8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.”
9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her.
As parents, don’t we often wish some angel would come along with specific directions about how to raise our children? Then perhaps we could show our kids the right way to live, perhaps our dear ones would never come to harm, perhaps they would become greater than we have been, perhaps… Well, there are a million things we might wish for our children, and the greatest is, of course, that they might love God and come to experience the blessings of His love and grace.
Since angels don’t always come down to give us directions, what are we to do? The Bible is FULL of instructions – e.g. teaching our children the Word of God (Deuteronomy 6:6-7), training them right from the beginning (Proverbs 22:6), keeping them from sin (Matthew 18:6), allowing them to come to the Lord (Matthew 19:14), and not provoking our children but bringing them up “in the training and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) Look a little more closely in God’s Word, and you will find plenty of other examples, but I think the greatest example is found in Galatians 5:22-23, where we read about the “fruit of the Spirit.”
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Why would this be the best example? Because that is how GOD is with us, His own wayward children. God loves us, takes joy in us, desires to bring us peace, suffers our disobedience without wrath. The Lord is kind to us, works out goodness for us, and He is utterly faithful – even when we are not. God our Father shows great gentleness and self-control. As Paul wrote in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God the Father is our model! So, parents, if you would pray for a word from God on how to raise your children, you need look no further than the Bible.
And what happened to Manoah’s child in today’s verse? His name was Samson, and I think you know his story. Although Samson grew and became a powerful warrior for the Lord, he eventually fell into sin and lost his strength. But at the end of his life, having been tortured and abused, Samson turned back to the Lord and was given what he needed to win one last battle. Even if an angel would come to show us the way, there are no guarantees our children would not depart from it in their own time. But as parents we should do all we can to show them God’s love and grace, so that when they are older, they will desire Him the way that we do.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of my children. I may never understand why You chose me to raise them, but I will trust in You and give them Your Word as best I can. Bless them, dear Lord, and protect them, and draw them near to You throughout their lives. Precious God, let them find more joy in You than in any worldly things. Amen.
P.S. – Happy Birthday, Pooh Bear!