Judges 13 - The Crescendo of Salvation
The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, ‘You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son’.Judges 13:3
When I say “Samson” you probably think of a strong man with a weakness for women. Pictures of long hair or collapsing temples come to mind. But look at the very beginning of his life, for a moment. There is something wonderful even about his conception and birth.
The LORD comes to a couple. With all the other judges, God came to a grown man and called him to be his saviour. But here God plans a birth. Even from the time of his conception Samson is set apart for the service of God. His mother must also live by the law of the Nazirite.
The LORD comes to a couple who are barren. In the Old Testament barrenness was specifically a punishment from God (Deuteronomy 28:18). It shows you what sin does to us – sin brings death, sterility. You can also see in this barrenness our helplessness. Sin brings us to a dead end that we cannot overcome.
The LORD comes to a couple who are barren just as the Philistine oppression begins. Take a look at the timing of this angelic declaration. Samson was a judge in Israel for twenty years (Judges 15:20). He probably began to judge Israel when he was close to twenty years of age, although he could have been older. The Philistines, we’re told, were a threat to Israel for forty years (Judges 16:1). That means, at the very least, that it’s about the time the Philistine oppression begins that God also makes his announcement of the birth of Samson, his deliverer.
The LORD comes to a couple who are barren just as the cruel Philistine domination starts and the Israelites have not even cried out to Him! There is a clear pattern in the book of Judges: the Israelites sin, God delivers them into the hand of their enemies, they cry out and God sends salvation. But here there is no cry for help, no repentance. But yet God raises up Samson to begin the deliverance from the Philistines!
Do you see how wonderful that is? It’s wonderful for you personally, because you too have received a Saviour from God like this, our Lord Jesus Christ! Throughout the book of Judges there are all these different redeemers who give different angles on the great Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Judge par excellence, the One in whom all of these themes are taken up perfectly and in the greatest way!
Look at Christ. He too is set apart before He was born, from the foundation of the world to be our Saviour! His entire life on this earth was dedicated to our salvation! There was not a moment He lived where He did his “own thing.” Samson had trouble with being a Nazirite. But our Saviour was always devoted to the task the Father had given Him – to accomplish our deliverance from sin and Satan!
He is born of a virgin! God makes an incredible beginning when we are at a dead end. He makes a new Adam, one who does not share in the fall of the first, in whom we can receive a new start! In Christ God offers us salvation that reaches beyond the whole curse of our sin and our helplessness!
He is set apart to be our Saviour even before the enemy arrives! The Philistines had begun to oppress Israel and God promises Samson. But with Christ, it is even more amazing! Even before the devil had fallen and dragged us all down with him, before we had committed even one sin, the Son of God was set apart to come to save us! God’s salvation is not something hastily thrown together, as if the devil and our sin surprised Him. It is not a superficial “Band-Aid” approach to our problems. Before the world began, God knew what would happen and perfectly planned for it in Christ.
He comes also to us although we have not cried out for Him. The LORD, thankfully, did not wait for us to act before He decided to save. In the beginning, after Adam and Eve sinned, it was God Himself who came and gave that first promise of a Saviour. Adam and Eve wouldn’t have had the boldness to ask God to save them, much less die in their place. Would you? But thankfully God isn’t dependant on our initiative!
In Samson God showed himself to be wonderful, even in this man’s conception and birth (Judges 13:18). But with Christ, we see something even greater, truly the wonder of wonders!
Wonders of grace to God belong; repeat his mercies in your song!Hymn 61:1, Book of Praise