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What Does God Say When People Pray? (Part 9)
Judges 13:3-5 

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These were dark days. Because of Israel's evil ways, God allowed them to fall into the hands of their arch enemies, the Philistines, for forty years. In the midst of the darkness, an angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah and his wife telling them God was about to bless them with a son. 

For years, they'd tried to have children, but couldn't. But now their dream would come true. There were, however, strings attached to the good news. Let's read our text:

"The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah's wife and said, 'Even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. [4] You must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink or eat any forbidden food. [5] You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will rescue Israel from the Philistines.'" Judges 13:3-5 

Samson wouldn't be an ordinary child. From his conception, Samson was dedicated to the Lord. The angel instructed his parents that he was to take the vow of the Nazirite. 

Nazirites are people that are "consecrated." Included in the vow was total abstinence from alcohol and restraining from eating any fruit of the vine, including grapes or raisins. Besides the dietary requirements, they also were restricted from cutting their hair or shaving their beard.

Samson didn't choose to be a Nazirite. It was predestined by God and his parents began his consecration from his conception. During her pregnancy, his mother abstained from the forbidden dietetic elements of the vow.

In many ways, Samson was a contradiction. He was consecrated, living a life set a part for God, and the scripture says, "the Spirit of the Lord began to take hold of him." (Judges 13:25) Yet, some of his behavior was outlandish and he certainly had his weaknesses.

His greatest weakness was his relationship with women. I suppose you could say, he was a fighter, not a lover and explain this character flaw away, but I think it is deeper than that. Really, that one area of his life was his Achilles heel.

Take his first wife, for instance. He insisted that his parents arrange for a marriage with a Philistine girl from Timnah. Try as they might, they couldn't talk him out of it, so they conceded. 

On the way to Timnah to make the wedding arrangements, a Lion attacked Samson. With his legendary strength, Samson killed the beast with his bare hands, leaving its carcass behind.

As the wedding day approached, Samson went to Timnah again, and as he did, he walked past the carcass of the lion and noticed bees swarming in it. He reached into the carcass and ate the honey it contained, and shared some with his parents. But he told no one where it came from or that he had killed the lion.

At the wedding feast, Samson bet 30 local boys a suit of clothes each that they couldn't solve the following riddle: "From the one who eats came something to eat; out of the strong came something sweet." (Judges 14:14 NLT)

Try as they might, the boys couldn't figure out the riddle, so they approached Samson's bride and threatened to harm her and her father's house if she didn't tell them the answer. She cried and nagged Samson, until he broke down and told her. She in turn told the boys who gave Samson the answer in Judges 14:18 : "What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?" 
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