The Faith of Manoah's Wife

Judges 13  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Judges 18
It may sound a little strange and harsh at first, but I believe, on a little meditation, it will be found that while reading the epistles of the New Testament, we might seasonably and profitably and to the great comfort of our souls keep in mind the words of Manoah's wife to her husband in Judges 13.
Manoah himself at the time was in fear, for he had seen God; and as he said, he thought he would die. But his wife said to him, "If the LORD were pleased to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would He have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these."
A very simple, beautiful, and convincing piece of reasoning. Faith is always the best reasoner, because it uses the arguments which God Himself suggests, as in this case. The simplicity of this woman is apparent all through the narrative. Her husband was rather a devout and good man, who walked more in a praying than in a believing mind; but she was more simple and confiding—inapt, I can suppose, to reason at all, save when the Lord, as here, supplied her with arguments.
Now this has struck me, that this very same believing reasoning, as I may call it, may well and suitably and comfortably be ours when we read the epistles. For in them we find (as Manoah's wife found in the words which the Lord had spoken to her) such wonderful secrets communicated to us, and such wondrous grace shown to us, that we can do nothing less than rest, as she did, in the blessed certainty of this, that our God has no purpose against us. In the epistles we find ourselves brought into such near relationship to God, made acquainted with such deep secrets of His bosom, so encouraged to bring ourselves and our offerings to Him in a sanctuary of peace, that His purpose to pardon and save us finds no room to be questioned. The Lord would not, He could not, after the manner of the epistles, have set us in the place of children, and friends, and worshipers, and heirs, had He not set us in the place of safety and peace. The less is surely included in the better, as this simple-hearted woman reasoned for the encouragement of her husband.
And according to this, I may say, God Himself in the epistles treats pardon and acceptance very much in that way. It is rather assumed than taught. If the Spirit of God in the Apostle Paul be recalled to the subject, it is because the heart of man is so disposed to return to the law, and to the elements and rudiments of the world-the religious ordinances.
The question of pardon and justification suits the presence of God as a judge. It is before God in that character that such a question is to be argued and disposed of. But in the epistles God speaks to us, His saints, rather as a Father; or as from a sanctuary where He proposes to meet us as worshipers; or face to face, as a man would speak to his friend; or as the One who has set us with Himself in heavenly places. Surely He would not thus deal with us if He purposed to "kill us," or to put us under law and in the fear of judgment.
Indeed, the reasoning of the Apostle at the close of Romans 8 has exactly this character in it. Like Manoah's wife, the Apostle reasons on what God has supplied, and he concludes (of course, I know under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) that the less is included in the greater. He challenges the inferior thing in the name, and in the certainty, and in the authority of the superior; and this is what that simple-hearted woman did. She said, God will not kill us, because He has accepted our worship, and spoken to us. The Apostle says, He who spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things. Who can lay anything to our charge, since God has justified us?
This is quite of the character of the word in Judges 13. And our place and privileges, as we read them in other epistles, entitle us to be bold after the same manner.
Had Manoah any answer for his wife? To accept the rebuke at her hand was both his wisdom and his consolation; and it is ours. If Deborah strengthened the arm of Barak for the fight; if Abigail, by godly counsel, turned the erring purpose of the soul of David aside; if Priscilla helped to teach Apollos the way of God more perfectly; we may rejoice and be thankful to accept from the Lord, at the hand of this obscure, unnamed woman of the distant tribe of Dan, this fitting and happy encouragement of our souls. She says in her way, as the great Apostle of the Gentiles, under the Holy Spirit, says, "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."