When you hear the biblical name Samson, what comes to mind? It’s likely you recall the stories of his long hair and supernatural strength. Or maybe you think of his less-than-ideal marriage to Delilah and his ultimate tragic demise. While these stories may be familiar to us, I wonder how many know about his parents’ background—specifically his mother? Before you read this article any further, I encourage you to read Judges 13. It will take about five minutes, and it might be the best five minutes of your day.
The book of Judges recounts Israel’s saga of ending up in one hot mess after another due to their rebellion against God. This chapter says they had been under the harsh oppression of the Philistines for 40 years. Circumstances were increasingly difficult for those who remained faithful to God in an increasingly anti-God culture. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
I would summarize the chapter this way: Israel was in big trouble, and they needed a big solution, and God revealed his big plan to a wife who displayed big faith.
In digging through Judges 13, we will discover some pretty big chunks of gold. Let’s look at four of those gold nuggets.
1. Dire Circumstances Are Ideal Settings to Hear God Speak
Manoah and his wife lived in a hostile culture, and they also faced the personal hardship of being unable to have children. Into these dire circumstances, God sent his angel to Manoah’s wife to deliver news that not only would she have a son, but he would eventually rescue Israel. This answered two prayers—one for a child and one for Israel to be saved from her enemies.
2. God Esteems Women
God chose to reveal his plan to the wife of Manoah, though his plan included both husband and wife.
Let me be clear: this isn’t a commentary on the roles of women and men in the church. Not even close. Instead, it is simply a beautiful reminder that God esteems women, and in this particular instance, he chose to reveal his plan to Manoah’s wife. Her faith in God’s word would play a huge role in her husband’s response—which we will see next.
3. A Faith-Filled Response Can Bring Peace and Reassurance in a Fearful Situation
Sometimes we freak out, and we need a calming word from our husbands; conversely, sometimes our husbands freak out, and Lord knows, we need a strong, confident, and faith-filled response that ushers in the peace and strength required for the task at hand. That’s precisely what Manoah’s wife did.
When Manoah panicked and thought they would die because they’d seen the angel of the Lord, she said, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this” (Judges 13:23). In other words, “If God were going to kill us, he would have already done it!” Mrs. Manoah was able to stay calm and levelheaded. Specifically, she had faith. She did not doubt what the angel had revealed to her on his first visit. She simply took God at his word, and because of her faith, she was able to respond to her husband’s fear with calm assurance.
Not long ago, I had a unique opportunity to practice this particular gold nugget in my own life. I was out of town with a friend when my husband called me. I could tell by his voice he wasn’t calling simply to check-in. A shocking and threatening letter from the Internal Revenue Service had arrived informing us our bank accounts had been frozen, our home would be seized, and we would be evicted if we didn’t send an immediate (and very substantial!) payment.
Upon investigation, my husband soon learned he had been the victim of an elaborate theft that left years of tax bills unpaid. We almost lost everything as a result of cunning deception and thievery. Suffice it to say, what followed was a very difficult and challenging season as my husband and I began the slow process of paying a debt we did not incur. During that season, I could have chosen fear and been an added stressor for my already stressed-to-the-max husband, but instead I chose faith and tried to be a calm and reassuring voice. Somehow, I understood that if I expressed nervousness or doubt, I could easily have made matters worse.
Manoah’s wife responded in faith and not fear. Why? Because she had a supernatural encounter with the angel of the Lord, and she believed his message. Although she’d been infertile her whole life, she believed God’s promise that she would conceive and have a son. Although Israel was in an impossible mess with no visible way out, she believed her son would deliver them from their enemy. These were future promises, and she believed wholeheartedly the Lord would be faithful to his word. That’s how she knew with certainty she and her husband would not die before the promises were fulfilled.
God has uniquely gifted women with the ability to powerfully influence the emotional climate around us. Therefore, we must spend time with the Lord, becoming increasingly familiar with the truth and promises in his Word. When we know God’s promises, it will affect how we respond in stressful situations. If women want to become people who offer strong, confident, and faith-filled responses that usher in the kind of peace and strength required for difficult tasks or challenging seasons, then—like Manoah’s wife—we must have faith that the Lord’s promises are true. When our belief is firm, it will overcome any fear response.
When my husband voiced concern over the burden of rebuilding our bank accounts, I reminded him of the Lord’s faithfulness and how we had experienced it in our lives. When he wrestled with the possibility of losing everything, I assured him that no matter what happened, the Lord would provide us what we needed. If I hadn’t been convinced of God’s faithfulness and provision, I surely would have panicked. A panicked, fear-driven, freaked-out wife was the last thing my husband needed.
4. God Keeps His Promises
“Manoah’s wife gave birth to a son and named him Samson. The child grew and the Lord empowered him” (Judges 13:24, New English Translation). After all of the drama and dust settled, God did exactly what he said he would do for the couple. The once-childless woman gave birth to a son (just as the Lord said). Through the Lord’s empowerment, her son would save Israel from their enemy (just as the Lord said). God was faithful to his word in the past, and he will be faithful to his word in the future.
All of us can relate to Manoah’s wife in some way. We also live in an increasingly anti-God culture; however, it can serve as an ideal setting to hear God speak. We can position ourselves to hear God by staying in his Word and communing with him in prayer. When we do this, our voice will bring peace and reassurance in any stressful or fearful situation. Make no mistake, a calm voice carries significant weight—especially in marriages—so let’s use it wisely.
Listen to God, then faithfully and confidently use your voice to encourage and strengthen your husband. Remember, God can and will do big things through both of you.