Judges 13QUESTION: Philistines/PreIncarnation - 1ANSWER:Judges 13 – Part 1
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
“Good morning, gang. Welcome to the Dive Chapel. We are in the book of Judges and, if you would, please turn to Judges chapter 13.
“The theme we are tracking through Judges is that the children of Israel live in seven-point cycles of sin. From joyfully serving God; to being tempted; to giving in to sin; to enslavement to sin; to saying, ‘Wait, things used to be much better’; to full, all out, on your knees in sackcloth and ashes repentance; that leads back to the top of the circle: joyfully serving God.
“Judges has taught us that the keys to abundant living, in the Promised Land of our salvation, are obedience and faithfulness. Again, we enter the Promised Land by faith – that’s your salvation experience. We inhabit and live abundantly in the Land by obedience and faithfulness.
“In Judges 13, verse one, we see that the Israelites are at the bottom of the cycle. The text says, ‘Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.’
“The Philistines were a seafaring race. They were great warriors and worshipped Dagon - a half-man, half-fish statue - and the Ashtaroths – which we’ve seen were sex gods. In addition, they worshipped a whole plethora of other gods. Over the next few weeks, we’ll deal with the Philistines of lust.
“Note that the Israelites had been living in the Philistine culture for forty years. That would be since the mid-1960’s for us. Interesting that the so-called sexual revolution started in America about then.
“In verse two, we meet a barren woman whose husband was named Manoah of the tribe of Dan. The Angel of the LORD appears to her and tells her that she is going to have a son. The son will be a Nazirite, set aside for God. So this lady is to be careful that, from now on, she is on a strict diet – no wine, now beer, nothing unclean. And, this son of hers will, the Angel says, ‘begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.’
“Now, two things about this. First, when we see the ‘Angel of the LORD’ – that’s capital A in Angel and all caps L-O-R-D or YHWH – it means we have a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus. I love this!
“If you are out in the world and somebody asks you if you believe in reincarnation say, ‘No, but I believe in pre-incarnation!’ And go on to tell them about Jesus being there with God and the Holy Spirit at the beginning and how He is the great, imaginative Creator – that’s what I do.
“The second thing to look at has to do with Manoah’s wife. She apparently didn’t recognize Jesus the way Gideon did in Chapter six. If we look at verse six, she tells her husband that a man came to her who ‘appeared’ to be ‘like’ an angel, very awesome. But the feel from her description is that she has only a vague knowledge about the Almighty. It’s like after forty years of living in the religiosity of the Philistines, amidst fish-man worship and sexual immorality recast as righteous, that she has a sense of God, but no traction in the Word. What a horrible pity it would be if Jesus appeared to us and we didn’t get it.
“Now, here comes the lesson of Judges 13. It is God’s model for the family. At marriage, the LORD makes a husband and a wife one flesh. ONE in the eyes of God. Gentlemen, we are to listen to what God may be saying to our wives. Ladies, you are to encourage the leader of your home. The LORD Almighty will speak to a married couple together. Get that. He may first touch the heart of one of you, but the messages from Jesus are for both of you to work out together.
“Even in that sinful, fleshly, worldly culture, where God is blended in with all of the other Philistine gods, Manoah has something in his heart, his spirit that causes him to pause before his wife’s confession.
“He doesn’t say, ‘You’re hearing things, you crazy woman.’ No, he listens and considers. Then he prays and says, ‘Oh 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.’ “Check this out. Manoah clearly believes what was said to his wife, but he wants to do a little fleecing of his own. He has I-belive-it-when-I-see-it kind of faith. It’s like he’s from Missouri, the ‘Show me’ state.Judges 13 – Read Part 2!