God Puts His Leaders in Place

Judges 13

Jerry A Collins




v     How far ahead does God prepare His plan?

v     Do we have any party in the accomplishing of God’s plan?

v     Is it necessary to be set apart for special use by God?


God is never caught off guard. Our God is always on top of things and way ahead of the ballgame—like all of these clichés’? God is never on His heels or caught napping. We are always preparing ourselves for some future use—like my working on my doctorate next week and the next few years or you receiving more training or polishing up the resume’ or pulling out the planner—things we do to prepare ourselves ahead of time for new responsibilities or opportunities that may come. God is always preparing his leader to step into some future situation and be a champion for God and God’s will. Special times call for special people and we all want to be prepared for that—so, too, God. This was the case before Samson’s birth. He was already being prepared even while he was in the womb. The context for this new initiative on God’s part is the monotonous downward spiral climaxing now with the seventh episode of apostasy in the nation—3:5-7; 12-14; 4:1-3; 6:1-2; 8:33-35; 10:6-9. This spiral is connected with the oppression of a new group of antagonists called the Philistines. Philistine’s ambitions came naturally. Their five cities strategically located on the International Coastal Highway along the Mediterranean coast was an important commercial connection in various directions. Their arrival and aspirations signal the beginning of what will become Judah’s and Benjamin’s main thorn in the flesh or the side as their underbelly is exposed toward the western Philistine territory. The valleys in the Shephelah, the foothills, were the first step in Philistine penetration in to the actual hill country where the Israelite tribes resided. The Israelites for practical purposes were a hill tribe people, hidden up in the hills of the interior to maximize their protection from surrounding enemies on the peripheral of the land. The Philistine strategy seems to be the tribe of Benjamin’s territory, which sat between the two largest tribes—Judah and Ephraim. Possibly to prevent either from settling it and then using it as a springboard to further expansion—which tells us that the Philistine’s were an aggressive sort, striving to take initiative and in this case attempting to maintain a wedge between Judah and Ephraim, two of the strongest tribes as well. Strategically, they recognized this Benjamite territory for what it was—a highway and link to Jericho on the eastern side of the territory opposite the Philistines and then beyond to link up beyond the Transjordan. Theirs was an ambitious plan of oppression, control, dominance, and seizure. All of this intrigue and muscle developed over forty years vs 1. Two lines stand out in the Samson story above all others. One of fact at that time the Philistines had control of Israel 14:4. The other is a rhetorical question posed to Samson by the men of Judah after he had upset the delicate status quo and fragile conditions of Philistine occupation which were certain to bring Philistine reprisals unless Samson surrendered; Don’t you realize that we’re under the control of the Philistines 15:11. With this backdrop, God is preparing His leader to deliver Israel from them. It says Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. Notice they were not necessarily sinning or doing evil in their own eyes or in the eyes of their society or elders. There is no record of Israel repenting. What really count though is what God thinks and how God sees and what God wants. So what does God do when He is preparing a leader for leadership?


The whole story of Samson’s birth is filled with divine initiative. Manoah’s wife is barren—had borne no child vs 2 for emphasis sake. Then the angel of the Lord appears and repeats the same thing vs 3—for emphasis—barren and no child. We are set up for a takeover. Twice we learn from Him that she will conceive and give birth to a son vs 3 & 5. He will be from the tribe of Dan and he will be a Nazarite to God—she cannot drink alcohol or eat anything ritually unclean and no razor can ever cut his hair v 4-5. He will begin to deliver Israel from these Philistines. From the womb God sets him apart but in Num 6:2-5 you could volunteer but not here. It was from his birth and to be life-long. But by his death Samson broke every part of this vow. He would deliver Israel form the Philistines. Samson started it, Saul continued it, and David finished it. The man behind all of this was Samuel born sometime after Samson was a young man. After Samson’s death, Samuel anointed Saul and then Later David. By the way, from conception and the womb is a strong argument for human life beginning at conception. So the entire Samson beginning and later conquests was God’s initiative. No one asked for it or governed it. God did the entire plan on His terms. Like all of us, Samson had no choice about his family or being a Nazarene from birth and not volunteering or his nationality or tribal connection. But he did choose how he responds to it and eventually he goes for a woman. We cannot choose our history and circumstances but we can choose how to respond to them. Our history, our heritage, our calling is a test to see where we will take what God has given to us. He has prepared that for us before we were ever conceived and birthed from the womb. It is God’s gift to you. He is our Patron, our benefactor, our Heavenly Father, and we steward the gift of life and opportunities that come along with it. Like Samson, he has also prepared you for the work He has for you. Take your life-take possession and fulfill your calling.


This honoring of God comes in at least two forms.

1. An interest in discovering the will of God and doing it vs 8 & 14. The woman tells her husband all about the visitation of the angel of God vs 6-7. Then Manoah prays asking God to teach them what to do for the boy when he is born 8. God listens to the prayer, sends the angel again, who repeats what was originally said and a caveat—let her observe all that I commanded vs 14. Our honoring of God means taking His concerns to heart and pleasing Him. It means that God’s will is always the focus so that He is not dishonored by how I use the gift He has given to me. That will is not only sought, it is done. You cannot honor God with your life, your leadership, you’re calling, and ignore His will and heart.

2. Recognizing God is our benefactor and making sacrifices for Him 16, 19, 23. Manoah sums up the heart of the issue when he asks for the angels name so that when his promise happens we may honor you vs 17. Manoah got the message that this was God v 22 who has promised and surely since they survived these things it will come to pass 23. Indeed it did vs 24. We honor God when we trust Him to do what He says. All that you have is from your sovereign God. Your gratitude is a form of honor toward our Patron in heaven. God’s prestige grows by means of our worship and sacrifice in His name. So the child grew up, and Lord blessed him, the spirit of the Lord began to stir him v 24-25. So we can conclude being blessed by God and being used by God does not equal being godly.

1. God has already prepared you for your future. What will you do with it?

2. Don’t cheat God our of the honor He must have by ignoring His will or safety.