What’s In a Name?
Searching for a True Savior: An Exposition of Judges

Gary Combs ·
May 7, 2023 · exposition · Judges 12:8 - 13 · Notes


What about your name? Does God know your name? We all love to be called by our names. It means that someone knows us. They recognize us. And yes, God knows your name. He knows you better than you know yourself. As we return to our study of Judges today, we’ll see that God not only knows us, but by His grace, He reveals Himself to us that we might know Him.

In Judges 12-13, the Lord sent His angel to reveal to a barren woman and her husband that she would conceive and bear a son who would begin to save Israel from the Philistines. We can learn much about God from the revelation He gave this couple.


Below is an automated transcript of this message

Good morning church. It’s good to be here with you this morning. Some of you are probably wondering why the pastor is trying to be more formal in his dress; he’s wearing a “cumberbund” today. I appreciate the prayers this week. I had an accident recently and injured my back. I went to the doctor and found out that I have broken a couple of vertebrae in my back. Some have asked me, ‘Why are you up here? Why are you preaching?’ It is because preaching is what I do; it is my calling. I’m not a lecturer. I’m not a teacher. I’m a called man of God that preaches. Preaching is my worship. Some have also said, ‘You’ve got a great preaching team. Why don’t you let them fill in for a few weeks?’ I said to them, ‘Look, I can’t do much right now, but I can still preach.’ I’m wearing this “man girdle” right now to keep my back straight, but I’m up here, because I’m here. The purpose of preaching is not just teaching, although it does include that. The purpose of preaching is to bring people’s hearts to a place of repentance where needed. I preach Christ and Him crucified. That’s why I am here today.

We are still going through the book of Judges. We love studying God’s Word together. Let me open in prayer – “Lord, thank You that we can be here. There are some that might not be able to be here today and I hope they’re watching online. We pray for them, as well. Lord, I pray for this service. I pray that we would have hearing ears to hear the word of God, that You would give my voice strength from You, that it would be You that speaks, Lord. I want to just be Your vessel today. Lord, we also give You thanks for the other churches that we collaborate with in our city. We’re thankful, this past Wednesday night, for the National Day of Prayer Gathering that we had with twelve other churches. Lord, I lift all those brothers and sisters up in the Lord that are preaching the gospel today. Lord, we’re happy to join them today. I do pray now for this word that we offer to You Lord as our worship and our praise.” In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

We’re continuing through this series, “Searching for a True Savior.” We’re going verse by verse through the book of Judges. We’re finishing up chapter 12 and 13 today. Today, we’ve entitled this message, “What’s in a Name?” That phrase was made famous by William Shakespeare’s play, “Romeo and Juliet.” In that play, Romeo and Juliet are lovers from two feuding families: the Montagues and the Capulets. Explaining that it was only their last names that stood in the way of their love, Juliet says to Romeo: “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” It’s just a name, but her parents disagreed and as you know, the story doesn’t go well.

The truth is, there’s a lot in a name. There’s very much value in a name. The Bible actually says, Proverbs 22:1 (ESV) “ A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.” Names are important.

We all have names. They were given to us, in most cases, by our parents at birth. We didn’t get to choose our names; they were given to us. Some parents are inspired to name their children from Bible characters. That’s what my wife and I felt inspired to do. Some parents give their children family names from other family members. Some parents are inspired to choose names from their favorite soap opera or sports hero. We have a lot of different reasons for naming our kids what we do, but names are important.

In the 50’s and 60’s, it apparently was very popular to name your sons, “Gary.” I was one of those children of that time period. I think, maybe the actor, Gary Cooper, might have been one of the inspirations. I was reading recently that the name, Gary, is vanishing. It’s disappearing. Parents are no longer naming their sons the name Gary. In the 50’s and 60’s, an average of 38,000 boy babies were named “Gary” every year. We proliferated the planet, but now, we’re a “vanishing species.” In 2013, only 450 boy babies were given the name, “Gary.” I might be one of the last remaining “Garys” that you’ll come to see.

