This is adapted from a sermon based on Judges 13
I really don’t have to belabor the point of how morally confusing these times are, do I? We hear the news. We read the stats. And we know how tough it is to be growing up in this present culture. That’s how things were for Israel when Samson was born.
People know about Samson because the story of his relationship with Delilah, but we often miss that God used Samson in a tremendous way to begin to deliver the children of Israel from the seventh cycle of oppression talked about in the book of Judges. And it all started with some very courageous parents. (Note that they did make a tragic mistake later on, as all parents will, but Samson gave them a lot of gray hairs.)
We need courageous parents and families today, who will stare a difficult era in the face with boldness and determine to release a generation into this world that will truly make an impact.
SO WHAT DO COURAGEOUS PARENTS LOOK LIKE?
Courageous Parents Are Sensitive to God’s Leadership
In Samson’s parents, there is a willingness to grow, to learn, and to hear from God. They invite the presence of the angel of the Lord and even ask him to come back a second time. Then they sit eagerly at his feet and learn.
There are plenty of opinions about how parenting should be done today, but God’s still the wisest Father in existence and His Word offers more insight into courageous parenting than all the self-help books and family magazines in the world.
Courageous Parents Are Willing Worshippers
Manoah and his wife (I wish she were named) worshipped the Lord. I believe that this was another Christophany of the Old Testament (a time when Christ manifested Himself as an angel before His incarnation). With that in mind, the scene of the offering becomes all that much more significant. They were willing worshippers.
Parents, it takes tremendous courage to allow your kids, as well as co-workers, friends, etc. to see you visibly worshipping. But our kids need to see it. They need to hear about our faith, and know where we stand with the Almighty.
Courageous Parents Have High Standards and Expectations for Their Kids
We’re going to see in the next chapter (Judges 14) that Manoah and his wife made a mistake with their son (although the Bible points out that they knew not that it was “of the Lord”). But throughout Samson’s childhood, they managed to hold to some pretty high standards.
Samson was to be a Nazarite from birth, so his parents avoided drinking any wine or cutting his hair. These weren’t standards that everybody was required to hold, but God asked these parents to hold them up, so they did.
There’s a great lesson here – expect more from your kids than the surrounding culture. Never say, “Well that’s just how kids are… that’s just what kids do these days… boys will be boys… that’s just how kids dress… that’s just the music kids listen to anymore…” No! Communicate a higher expectation and set a higher standard. Don’t be angry or judgmental about it. Legalism will drive your kids to exhaustion and exasperation. Just say, “I expect more from you.”
Courageous Parents Remain Dependent Upon God’s Blessing
Here was a barren couple. They couldn’t have kids and God blessed them with a miraculous intervention to give them Samson. They had to wait for Him to do that. But I like the way the chapter ends. God blessed Samson.
We can’t have kids without God’s intervention and blessing, and we can’t raise kids without His blessing either. Remain dependent, for this is the path to courageous parenting!