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April 22, 2017


Text: “There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. 3And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines… Then Manoah prayed to the LORD and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.”  Judges 13:2-5, 8

There are some tasks for which a human male are totally unequipped. Caring for an infant is one of those life skills for which a man is hopelessly in the dark. When Joy (our daughter) first came into our home as a helpless resident I was a helpless rookie father. I had no idea what she needed when she cried. I had no inkling what or how to feed her, put a diaper on her, or how to clean her. And those were my good points! So Kathleen stepped forward, and with seeming perfect knowledge and command gave expert care. For this I had only one answer: utterly thankful prayer. One year and three days later another one of these indefensible creatures came to add to our condition – same mother, same prayer from dad. Help!

In our text a miraculous birth is announced by an angel to a peasant woman: she is to have a son, a person of special service to God. Even from his infancy he is subject to an oath of holiness requiring special diet, unique actions, forbidden activities, and probably secret teachings. It appears then, that His parents’ home will remain a rather sacred and reclusive atmosphere. After pondering the necessities and far reaching expectations of rearing this child, the parents decide to undertake these grave responsibilities, but that the acceptance of all this will require their every effort and that they need much more knowledge and divine guidance than she now has.

Probably the most trying night on the calendar for the father of a young  child is December 24. *(Yes, Christmas Eve!) Tots expecting Santa want to stay up until his arrival with their gifts. Once the kids are asleep Dad heads for the closet, brings out the gifts which need assembly, gets his tools, and sits down on the den floor to do his job. I remember one such Christmas eve, when there were a few small toys for slight work, but my son was getting a slot car racing set-up and and the daughter was getting a cardboard construction oven with baking  capabilities via a light bulb (much assembly required). So dad opens the plastic bags containing multitudes of parts, and instructions as mystifying as assembling a recently discovered  truckload of dinosaur bones! You know: “find 3/8 X 1:5/8 inches and 3:8″ tap…, etc”. Three hours later dad had not finished the stove, so moved on to an hour and a half on the slot race car track.  Lacking completion he called Sears and they sent a Ph.D. who designed the item and finished assembly in 20 minutes. (Please recognize that line about the Sears guy was completely humorous, but the other was undeniable frustration.) (LESSON: REAL LIFE IS MUCH MORE COMPLEX AND NEEDS MORE INSTRUCTIONS.) 

Life without instructions is not a cake walk. A lot of people think that their lives are entirely their own so they ought to be able to write the rules. They refuse to abide by any formal setting forth of guidance and right and wrong, or regulation from any other thing greater than themselves. But that means they refuse any unjust offences against themselves, correction for the breakers of higher codes, nor expectations of consideration of any other laws of others. Neither should such persons demand that they be given considerations from a retributive law or consideration (a”Golden Rule”).  Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,  5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him…”  I John 2:4-6

Picking beliefs from a smorgasbord of spiritual concoctions you like and refusing things not to your tastes is neither practical nor reasonable, but that is life as some live it. This is selection of mixtures of spiritual toxins that will poison your soul. It is comparable to taking doses of potent medications which each adds to the lethal certainties of death. Only the true teaching of the true God of heaven can provide eternal life. “For the word of God is living and full of power, and is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through and making a division even of the soul and the spirit, the bones and the muscles, and quick to see the thoughts and purposes of the heart.” Acts 4:12 (The Bible in Best English)   “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.” Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV

Why would a person think that he could get through this life without some help from his maker? Could pride have something to to with this? Does belief preconceive that this problem is just a simple, everyday event, an easily corrected mistake?  This is so simple that I will fix it in two days! When the Ford Motor Company introduces a brand new automobile, every new car is furnished with a manual of operations. Each task in the operation of the vehicle is discussed and those beyond the means of the regular driver is directed to the service department for more expert use and care. But many new buyers immediately “toss” the owner’s manual. Why? Undue assumption of the human male’s innate ability of the operation and maintenance of an automobile just because his daddy had one. (Translation: overweening pride.) When dealing with the human soul, the wonderful production of God, it is absolutely necessary to read the maker’s one true manual about it operation: the Bible!   ” Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8 “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” II Peter I 1:20-21

Never cease to make God’s interests as the interests you seek in life! Every person’s life is filled with the things he values and endeavors to do well. A Christian must grow in the church until he can serve well as a teacher or preacher, or other things. But the crucial thing is for you to develope and use the skills to serve God. It is sad when one fails to pursue what God wants, and selects some evil or hurtful  activity that  hurts the church and smudges her efforts, but that is what is at stake. Seek for things for which God gives you the talent, and put yourself to his use. Look at life through God’s eyes. Get focused to serving him!  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33


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