If you’ve grown up in the church, you have heard of Samson. The guy with the long hair and super strength. But today’s reading is the prequel to that story. Today, we get the events that lead up to his mighty strength. We get the story of a couple living during another period of Israel’s rebellion from God.
The Lord chooses this couple to draw Israel back to Himself. He does it first by giving them something they thought was impossible: a son. Yet, when the angel of the Lord arrives to tell Manoah and his wife about this child, he asks Manoah’s wife to sacrifice. She isn’t to drink any wine or eat any unclean thing. And when the child is born, he shall be a Nazirite from when he is conceived to the day of his death. We read in Numbers 6 what it entails to be a Nazirite: no grapes or wine, no razor can touch the head, do not go near a dead body, etc… There were sacrifices in life to be made.
Luke 9 shows us that sacrifices are not just for the people of the Old Testament. In verses 57 – 62, we read about people who want to follow after Jesus, but who are unwilling to make the required sacrifices.
Though we so often prefer to talk about God’s grace and His gentleness, there are times when God requires us to sacrifice. To sacrifice our own wants. To sacrifice certain desires. To sacrifice certain lifestyles. To sacrifice things that might be “good” or “ok” for other Christians. To give up the world and to follow Him instead.