Dec 14, 2022
When God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus, she responded in a way that still has an important message for us today.
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, scaring her out of her wits. She may have been startled by his sudden appearance though the text doesn't say that. It says she was troubled, alarmed, by what he said (logos). But she listened when he said, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God."
Then he told her why he had come. "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS."
Mary made important decisions in this encounter. She didn't doubt Gabriel was speaking the truth. She didn't doubt that what he said would happen. She did wonder how it was going to happen because she didn't have a husband...exactly.
Mary was engaged, and engagement was as binding a contract as marriage. But it doesn't seem her marriage was going to happen soon. In the past, every woman who had been approached by an angel or angel of the Lord about babies like Samson's mother and Sarah or in prophecy by a priest like Hannah, were living with their husbands. She was not. Mary understood this message was unusual.
She wondered how these words were going to be performed. She understood the timing was now, just like the women before her. It didn't take them years to get pregnant and this message wasn't for later in her life. How could pregnancy happen without a husband? When the angel answered, she still heard unusual words.
So Mary did what Samson's mother did.
Judges 13 tells us there was a man named Manoah whose wife was barren. The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah's wife and gave her a message. This term, the angel of the Lord, may signify this was Jesus. He told her what she knew–she couldn't have children– and told her she was going to have a son. But she needed to "take heed, and ...not drink wine or fermented drink; and ...not eat any unclean thing."
Then He said, "For, behold, you are pregnant and bearing a son. And a razor shall not go on his head, for the boy shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb. And he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." The word are is italicized because it was added for English speakers. But the idea is the same: you pregnant. It was a settled thing in the mind of God. This was His will in the matter. Her response was critical.
She never asked any questions. She listened and then went home and told her husband about this man with an awesome appearance. Her husband prayed for the man to come again because he wanted to know how to raise this son. God answered his prayer by sending the "man" to his wife again.
She ran and got Manoah. After confirming that this was the same messenger, Manoah said, "Let the words come to pass." But he had some questions for the man who answered with the same words He had given the wife...almost.
He left out the part about the boy delivering Israel from the Philistines.
Then Manoah had a few more questions. He wanted the man to stay and eat which the man refused. But he told Manoah to give the sacrifice to God. Manoah did not see the man was the angel of the LORD. That is until he did as he was told and offered a burnt sacrifice to God.
"And when the flame went up to heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar, while Manoah and his wife were looking on; and they went down on their faces to the earth." Judges 13:20 BBE
Then Manoah freaked out and was positive they were both going to die because they had seen God. To which his wife replied, "If the Lord was purposing our death, he would not have taken our burned offering and our meal offering, or have given us such orders about the child." Judges 13:23 BBE
Now we know why God spoke to the wife.
She received His Word. She believed and she acted on her belief. We know because the next words state, "So the woman gave birth to a son, and gave him the name Samson; and he became a man and the blessing of the Lord was on him."
Mary believed. Mary received the Word given her. She said, " ...be it unto me according to thy word." Luke 1:38
The Bible is God's Word to us. When we read it and it says we are accepted (Ephesians 1:6) or that we have the mind of Christ (1Corinthians 2:16) or that we are a new creation, the old has gone (2Corinthians 5:1)7 or that by His stripes we were healed (1Peter 2:24), do we reply like Mary, be it unto us according to Your Word? These are things God holds out to us as being His will for us. Our response is critical.
Do we receive His Word and the love He offers, thanking Him for all He's given us in Jesus...the WORD?
Mary and Samson's mother had to go beyond just agreeing with their minds that the words were true. They acted on them. They spoke them over themselves. This is the example and the challenge in front of us.
There is one verse you may pass over in Judges about Samson's mother. In 16:31 after Samson's died, his brothers came to bury him. It is possible she had more sons after Samson. Like Hannah in 1Samuel, God may have awarded her obedience to His will with the desire of her heart. Not sure, but God did it for Hannah.
Image by Josh Applegate on Unsplash
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