The final judge we’ll read about today. In fact, we’re going to finish up the twelve named judges. There are no judges in the rest of the book of Judges. We will see the people of Israel becoming more and more like the world, declining more and more. God no longer even sends them saviors because they’re not asking for one.

Today, we’ll see the last three of what are called the “minor” judges. There are six “minor” judges and six “major” judges. We’ll see the last three of the “minor” judges and we’ll see the last one of the “major” judges. In fact, we’ll see these “non cyclical” judges. What that means is you don’t see the full cycle of sin, servitude, sorrow and salvation. We’ve been talking about that. That goes round and round in the book of judges. We have read about the three “non-cyclical” judges. We’ll be introducing the names of the final four judges today Three of them are non-cyclical judges: Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon and finally, the last of the twelve judges and probably the most well-known, Samson. But, none of these are really the main characters in today’s reading. There are three main characters, one of them is Samson’s father, Manoah, and the other two, well, we don’t know their names. One is only known as Manoah’s wife and Samson’s mother and the other, well, all we know is that His Name is too wonderful to be given. The Lord is mentioned nineteen times just in chapter 13, He is the most important person that we’ll hear about in the story today.

What about your name? What do you think? Does God know your name ? Does God know you by name? Does He know who you are? Let me tell you something–God knows you. Even more than that, He wants you to know Him.

There’s only one name given unto man that we might know the Lord; His name is Jesus. That’s the name given to us so that we might know the Lord. I think more than anything today, that’s what these chapters, chapter 12 and chapter 13, will point us to is a desire to know that Name and to know the Lord.

In Judges chapter 12 and 13, the Lord God sent an angel to a barren woman and told her that she was going to give birth to a son and that this son would begin to save Israel from the Philistines. As we look at this, I believe that God revealed Himself to her and to her husband. As we look at these revelations that God gave them, we’ll notice that there are three revelations of God that we can learn today that He gives to us.

Let’s look at the text. We’re going to read the whole thing today instead of breaking it into parts; it’s a shorter reading (I say shorter. We’ve gotten used to reading up to ninety verses.) It’s a lot shorter than that today.

Judges 12:8-13:25 (ESV) 12:8 After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9 He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he gave in marriage outside his clan, and thirty daughters he brought in from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried at Bethlehem. 11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun. 13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of HillelHillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

(Pastor Gary – commentary – We have these three final minor judges. They’re listed just like this. If you had all of their judgment periods, you would have 25 years total that they judged Israel. You’ll notice some discouraging features here: They’re a lot like Gideon. They seem to want to play with wealth. We see the description of how they gave their sons and daughters in ways that would be like how a king would do it, in order to support their power. Also, notice the number of sons and grandsons riding donkeys. That’s a lot of donkeys; seventy donkeys. Kings rode on donkeys in those days. So you can see, these men were living wealthy, prosperous lives, but you don’t see that they saved Israel. You never see that. You never see a word about the Lord in these final minor judges, but there was a period of rest. Now, we’re in chapter 13. This is the only judge, by the way, that has a miraculous birth story.) 13:1 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years. 2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”

(Pastor Gary – commentary – Now, I’ll pause there just for a second. If you want to learn more about the vow of the Nazirite, read Numbers, chapter six, which describes it. It had three features: If someone would take the vow of the Nazirite to separate themselves under the Lord, to make themselves holy unto the Lord so that they might hear a word from the Lord, They were to (1) abstain from drinking from the fruit of the vine or eating from the fruit of the vine. They were to (2) abstain from eating any unclean foods and they were to (3) abstain from being near a carcass or a dead body. It was a temporary vow, but here, this vow is given to Samson before he’s even born. He’s to live his whole life under the vow of the Nazirite. This is what he’s telling the woman here.)

6 Then the woman came and told her husband, “A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. I did not ask him where he was from, and he did not tell me his name, 7 but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’” 8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 11 And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what is his mission?” 13 And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.” 15 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “Please let us detain you and prepare a young goat for you.” 16 And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD.) 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” 18 And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” 24 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the LORD blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.


