A Barren Couple

The other day my six-year-old informed me that she was bored. She proceeded to tell me that life was too predictable and our daily routines were no longer exciting. She is the thinker in the family but also the reactionary one. It comes as no surprise that these feelings she was expressing were short-lived once her perspective was rightly informed. And yet, what she was saying out loud is how many of us might actually be feeling and living. Life can be mundane. The daily grind of our Christian life will feel routine at times. And in response, we begin feeling indifferent about the things of the Lord. Our spiritual disciplines should energize us but we feel nothing. Maybe “boredom” isn’t the right word for you. Perhaps you can relate to what might be called, “spiritual apathy.” In Judges chapter 13 we are introduced to Manoah and his wife, the parents of Sampson—the judge of Israel who is known for his brute strength, hot temper, and promiscuous lifestyle. And yet, as we’ll come to see, God once again uses flawed individuals to accomplish his wise and sovereign plan. It’s difficult to comprehend how people who have been recipients of God’s grace and faithful deliverance in the past can be so unresponsive, passive, and apathetic about their spiritual lives. For example, Judges 13 is unique in the sense that nowhere is it recorded that Israel “cried out” to the Lord or repented of their sin. What’s shocking is that Israel didn’t even want deliverance from the Philistine oppression. Sampson’s father ends up reflecting the nation’s spiritual condition in the way he responds to a visit by the angel of the Lord. Following the initial visitation where his wife received a message about Sampson’s birth and the requirements for how he must live, Manoah has to hear for himself. God graciously responds to Manoah’s request and sends the angel back. Upon meeting the angel, Manoah’s line of questioning reflects a lack of trust and a level of skepticism. He seems to be unwilling to believe what was announced during the first visit and how he requests the angel to reiterate everything told his wife. Like Gideon, Manoah requires a sign. But unlike Gideon, his attempt at hospitality is rebuffed (v16). The author of Judges even states that Manoah was unaware that “He was the angel of the Lord.” All this to say, spiritual lethargy or apathy produces doubt and promotes a self-centered outlook. We must heed the warning signs and avoid the pitfalls of apathy. Actively seek God’s deliverance from worldly influences that attempt to enslave you. Cultivate spiritual perception by rejecting skepticism and embracing the truth of God’s Word. And be quick to recognize God’s grace in your life as you renew your commitment to Him and your love for Him. —Pastor Nate

Sunday at Liberty

9AM: Haggai Resumes the Work–Ezra 5:1-5

10AM: Pastor Rory–A Barren Couple–Judges 13:1-9 (sermon notes)

11:45AM: Potluck

12:30PM: Church Family Meeting

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