Waiting to Produce (Judges 13:1-2)

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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.
Judges 13:1-2

 

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. 

012-jacob-weddingThis 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.

I wondered:

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.

image001I 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.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

A Faithful man; Not Likely (Cries of a 7th Grader)

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Group time, my heart was broken.  A 7th grade youth when asked, “What are you looking for in a husband?” replied “I want a faithful man, but that is not likely!”  As I stood monitoring the group, I was moved to a seat.  The weight of her statement settled in and changed my entire disposition.  It wasn’t sarcasm, but dispare; the hopelessness found in her observations, investigations, and teachings.

This young lady has lost hope!  I thought of my sister and the many little girls that dream about their wedding day, having thoughts and visions of their husband; Prince Charming, no doubt! They envisioned the perfect day and seen, topped of with a kiss that will begin an eternity of bliss!  But now, many youth might have a different vision.  One of compromise, not in love, but out of settling for that which they assume to be the norm.  A sad reality.

Knowing that this hopelessness woul lead to her settlIMG_1065ing for anything.  Because of her fears, she will be succeptable to preditors and undeveloped works.  The preditors is the one looking for vulnerability and a lack of maturity.  Her fears will identify him as an option because her belief is that all others will be the same.  He will constantly add to his stable, making notch after notch, dreaming her more like a “Bottom B—-” than a Wife.  As long as he is cute, he will do.  She will also open the door to undevloped works. The undeveloped works challenge the bond in that they are absent of the maturity required and not ready for the responsibilities that come with the covenant.  Their eyes still wander, and their faithfulness is seasonal and situational.

Her dream is unhappiness.  She has mentally prepared herself for a life of dissastifaction.  She has marked in her journey, the pain of infidelity, and accepted that her marital bond will be absent of trust and filled with heartache.  Her dreams are that of extra marital affairs and outside children and child support, and living with the pressure of having a covenant that is only as binding as being chosen to a team in a pick up game at the park.   She know that her night will be spent capturing her tears in her hand, as her husband roams the streets and hangs out with the boys.

I cried inside for her dream!  But I cried also for my craft,  As ministers of the Gospel, we have been challenged by the lack of Fathers.  Their absence and failure to sustain their creation, abandoning responsibility, has left a mark on our teachings, as we speak of God as our Father.  Their experience in the natural mares the spiritual parrallel, thus making acceptance harder and building a relationship challenging.  And now, we must present Jesus as the Bridegroom, in an environment of husbands who have not honored their covenants.  Attacking the significance away from the bond that was too mirror our eternal bond with the father.  Our natural bond is to bare witness not just to thr relational connection, but to model the spiritual characteristics of the Lord.  I’m angry that the devil is removing our Natural to Spiritual parallels.

I was about speak up, but my voice was preceded by the group leader, who assured her that God would provide her with the man of her dreams and prayers!  She assured her that God answers prayers and that in waiting, God was not just sending her a Boaz, but a Joseph, who would honor her and protect her virtue dispute any circumstances.  She assured her that he would partner with her, and support her not just as she raises a family, but as she carries out the assignment that God had given her!  I couldn’t wait to speak to my two girls at camp, and my three at home!  I know now even more the importance of the example we set before them!  Our marriage no only honors God, sets an tone for their expectations for the future. I pray that their dreams will be filled with hope, and that their expectation of marriage will be the same I expected.

#pastorjdo3