One of my all-time favorite movies is Sahara, an action-packed film that follows the life and adventures of two characters named Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino. Originally written by Clive Cussler the book features Dirk as the main character and Al as the supporting character. There is a strong bond between characters as one supports the other, sometimes we overlook the importance of one over the other.
The story of Samson found in the book of Judges is a well-known Sunday school story that has captured the attention of young and old minds alike. Samson of course, is the main character of the story and while we often focus on his story there are others that contributed to his development as a character in a supporting role. As I read through these verses my attention was drawn to the role his father played in what I would call a supporting role.
Chapter 13 of Judges records for us the events that led up to the birth of Samson. An angel of the Lord appears to the wife of Manoah (Samson’s father) to tell her that she will give birth to a son and that he will one day lead the Israelites out from under the hands of the Philistines. When Manoah hears of this news, he doesn’t fall face down and laugh as Abraham did, He turns to God and says,” Pardon your servant Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”
When I read these words, I thought about what my response would have been, I do think I would have had some other questions. “An angel of the Lord, are you sure? “Or “How is this possible, you are unable to have children?” Or [Insert your question here]. We do not know a lot about Manoah but by his response I do believe he was a man of great faith. He accepted what was happening and desired to do his best with the news they received.
In the context of this story Manoah exemplifies what it means to have a true and faithful commitment to the call of the Lord. His faith in God should be an inspiration for all of us. His commitment to want to do what is right in raising Samson is commendable.
God calls each one of his children into a supporting role (He is the main character) as we live our lives as his disciples. In the book of Matthew when the Pharisees asked Jesus “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”, he replied by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
As we grow in our faith and experience the incredible love of God, our prayer should reflect that of Manoah’s prayer, “teach us Lord how to love our neighbor as ourselves.” Our role as supporting characters in the kingdom of God (his story) is to continue the work Jesus started when he was here among his people.
Manoah means “rest”. This short account of time in his life points us to him finding his rest in the Lord. Faith in the Lord fueled his calling to raise his son into the leader he was created to be. How is God calling you today? Have you found your rest in him? Pray about how you can be a supporting character in the biggest and best story that continues to unfold from the beginning of time.