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And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and...

The LORD is near - Friday, December 6, 2013
by Jacob Redekop, Brian Reynolds, John van Dijk, Eugene P. Vedder, Jr
And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and...

And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
(Judges 13:3-5)

Because of their failure, God delivered the children of Israel into the hands of their enemies, the Philistines, for forty years. He now purposed to begin to deliver them using Samson as described in Judges 13 through 16.
The barren wife of Manoah was told that she would bear a son to be the deliverer of Israel. He was to be raised as a Nazarite-to abstain from wine, strong drink, and everything connected with the grape vine; and she herself was to keep herself from everything unclean. Also, his hair was never to be cut. These are figures for our instruction.
Wine is a figure of that which stimulates the natural man, producing joy and strength. Spiritually, it symbolizes that which stimulates and stirs up the flesh. Thus, one can be a thorough teetotaler as to wine and yet spiritually speaking be totally under its power. To be powerful for God, anything that simply imparts fleshly energy or fleshly excitement has to be scrupulously avoided. God cannot use it! The long hair is a figure which suggests that we should be aware of our weakness and have a spirit of dependence on God.
Sadly, Samson did not live up to what these externals symbolize, and this failure took away his God-given great strength. From this we learn that we have spiritual strength only as we make the truth a practical reality in our souls through submission to the Holy Spirit, not just through gift!


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