1. He is the God who sees us.

Do you ever ask God, “Do you see what I’m going through? Do you see what’s going on in my life right now? Are you aware of how I’m struggling, how I’m suffering, how I’m hurting, God. Do you see me? Are you seeing this?” Look at verse one of chapter 13. Notice what it says here, 13:1 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD Literally, in the Hebrew, it’s “in the eyes of the Lord.” The Lord’s eyes are always upon His people. He always sees us. He knows us. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

He saw Israel fall into sin. This is that repetitive pattern that we see throughout the book of Judges. It’s exhausting to see it, but it continues over and over again. They fall into sin. Their sin leads to servitude. Forty years of servitude is by far the longest period we have seen in the book of Judges; Israel served forty years now under the Philistines. So, we have sin; we have servitude, but do we have sorrow? Do we read where they are crying out to the Lord? You saw it, right. No, there’s no crying out to the Lord. There’s salvation, but there’s no crying out.

Apparently, what’s happened to the people of Israel during this forty year period is they’ve become so accustomed to living in the world. They have become so accustomed to living apart from God that they no longer even cry out. Yet, God saw them before they even cried out and prepared for them a savior.

This reminds me of the book of Romans where Paul says, Romans 5:8 (NIV) 8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Even before we cried out, even before we asked, even when we didn’t know to ask, He provided salvation.

We see here, a breakdown in the cycle, because of the forty years, we see that the people have become accustomed to being under oppression. They’ve become more and more like the world.

May I take note of something else? It says that they did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes. Another way that you might look at it is this – they didn’t really feel like they were doing evil in their own eyes . This is really the theme of the whole book of Judges. If you read Judges 17:6 and then repeat it again in Judges 21: 25, we have this repetitive phrase – “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

We couldn’t find a better description of the modern generation of our culture today– everyone does what is right in their own eyes. “You do you.” “Whatever is true to you.” We’ve given up on absolute truth. We’ve given up on a standard of right and wrong. We say, ‘Well, who’s going to pick the standard?’ ‘Is it your opinion or my opinion?’ ‘Is it something we vote on?’ ‘Does the majority decide what is right or wrong?’

May I say to you, that we don’t have to guess. The Bible says that there is something that’s right and something that’s wrong in the eyes of the Lord. He has given us the word of God to tell us the difference. We do have a standard of right and wrong. We don’t have to guess at it. The Lord is the One who sees. It’s not up to us to decide what is right or wrong. It’s up to us to submit to what the Lord says.

I don’t think the people of Israel were thinking, let’s see if we can do evil. I think they probably, in their own eyes, thought we’re doing the best that we can. Everybody else is doing it this way. They slipped and slithered down, down, down to this place where they’re not even looking to the Lord anymore.

They’re in a sad situation, but even in this situation, God sends word to this older couple, this barren couple and says, ‘I’m bringing you a son who will begin to save Israel. He is going to begin to save Israel from the Philistines.’

The word, “Philistine,” means “immigrant.” They were not around. If you read in the book of Genesis about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you don’t hear anything about the Philistines, probably because they weren’t there yet. They’re “late comers” to the Middle East.

Many archaeologists and others had a little trouble with that word, “Philistine,” today. They believe that they came from the Island of Crete and that they were seafaring people and they were, also, metal workers. They had more advanced technology, which made them a very difficult enemy.

If you look at a map, you can see that they mostly were on the coast in what today would be the Gaza Strip of Israel. They were seafarers who had five major cities here. If you look, (pointing to map) this is the tribe of Dan right here. They were right up against the Philistines. It puts them in a terrible situation. The tribe of Dan was the tribe that Noah, his wife and Samson were born to. They’re Danites. They’re under the thumb of the Philistines.

Israel will really be plagued by the Philistines all the way up through King David, when finally, the Lord gives the power to put them out of power.

We will see that Samson is called to begin to set them free, to save them from the Philistines. We’ve seen that forty years was by far the longest time of servitude. If you go back and look previously in the book of Judges, they were eight years under Cushan-rishathaim, eighteen years under Eglon, twenty years under Jabin, seven years under Midian and eighteen years under the Ammonites. This time, though, Israel never cries out. They never repent. God sends a savior, even while they remain in their sin.

