Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Advent 2023: December 4 - Presence

Monday December 4th: Presence

Read Judges 13.

The birth of Samson comes with the usual Biblical flavors.  There is a couple who are barren and have no kids.  We can read Abraham and Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth and Zechariah, and Mary into this thought.
One day, the angel of the Lord appears to the wife of Manoah to announce that she will have a son and he will save the people of Israel from their captivity.

It is fun to always note how often the hope for Israel is to come from the birth of a baby boy from a barren womb.  God keeps sending an echo out for us to recognize.

And here again we have the Angel of the Lord back in the story.  By now, we should be noting that this “Messenger of YHWH” as we see in the text is none other than the Divine Son of God, who is our Lord Jesus Christ.  Note what happens with him here.
Manoah’s wife goes to her husband to tell her that “A man of God” came to me.  And that he appeared in glory.  We can think of the transfiguration here.  Or how John sees Jesus in Revelation 1.

Manoah then asks that this man of God could return.  The Angel of the Lord returns and I love how Manoah approaches him in verse 11, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?”

And the angel simply states, “I am.” All of our lights should be flashing with that response.  
After this, Manoah wants to have a meal with the man, who refuses.  Which reminds me of Mary Magdalene being told by Jesus that she is not to hold onto him.

But the Angel says they should offer a sacrifice to the Lord.  Manoah and his wife obey, and also ask what his name is.  He will not give them his name, it is too wonderful to state.  This brings back to mind Jacob wrestling with Jesus in Genesis 33, which is another text where Jesus is present, but isn’t included in this devotion.  And it also reminds us of Revelation where the name of Jesus is known only to himself.

Well, as the sacrifice is being offered, as the flames make their way up to heaven, suddenly the Angel of the Lord, whom they have not recognized as such to this point, ascends into heaven.  Think Luke 24 and Acts 1.  After the sacrifice is offered, Jesus ascends into heaven.
Manoah and his wife act as you would think.  They fall down on their faces, now realizing that who they have seen is the Angel of the Lord.  And the kicker of it all happens in verse 22, when Manoah looks at his wife and says, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.”

No one can see God and live.  So seeing the Angel of the Lord is the same as seeing God.  Remember Jesus’ words to Philip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
The events around Samson’s birth, and the appearance of the Angel of the Lord all show us Jesus Christ.