting than did Manoah and his wife. My life hasn’t devolved into tragedy, certainly, but I too could have benefited from more self-discipline, actively applying my gifts instead of taking them for granted. It has only been as I have aged that I have understood on the deepest level that the gifts were never mine to begin with, and I was no more than a steward. I haven’t been the most faithful of stewards! Thinking back, my potential as a young person was incredible, but by failing to buckle down and put in the hard work to develop that potential, much if not most of it was squandered. I think perhaps the best job I’ve done has been that of husband! However many more years the Lord keeps me here, I want to apply all that He has put into me however He desires, not sloughing off or making excuses but applying myself faithfully, so that His purposes may be accomplished in and through me for His glory, even at this late date.
Father, thank You for Your incredible grace and patience toward me. Thank You for the plans that You have for me from this point. I pray that I would not get in the way, but would be fully available and committed to You, whatever that involves, for the sake of Your kingdom and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!