God has allowed them to be in servitude when He makes known to this woman that she’s going to have a son. The word, “LORD,” is mentioned nineteen times. That’s the name most mentioned in chapter 13. When we say, “LORD,” here notice in the English translation that it’s in all caps. “LORD” is God’s covenant name, “Yahweh” or “Jehovah,” which means, “I am that I am.”

This is the name that God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I am Jehovah God.” We see that name, “LORD,” repeated over and over again.

This angel of the Lord never speaks like a normal angel. What I mean by a “normal angel,” the word means a “messenger.” He never speaks like a “normal angel,” who would say, ‘thus saith the Lord;’ ‘the Lord told me to come and tell you this. He never talks like this. He speaks in the “first person,” as if he is the Lord the whole time. Then, when he tells us, “my name is too wonderful to even tell you,” then we know it’s the Lord.

I believe that this is a “Christophany.” A “Christophany” is an appearance or non-physical manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament. I believe this is Christ Himself, bringing this word to the faithful woman who is barren. He comes and brings her this word. She runs to her husband. She says to him, ‘I’m going to get pregnant. I’m going to have a baby boy. This angel came and I know it had to be an angel because he looked awesome.’ She’s worried about two things that she forgot to ask about. She forgot to ask his name and where he’s from. She knew her husband would ask, ‘What was his name?’ and ‘Where was he from?’

Manoah knows he must pray to the Lord that God will send that man back around here. His wife didn’t get enough details. If you think about this woman, she’s unnamed but her faith stands out. She doesn’t doubt; she believes. She never says to him, ‘What’s the proof?’ ‘What’s the sign?’ She just believes and runs to her husband and says, ’Here’s what a man God said…’ She forgot some details, but now her husband wants the man to come back around. He wants to hear the details.

Notice this in the book of Genesis, chapter 16; there was a servant girl named Hagar. She was the servant of Sarah, the wife of Abraham. Sarah and Abraham came up with this idea that they were going to help God with the son that He had promised them, so Sarah said to Abraham, ‘Why don’t you lay with my servant girl, Hagar? You’ll have a son that way.’ Hagar got pregnant and then Sarah began to mistreat her and so she escaped. She ran away and was hiding from Abraham and Sarah. God called her name as she was hiding. It says this in Genesis, chapter 16, Genesis 16:13 (ESV) “So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”which in Hebrew is [El Roi] for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”

If, at any time, you see the prefix or the suffix “El” in a name, it means God. It’s short for “Elohim.” It means God. Here, “El Roi” means “to see.” She named God; she says, ‘You’re, El Roi, the God of seeing.’ She says, “Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me.”God tells her to go back and He is going to bless her and so, she goes back to her master. She goes back and gives birth to Ishmael. So, we see that it was revealed to her one of God’s names– “El Roi.” He’s the God who sees.

I don’t know if you’re worried that God sees what you’re going through today, how you’re struggling or what you’re working on. God, do you see this? Do you see this? He sees. His name is “El Roi.” In Proverbs 15:3 (NIV), it says, “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

When He goes to Manoah’s wife, He knows her. He sees her. He sees that she is barren and childless, but she is about to conceive and have a son and he’s going to begin to save all of Israel. You see, He saw her. He knew her deepest need.

To be barren in that day and time for a Jewish woman was considered a curse. Her purpose in life was to be married, to have children and to pass on the name to the next generation. Even more than that, every little Jewish girl dreamed that she would be the one who would give birth to the Messiah, because the Messiah was promised to Israel. Maybe, even here, she’s thinking, Oh, the Savior is being born to me. What a gift is being given to her.

God sees you. I’m the oldest of four children. When I was eight years old, my father died. He had cancer. He was only 39 years old when the Lord took him. I remember when people would ask me, “Are you a daddy’s boy or a mama’s boy?” Well, I was a daddy’s boy. My daddy was my buddy. He was my friend. He was my hero. All of a sudden, he wasn’t in my life anymore. I used to pray to God “little boy” prayers, “God, can my daddy see me?” “Can he see me?” I would have questions that only He could answer. I needed advice. I needed a father. Over time, I stopped praying, “Can my daddy see me?” as I grew an understanding of the Lord and as the Lord gave me deeper wisdom and understanding of Himself and revealed more of Himself to me. I stopped asking, “Can my daddy see me?” I then began to ask, “Father, are You watching this?” “Can You see me?” His answer to me has been throughout my life– I see you. I can see you. I know what you’re going through and I’m here. I’ll never leave you nor forsake you. That’s better than any earthly father can ever be. He is the God who always sees you.


