Being Dedicated to God
There are many similarities in today’s story to that of Mary, the mother of Jesus. However, there are also great differences. Israel had fallen into sin and was in great need of a saviour. As always, God provided them with one through a woman whose name is unknown. Being unknown, we can think that she could be one of us. We know that she was married to Manoah. Just like Mary, she was visited by an angel who told her that she would conceive a child.
In Judges 13, we learn that, unlike Mary, she had to dedicate herself and her son to God through the Nazarite Vow. The Nazarite vow is a vow that a man or woman makes to separate and consecrate themselves from their fellow men to serve God. In Numbers 6, we can better understand what this vow means. The person can’t eat or drink anything from the vine. They can’t shave their hair. Eat anything unclean or come close to any dead body. When the separation is over, the person can go to the priest to make an offering and cut off all their hair.
It was right after this instruction that we can find the most shared and loved blessing:
“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26, KJV).
This woman had to follow all these instructions and train her child to follow the Nazarite vow. Her child was called Samson. He was there to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of their enemies and be a blessing to God. However, when you read the following chapters, you will find that Samson was just another man and, although set apart, failed to rise to the heights he was meant to achieve. Maybe because of all the worldly influences. Therefore he missed out on the greatest blessings. Are you more focused on the worldly goings-on? Human shortcomings seem to hinder our own blessings. Is this maybe a foreshadowing of the need for a real saviour? God knows that through our own efforts, we can’t do this. Only through God can we be saved.
We know that the same wasn’t expected from Mary. “And the angel said unto her, Fear Not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:30-32, KJV). Mary wasn’t expected to follow the Nazarite Vow, for she was already set apart, and the ONE she was carrying was God’s own Son. As prophesied in Isaiah 9:6 (KJV), “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
And unlike Samson, although his mother followed what the angel had told her, her son ended up disgraced—blinded by his enemies. And as he held onto the two pillars, he cried out to God to strengthen him one last time to avenge his eyes. Without his eyes, he finally saw his worth through God’s eyes.
We need to trust in God and believe in what Jesus has done for us on the cross, and his resurrection, for this knowledge sets us all apart. Believe in that, and God’s blessings will follow.