The Israelites again did evil in the LORD’s sight,
so the LORD handed them over to the Philistines
for forty years. There was a man named
Manoah from Zorah, from the Danite tribe.
His wife was infertile and childless.
Because of disobedience, the Israelite’s find themselves under the rule of the Philistines. Yes, God’s people found themselves subject to those who were not God’s chosen because they were constant breakers of the covenant God had made with them. Here we find Manoah in captivity corporately with his brothers and sister, and still having to deal with personal conditions and circumstances.
This really struck me. As a father, husband and as a man of God. Even in the midst of our corporate struggles, there are still personal struggles going on within the group. As a leader and visionary, sometimes we loose sight of this, and this lack of sight can cause us to be both instinctive or to appear as though we lack compassion. In Manoahs case, most were aware of his circumstance because they could not visually see any children, but in many cases, what we go through is not publicized. Many times we find ourselves struggling and suffering in private.
Though in a in captivity, Manoah had been blessed with a wife. Though there are many benefits to having a wife that, one was not afforded to him; offspring. Manoah was not only unable to secure Verse 2 informs us that his wife is both infertile and childless.
Though we are not given details on how her infertility affected either he or his wife, we are clued in that she has not produced a child. This means she was barren when betrothed, and barren after covenant was solidified. Though he was able to produce an offspring, he was childless because she was unable to produce.
Have you ever united with something barren?
I think back to college. One of the worst things that could happen to you in a lab was to be partnered with someone who was unproductive. Their unproductively had a direct affect on your ability to produce. It caused you to work harder, in turn making your shaper, but robbed you of opportunities to take full advantage of your circumstances.
I wondered how many nights he prayed, thanking God for what he had, but asking God to add to his numbers that he might produce more and be more efficient with his holdings? I wonder how many times he prayed over her, anointing her body with oil? How many days did he fast? I wonder how many times he stood exhausted looking over land that was not cultivated and wished he had an extra hand to aide him in his duties? How many sacrifices did he make? How many times did he fight through the advice of friends? How many advances did he turn down? How many offerings were given? How many hours did his head hang low? One can imagine the frustration and disappointment he might have questioning himself and his relationship with God.
On the other end we have his wife.
Have you ever been the Unproductive Partner in a Relationship?
Being a faithful and loyal wife, I am certain she served her husband to the best of her capacity. She was certain to have compensated in each way, working along side him to help him, knowing that she was unable to provide an heir or an aid for anything he acquired. Furthermore, she would not have a covering or company if she were to loose Manoah. Each day she awoke to the frailty of her present state, and operated within her circumstances, hoping one day they would change. She most likely faced the label of her community, and the constant judgement that was given to a woman who had the equipment to produce, but had not been selected by God to bare one of His gifts.
I pray for each tear that was shed. I pray for each time her head grew heavy and her knees grew weak. I pray for each time she touched her belly. Each time she countenance was low. Each time she cried out to the Lord. Each sacrifice she made and each offering she offered up. I pray for each time she saw a mother with her child. And for each time she held someones blessing and wondered if her womb would every be blessed with a gift from the Lord.
At some level we have all been either Manoah or Manoah’s wife. From both vantage points, we must continue to be good partners to one another. We must take advantage of what has been given to us, until more is provided for us to steward. In every case, God will meet our needs and allow us to function if we will continue to get the full usage out of what we have. Manoah and his wife find themselves still blessed by the Lord while in captivity, and we can too. Not having today does not mean that tomorrow will be the same. For both Manoah and his wife, the day would soon come that they would not only be Monoah/Monoahs wife, but Samsom’s Father/Samson’s Mother. Soon the tails and chronicles of his actions would not only make his name great, but the name of his family.