2. He is the God who hears us.

Look at verse eight of chapter 13. We see this, 8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” Then, in verse nine it says, 9 “And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband, was not with her.” Do you see that right there? “And God listened.” He listened to what? To the voice of Manoah. He knew Manoah’s voice. He heard Manoah’s prayer that he said . He asked the Lord if they could get another visit; my wife forgot to ask your name and where you were from.

There’s some other details I had in mind. I feel like Manoah was one of those “Type A’s.” He needed more details. What do we do next? He didn’t say he doubted that the child would be born. It’s not a prayer of doubt. It’s a prayer of needing more answers, needing more detail. The Lord heard him; the Lord listened to him.

Some translations say, “He hearkened to the voice.” He didn’t just hear it and let it “go in one ear and out the other.” He heard his voice.

He knows your voice. He knows you. He hears you when you pray. Dear Christian, don’t stop asking. Don’t stop seeking. He’s listening. He hears you.

Manoah prayed a good prayer. It’s a good “father prayer” and a good “mother prayer.” He prayed, ‘Lord, come back around here and teach us the manner and mission that we’re supposed to follow for this boy.’ That’s a good prayer. A lot of us have kids. Sometimes, we wish our kids would have come with an owner’s manual. Manoah’s prayer is good. He’s praying this before they even get the child. Manoah is going to find out that this kid’s a handful, but he’s praying, ‘God come and help.’ God does; God hears.

1 Peter 3:12 (ESV) “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” The Lord’s ears are open. He’s listening.

There’s a story in the Bible, in 1 Samuel, talking about another barren woman. Her name was Hannah. Hannah was barren and she was praying to the Lord. She was crying out to the Lord and the Lord heard her prayer. He gave her a son and his name was Samuel. It reads like this, 1 Samuel 1:20 (ESV) And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord.” Now, that name, “Samuel,” what did I tell you about a name that has “el” in it? That means that God is in that name. The first part of the name of Samuel is “Shema” in Hebrew. It’s not Samuel, it’s “Shema-El” in Hebrew. “Shema,” in Hebrew, means “to hear.” That name means “God hears.” “God hears.” I have a grandson named Samuel; his name means, “God hears.” She named her son after what God taught Israel to pray and to declare. Three times a day in the temple, they would cry out and pray. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one God, Ishmael.” He is the God who hears us. God is listening.

Samuel is really the last judge of the period of the Judges. Samson is the last one mentioned in the book of Judges. Then the rest of the book of Judges is just a mess. We’re going to keep going. We’re not going to give up. We’re going to keep learning from the book of Judges.

The people of Israel keep getting in a worse condition. We don’t find another judge arising to help Israel until we get to the book of 1 Samuel. Samuel really is the last judge, if you think about it, from the period of the judges.

Do you ever wonder whether God’s hearing you today? Do you wonder, does God hear me? Does He hear my prayer? God, do You see me? Do You hear me? Here’s your answer: He sees you. He hears you. He knows that you don’t stop praying. Keep asking. He is the God who hears.


3. He is the God who answers us.

He is the God who answers us. Manoah was actually left with many unanswered questions. He asked a bunch of questions, but he didn’t get all the answers that he was looking for. He, also, got some answers to questions that he didn’t really ask, but that’s the way God is. He doesn’t answer every question we ask Him. He, especially, doesn’t answer “why” questions.

I have people come to me all the time, “Pastor, why is this?” Why is that?” He doesn’t answer “why” questions. He is God and I’m not; we are not. He has His own counsel. He doesn’t call me up and ask, ‘Pastor Gary, what do you think I should do about this?’ He’s never done that, but He gives me instructions and tells me what to do. I’ve never had Him ask me what I thought He should do. He keeps His own counsel.

