“Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord, ‘What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?’ And the Angel of the Lord said to him, ‘Why do you ask My Name, seeing it is wonderful?’ So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it upon the rock to the Lord. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on – it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar – the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.”
The Lord led me to this passage concerning the birth of Samson and showed me things I had never paid attention to before. I read through it several times and the thought kept reoccurring: “I AM the same yesterday, today and forever. To him who believes, signs and wonders will follow, for I AM an awesome God.”
Well. That was certainly food for thought!
Manoah is Samson’s father. He and his wife had no children – she was barren when the Angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son (13:3). The Angel went on to give Manoah’s wife specific instructions, not only for her pregnancy, but also for the child. Then, in verse 5, the Angel of the Lord told her, “…the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
A Nazarite was a person consecrated – set apart – to God. Remember Samson’s long hair and that he wouldn’t cut it? That was part of his Nazirite vow – “no razor should come upon his head.”
Well, Manoah got pretty excited about this promise from God, as you can easily imagine. Manoah wanted to bless the Angel of the Lord with an offering and in his excitement, he asked the Angel, “What is Your Name that when your words come to pass we may honor You?”
Now the good part…
“The Angel of the Lord said to Manoah, ‘Why do you ask My Name, seeing it is wonderful?'” Do you remember one of the Names of the Lord spoken in Isaiah 9:6? One of His many Names is Wonderful! The phrase, “it is wonderful” is an expression meaning “beyond understanding”. The Name of the Lord is like that! His Name represents all that He is to His children and He is too wonderful to comprehend!
And then, the Bible says, the Lord did a wondrous thing – the Angel of the Lord ascended toward heaven in the flame of the altar!
Pala’ (pah-lah) is the Hebrew word meaning “did a wondrous thing.” God performed a miracle before their very eyes. It was something beyond Manoah’s and his wife’s ability to grasp. It was a marvel, supernatural – a wondrous thing from the God whose Name is wonderful!
So…if He is the same God yesterday, today and forever, should we expect to see Pala’ in our lives? Should we see the miraculous Hand of God working in our midst?
I admit, I’ve never seen the Angel of the Lord ascend to heaven in a flame but, I have experienced strangers showing up on our doorstep with groceries when we had none. I have experienced an angel jerking my car out of the way of a head-on collision. Why, God has even taught me a parable by watching a squirrel hang on to the bird feeder during strong winds. That little squirrel hung on with all fours, determined not to lose its prize.
Yes, God is in the BIG, for sure. But He is in the small interventions as well. We need to only “open our eyes that we might see” and “open our ears that we might hear” His gentle whisper.
And then we need to follow the example of Manoah and his wife.
They recognized the Presence of God and fell on their faces in worship.
Father, indeed, You ARE wonderful – well beyond our comprehension and yet You make Yourself known to us. Thank You! Your interventions are powerful, your provisions perfect and Your voice sweet. May we never, ever forget to look for Your Hand in our lives, to listen for Your voice in the whisper of the trees. Help us to be ever mindful of Your Presence, God and help us to expect Your power and love – your “pala'” each and every day.