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.” 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. Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, “Look, the Man who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!” So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, “Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?” And He said, “I am.” Manoah said, “Now let Your words come to pass! What will be the boy’s rule of life, and his work?” (Judges 13:8-12)
Manoah’s Parenting Plan
The birth of a child is one of the most joyous occasions in life. Great preparation goes into making ready all the needs of the newborn as the excitement builds towards the day of birth. Clothes are sorted, rooms are prepared, plans are put in place for the delivery and families are waiting for the phone call that baby is on their way. For the parents, there is a certain fearful expectation of the unknown channeled through a conduit of intense joy to be able to hold the newborn child. The day arrives and through the miracle of God’s eternal design a little human enters the world fussing and crying and wanting to know why the room is so cold and who are all these people. It is then a sinking feeling hits the new parents that what they hold in their hand is a new life. In their arms is a precious bundle of moving, squirming, sound-making cute and adorable child that is now their own. What do we do now? Enter Manoah – a man who was father to one of the most amazing persons in the history of man.
Manoah was married to a woman who remains unnamed in scripture. They lived during a time of the tumultuous days of the Judges who ruled over Israel. The cycle of disobedience, oppression and deliverance was a constant record of Israel’s history during this time. Manoah’s wife was barren and had no children. The Angel of the Lord came telling her she would conceive and have a son but there were certain regulations this child would be required to follow. Samson would be the first mention of a Nazarite and his life story will remain as one of the most familiar and controversial stories in scripture. When Manoah heard of the angel’s visit, he implored God to have the angel return to learn what to do with the child. The angel returned and again Manoah seeks the counsel of God to know what the child’s rule of life should be and his work. There are four things that show the plan Manoah had for serving God.
When Manoah heard he was to be a father, he sought the counsel of the heavenly Father. Parenting begins with God. There are myriads of books written on how to be a parent and the important lessons to teach them. None can compare to beginning with the word of God. Every parent must realize that the art of parenting begins and ends with God and nothing else will suffice. Every child should be taught the glory of God and their purpose in life is for His glory alone. Parents must join their hearts together as one under the banner of God’s word to form the hearts of their children because if they seek to build the home without the Lord, they will fail as parents.
Secondly, Manoah knew he needed guidance to train his son. “What shall we do for the child who will be born” shows that Manoah understood the gravity of training and molding the life of their son to the image of God. Children left to themselves will themselves be left to their own vices. Parenting involves directing, training, admonishing, instructing and guiding. Manoah knew it would be up to him and his wife to mold the character of Samson in accordance to the will of God. They were the ones responsible for the training of their son. This training could only come by seeking the word of God.
Third, Manoah sought the wisdom of God to know what the boy’s rule of life will be. Children need structure and rules. Before Samson was born, Manoah was seeking answers to put into place a set of guidelines that would mold the heart of the young child. This means that parents are obligated to rule over the life of a child not allowing the child to be spoiled with the wants of their desires. Too often fathers and mothers cower to the wishes and wants of their children without setting boundaries of right and wrong. Establishing a rule of life for the child comes from the word of God. There are things that are acceptable because God said so and the child learns there are things that are displeasing because God’s word sets the pattern. Children need rules based on the goodness and severity of the Lord.
Finally, Samson was trained in the work of his life. He would judge Israel for twenty years. Manoah and his wife did not fail in their training of Samson. His story illustrates the challenges of parenting. So much of the focus of Samson’s life is built around his prideful actions of revenge and involvement with Delilah. These stories are given to show the conditions of the nation of Israel as they continued to disobey the Lord. For all that is said about Samson there is one important conclusion that speaks well to the parenting plan of Manoah and his wife. The Hebrew writer includes Samson in the great chapter of faith as one of God’s noble examples. Parents do not raise children who are perfect because they themselves are not perfect. What matters most about the story of Samson is where he is found in Hebrews 11. He was found in God. Manoah and his wife sought the wisdom of God to give Samson a rule of life and a work. They accomplished that task. Nothing matters in parenting more than to know your child is going to Heaven. This is not done by accident. There must be a plan. Manoah had one.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. (Benjamin Franklin)