We see here, that the Lord answers , but not quite the way Manoah wanted. Manoah wants to know the man’s name. He is the one giving us all of this great news. He is the one who told my wife, but we don’t even know your name. Then we see in verse 18, And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”

Wonderful. Is that your name? The word, “wonderful,” in Hebrew, could have been translated, “secret seeing.” It is incomprehensible seeing that it is extraordinary and remarkable. But, why is Manoah even asking his name? You see, at this point, he knows that Manoah doesn’t even recognize him. He doesn’t know that he’s the angel of the Lord. He doesn’t know who He is. He’s thinking, If could get his name, maybe I will somehow have more control over the situation. Where are you from? Can I get your resume? God says, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”

He gave the same name in revelation to a prophet named Isaiah. He said, Isaiah 9:6 (ESV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The name, “Wonderful,” is one of his names. He doesn’t recognize that this is God; this is the pre-incarnate Christ talking to him. He doesn’t even recognize who He was. His name is Wonderful. It’s beyond Manoah, but the Lord is going to answer him. He’s not going to answer him the way Manoah wanted. He gives him a revelation. He gives him more revelation of Himself.

Here’s what happens. Manoah says to him, ‘Well, just at least stick around. Let’s cook you something. Let’s have a goat barbecue and we’ll feed you.’ He tells them that they can cook it, but he’s not going to eat it. If they cook it, offer it as an offering to Yahweh; offer it to the Lord. Make an offering. So, Manoah and his wife cook up a meal. They cook up some bread and cook up a young goat. The angel points at a rock. Manoah builds a fire and he offers it on a rock; the rock becomes an altar. The flames and the smoke are coming up. It says it twice in the scripture that the man and his wife were watching; they were watching.

Then, the angel does something completely unexpected. I’ve seen some great exits in my time, but this is one of the most impressive, the angel steps into that fire and stands in the flame. Manoah and his wife were watching; remember, Manoah just asked, “What’s your name?” He is his answer. That’s who I am; I am God. When Noah and his wife saw this, they hit the ground and were laying on their faces in the dirt because that’s the only right response to such a revelation. “My name is wonderful.” Manoah spits out some dirt, turns to his wife and says, ‘I think we’re going to die because we’ve just seen God.’ It actually says, in the books of Moses, that no one can live who has seen God. Manoah thinks they are going to die.

Then his wife, who has been a picture of faith throughout this whole story, has already thought this through. Verse 23, But his wifesaid to him, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.” He has already told your wife, Manoah; just listen to her. That’s a good word to the husbands. Sometimes, God wants to speak to you through your wife. Just listen to her; He has told her the instructions.

Remember the scripture where it says that she was sitting out in the field? Manoah was praying in verse 8,Then Manoah prayed to the LORD and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” Maybe, he had “fussed” at his wife – ‘I wish you had gotten the man’s name. At least, you should have gotten his address.’ So, she’s sitting out in the field now. She’s not out there working. She’s not out there gathering. She’s just sitting in a field. Why is she sitting out in the field? I think she’s sitting in the very place where the angel of the Lord had come through the first time. Her husband’s in there praying and she’s out there sitting in the same place,watching . She is going to be right there. He comes back to that same place. When he arrives, she takes off running, thinking, I’m not going to make the same mistake this time. She brings her husband out there. This is one of those places where I thought we were going to see her name.

Verse 11, And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” I thought, surely he will introduce his wife and get the guy’s name. Do you ever have a situation where you can’t remember somebody’s name? You’re supposed to know because you’ve already asked five times. Now, you feel embarrassed to ask again, so you try to introduce them to somebody else and you say, ‘This is my friend John,” and you hope they’ll say their name to John, but they just say “hello” and you are still in the stuck in the same spot. Manoah does to all of us right here; he says, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” So, we still don’t know her name. Verse 11 continues, And he said, “I am.” He said what? “I am.” That’s what he said. Is He the one I am? ‘I am Jehovah. I am Yahweh. I am. ‘

