Today in Judges 13 and 14 we’ll be introduced to a very famous Bible character.
In my background study for today’s remarks, I came upon something written by one of the greatest preachers of the last two hundred years. His name was Charles Spurgeon, and if you are unfamiliar with him, I encourage you to do some research.
Being from the early 1800s, his speech patterns and vocabulary are not very familiar to us today, but I very much like what he had to say about Judges 13. If you’ll allow me to quote him for a couple minutes, I think his thoughts are well worth hearing.
“The first remark arising out of the story of Manoah and his wife is this…that oftentimes we pray for blessings which will make us tremble when we receive them. Manoah had asked that he might see an angel, and he saw him: in answer to his request the wonderful One condescended to reveal himself a second time, but the consequence was that the good man was filled with astonishment and dismay, and turning to his wife, he exclaimed, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God.” Brethren, do we always know what we are asking for when we pray? We are imploring an undoubted blessing, and yet if we knew the way in which such blessing must necessarily come, we should perhaps, hesitate before we pressed our suit.
You have been entreating very much for growth in holiness. Do you know, brother, than in almost every case that means increased affliction? For we do not make much progress in the divine life except when the Lord is pleased to try us in the furnace and purge us with many fires. Do you desire the mercy on that condition? Are you willing to take it as God pleases to send it, and to say, Lord, if spiritual growth implies trial, if it signifies a long sickness of body, if it entails the loss of property, if it involves the taking away of my dearest friend, yet I make no reserve, include in the prayer all that is needful to the good end. When I say, “Sanctify me wholly– spirit, soul, and body– I leave the process to thy discretion.” Suppose you really knew all that it will bring upon you, would you not pray, at any rate, with more solemn tones? I hope you would not hesitate, but, counting all the cost, would still desire to be delivered from sin; but, at any rate, you would put up your petition with deliberation, weighing every syllable, and then when the answer came you would not be so astonished at its peculiar form. Often and often the blessing which we used so eagerly to implore is the occasion of the suffering which we deplore. We do not know God’s methods. We set him ways which he does not choose to follow.” (From “The Treasury of the Old Testament”, Charles H. Spurgeon.)
I agree with Spurgeon. I encourage you to ask for spiritual growth, but be aware that the process God uses often entails suffering.
Has that been your experience? Leave a comment below.