God’s Intent for Showing Himself to Us


Judges 13:21-23 “When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. ‘We are doomed to die!’ he said to his wife. ‘We have seen God.’ But his wife answered, ‘If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.’”

As Manoah and his wife considered what they had just experienced, each of them had special insights into what happened. Manoah thinks that they are doomed to die. And maybe we are tempted to say that Manoah is just over-reacting. He is being melodramatic.

But Manoah understood something far too many people fail to get. This was not an overreaction. Remember what God said to Moses after the golden calf incident, when Moses wanted to see God face to face? He told Moses that he would make all of his glory pass by, and Moses could see his backside. But Moses could not see his face, “For no man may see me and live.” Remember how Isaiah reacted when God appeared to him in a vision to call him to his service? The Lord was seated high on his throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Smoke wafted through the space and angels cried out “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of Hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory.” How did Isaiah’s respond? “Woe to me–I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!”

These men understood that it is a dreadful, terrifying thing for sinners to stand in the presence of the Holy God. Our world is all too free and easy about where we stand with God. We could stand to take God more seriously. We could use a healthy dose of awe and reverence and dread, especially when we consider the damning nature of our sins.

But that’s only half the story. Manoah’s wife had a special insight, too. She not only looked at the great power and considered that they had been standing in the presence of the Holy God. She had also listened. She heard God’s promises to them. She considered the blessing they were being given. God had said that he was sending his people a deliverer, a Savior. He was using this family to do so. Far from meaning to kill them, God had promised to save them.

God still wants you to listen to what he says, especially when he tells you he has sent you a deliverer, a Savior, who has come to spare your life. God wants you to hear the promise that he has taken away your sins and filled the void with Jesus’ love and the Spirit’s power. God wants you to be sure that his plans for you don’t end soon, because they don’t end here. Because of his grace and promise, living out his plans will mean life that never ends in heaven.

Now that will be an adventure.

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