This whole chapter is to get us ready for Samson. Samson is going to live up to his potential. This miraculous angel announced to a faithful woman that her baby will be born with the Spirit of God stirring in Him. He’s going to live up to his potential. Is he going to be the savior we’ve been looking for? No. Why is this story here? Why is this miraculous birth story interrupting all of this ugliness in the book of Judges right here, in the midst of their suffering and sorrow, right in the midst of their forty years of servitude? Why is this story here? It’s to prepare them for the ultimate salvation. It all points to Jesus , Who will be announced by an angel to a woman, a virgin, whose womb will be open to give birth to a son who, like the unnamed woman here, is faithful. She says, “May it be unto me as you have said.” She doesn’t doubt. She believes. This unnamed woman is named in the book of Matthew. She’s named in the book of Luke. Her name is Mary. We don’t know the name of Manoah’s wife, but we know why this story is here. It’s here to reveal to us what Jesus will look like, how He will be born and how He will grow up.

Verses 24 and 25, “And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the LORD blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.”

These verses sound like Luke 2:52, describing the Lord Jesus who grew in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and men. It has that same similar language. This is in this book to prepare the people of God to recognize the true Name, the wonderful Name, the name Jesus when he comes, because there’s no other name given unto men by which we may be saved. His name is Jesus. He’s the answer. It’s not the question that Manoah was asking. Jesus is a better answer.

Does He see you? Yes. Does He hear you? Yes. Has He answered already? Yes. His name is Jesus. He’s the ultimate answer.

It says in Psalm 91:15 (NKJV) “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.”

Jesus teaches us in John 14:13-14 (ESV) 13 “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

The faithful wife and her husband were laying on their faces. ‘We’re gonna die; we’ve seen God.’ She had been thinking about this – He came to see me first and then I was waiting for Him in the field and He came again. All He had was good things to say to me. Even so, He accepted our offering. That was the Lord. He arose within the worship that we offered. He accepted our offering. I don’t think we’re going to die. If the Lord meant to kill us, He would not have accepted that burnt offering and grain offering. He wouldn’t have told us all this. He wouldn’t have said all or this if it didn’t mean good for us. If it didn’t mean salvation for us. If it didn’t mean life for us, but it’s a good word from an unnamed woman. Praise the Lord for her and praise the Lord for God’s Word. He sees us. He hears us. He answers us.

When I was younger, I would sing this song: “Jesus is the answer, for the world today. Above Him, there’s no other. Jesus is the way. Jesus is the answer, for the world today. Above Him, there’s no other. Jesus is the way.” Lord, we offer this sermon to You as our worship today; we offer our ears to You as those who have heard it as our worship today.

Let us pray and respond. Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your word. We thank You that You see us, You hear us and You answer us. Lord, I pray for that person, first of all, that may be here today and they came in far from God. They came in, not even asking, but you’re speaking to them anyway. Is that you, my friend? Right now, would you give your life to Jesus? Would you make a decision right now, to receive Him as your Lord and Savior? You can do it right in your seat. Prayer is just an expression of faith. You can pray like this, pray with me, “Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. I believe that You hear me right now. I believe that You died on the cross for me, that You’ve been raised from the grave and that You live today. Come and live in me. Forgive me of my sin and make me a Christ follower. I want to follow You, now, as my Lord and Savior.” If you’re praying that prayer, expressing your faith in Jesus, His name is the answer. What’s in a name? Everything’s in a name; in that name, the name of Jesus. Would you call on Him today? Others are here today and you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You’re right with the Father through Him, but you’ve been hurting. You’re going through a season of pain or maybe you’re going through a season of questions. You don’t know why. Maybe, there’s something else going on. Would you, just now, come to the Lord and say, “Lord, I’ve been questioning You and asking, ‘Do You even see me right now? Do You even hear me?’” Some of you’ve been praying for something so long that you’ve given up and you’ve stopped praying? Would you just confess it right now and say, “Lord, I’m going to stop doubting whether You see me or Whether you hear me. Lord, I believe that You see me and hear me. Lord, I trust you. Lord. I’m going to keep asking because I believe that You will give an answer.” Lord, we confess all this to You, now, as your people. In Jesus’ name, amen.