Judges 13:1-3, “1 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. 2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children.” 3 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son.”
In verse 2 there is a reference to a woman being physically barren, unable to have children, and this reference would have been symbolic to the spiritual condition of the people in Israel in Judges 13.
They were doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, again (verse 1). It wasn’t necessarily evil in their eyes, but it was evil in the eyes of the Lord, so that the Lord’s response is to send the Philistines to bring oppression for forty years.
At first glance we might read these verses and think, “I thought the Lord was loving and kind.” But, we must remember the sons of Israel are wallowing in evil again.
It means they are hurting themselves, and they are hurting one another, and to make matters worse, there is a lack of repentance. Throughout the book of Judges we see rebellion, we see discipline from the Lord, and we see some type of repentance or remorse, but in Judges 13 we see no repentance.
You would think at this point the God of Scripture would throw up His hands and say, “Forget it! I am done!” But, in verse 3 we see the God of Scripture do just the opposite. Instead of frustration or fatigue we see the promise of a deliverer, and the promise of hope.
The angel of the Lord is likely a reference to the pre-incarnate Jesus, and He comes to bring hope. Practically in our lives this means there is no evil in our life that is too dark for the Lord. We might be fully invested in evil like we see in verse 1. We might have hearts and minds that are hardened to the Lord and unrepentant like we see in verse 2, and still the Lord pursues His people.
Might we all take a moment to remember the enduring patience of the Lord. Might we remember the discipline He brings into our lives isn’t to be punitive, but to be restorative, and the hope He offers is that we would turn from our sin, trust in Him, and ask for His help to obey.