I’m sure you are familiar with the famous line “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you!” Most of us have probably used that line – followed by a quiet courtesy laugh I’m sure. It apparently originated in the TV series Sherlock Holmes.
I bet you didn’t know the concept can be found in the Bible… it’s in the Old Testament, Judges 13.
Picture this, the scene opens in muted hues of blue and gray, a husband and wife moving through their days as they have for years in predictable patterns. Each day like the last with no children to add a spark to the day, as she is infertile and has no children.
Suddenly – because that’s how things happen sometimes – someone appears to her to tell her she will have a son who will be the savior of his people. No, it’s not the Christmas story of baby Jesus – Remember we’re in the front of The Book, in Judges! This angel from heaven details who this child, a boy, will be and how he will be raised. She listens, stunned and slightly fearful. After this amazing encounter, she rushes to tell her husband, admitting in her stunned fear she forgot to get his name and address.
Her husband, Manoah, asks for a repeat showing. Remember, he missed the first one! The angel of the Lord appears again – his wife runs to grab her husband who follows her while the heavenly being waits! Manoah says,” ‘Are you the man who spoke with my wife?’ He said. ‘I am’” (Judges 13:11). He then repeats the details regarding the child to Manoah.
What happens next sounds like a casual conversation – “Hey, can you stay for dinner? And what is your name?” The angel of the Lord says, “‘Why do you ask my name? It is too wonderful.’” (Judges 13:18). Then the angel of the Lord went up in the flames of the altar to heaven!
Here it comes – wait for it! Wow, what an encounter! Amazing! What a high! So what does Manoah have to say? “We are certainly going to die, for we have seen God.” Ugh! He told us and now He has to kill us! Manoah’s wife rolls her eyes and backhands him, lovingly of course, on the arm! Now come to bed. (Author’s dramatic addition!)
Before you finish snickering at the whole encounter, think about how many times we do this! God gives a vision, a dream, a plan and it’s too much to fully grasp – it’s stunning, far-fetched and fear-inducing! Remember, Isaiah tells us His ways are not our ways (Isa 55:8-9). We try to act in faith but harbor doubt (Mark 9:23-25) We battle with his timing – “too much too soon” or “It’s never going to happen”! In essence, we’re saying, “He told me….but now He’s going to kill me!”
God never gives us these revelations or encounters to burden or break us – He does it to give us a hope and a future! What we must do is remember this one thing and be confident in it; “He who began a good work in you will perfect it (be faithful to complete it) in you! If God has spoken something to you – He will do it! So rest!
By the way – that boy’s name was Samson.
He ended up saving his people from the hand of the Philistines!
Go read it for yourself – in Judges 13!