Wonderful

Judges 13:3 “And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.’”

The “angel of the Lord” that appeared to Samson’s mother in the verse above was likely the preincarnate Son of God. We can deduce this from His name, which He divulges to Samson’s father Manoah later in this account. That name is “Wonderful,” which is one of the names Isaiah 9:6 says that Jesus would be given in the prophesy of His birth.  The wonders of Jesus can never be overstated.  They can never be plumbed to their infinite depth by the finite human mind.  However, one of the things about which we can be sure is that anything that is truly wonderful has its origin in our wonderful God.  And it helps for us to know that one of the things the psalmist who wrote Psalm 119 prayed for and proclaimed was the following: “Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.”

Isn’t it wonderful that God would have us to meditate on His wondrous works?! What an awesome thing to set our mind upon!  And so, let’s consider some of the wonders of the angel of the Lord whose very name is “Wonderful.” 

One of those wonderful things is that the God of heaven has appeared to man in the form of the Lord Jesus.  It was in the form of the angel of the Lord that He appears throughout the Old Testament. The fact that He appeared there reminds us of the fact that God the Son is eternal just as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are eternal. The Trinity, the Three in One: it’s a truth that is beyond our ability to fully grasp, yet it’s a wonderful reality to contemplate.  The eternal Son of God, Who dwelt in heaven from before time began, entered this finite earth to live among us, speak to us, and show us the way to the Father.

Then in the Lord’s prophecy to Samson’s mother we see other wonderful things. One thing is that He was mindful of this woman. He knew all about her. He knew she was barren, but He also knew that she would have a son.  He knew that this Son had a divine purpose, and He told her about it.  Later in chapter 13 of Judges we learn that He tells this woman that her son was to be “a Nazirite to God from the womb.” A Nazarite was a person who was consecrated to God by a vow.  The Nazarite was to be “separated . . . to the Lord” (Numbers 6:2) and during the time of his or her separation they were considered to be “holy to the Lord” (Numbers 6:8). The word Nazirite means “separate.”  It was a person set apart from the mundane.  The Nazirites were unique in Israel.  They were to never cut their hair, and they were to never drink or eat anything that came from a grapevine.  Interestingly, the word “wonderful,” is also sometimes translated “separated.” Here it’s in the context of how God is separate from His creation. He is infinite, but the things He has made are finite.  No matter how wonderful the things are that He has made, He is infinitely more wonderful still. Yet, in these finite creations, we see signs of the wonder of the One who made it all. 

Perhaps with this truth we can see the wonder of a life that is consecrated to God.  That’s what a saint is. That’s the definition.  And “saint” is simply another word for a Christian. Just as Samson’s birth was known and predestined by God, so is the birth of every person and the life of every Christian.  Paul exults in this with these words: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:3-4). And in Psalm 139 the psalmist exults with these words: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

All this is no less wonderful than the predetermined counsel of God in the birth of Samson. Wonderfully, this God of wonders knows each and every one of us intimately, even as He knew Samson’s mother, and He ordained our birth just as He did the birth of Samson.  In all of this, God’s will is that we be set apart to Him, filled with His Spirit, and engaged in His wonderful work of the salvation of the world. 

Jesus’ knowledge of us, purpose for us, and work in and through our lives: what wonderful things have proceeded from the mind and work of our wonderful God.

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