“Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
The book of Judges emphasizes the low moral and spiritual standards in Israel at that time. We find that the people picked up idols and actions from the surrounding nations. It is with that backdrop that we are introduced to a godly couple who had yet to be blessed with children. By all accounts, Manoah and his wife were living exemplary lives: she lived by the Nazarite vow, they offered sacrifice to God and they gave godly, biblical counsel to their growing son. Sadly, however, their son did not choose to walk in the ways of his parents. From our first introduction to Samson, we find he gives little regard to the word of God, to his commitment to God, or to his obvious calling. We learn from his life that it is possible for godly parents to have backslidden children.
From the time our children are little, we view them as an expression of us. When our toddler bites another child in the Sunday school classroom, we immediately think it is an indication of something we are doing wrong as a parent. This trend does not change as our children grow. If they begin to wander from the Lord, we are filled with guilt for all the things we failed to do right in raising them. I think it is important to keep in mind, while no parent is perfect, and we have all done things that may give our children cause to wander, we must also keep in mind there is a time when they are responsible for their decisions. Human nature is such that Samson’s mom would immediately associate his wrong behaviors with her failure, when in reality his wrong behaviors were his alone.
There are few things in life more difficult to handle than having a prodigal child. The story of Samson brings this reality to light, but also shines a great beam of hope as we will read of Samson finally returning to the Lord, and being used mightily by Him.