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Heavenly Announcement part 1 of 6

Updated: Jan 20

A few years ago, I shared the following on my Facebook page. It was titled “How to Keep a Relationship”, and was geared toward the relationship of husband and wife, but I looked at it as any relationship; friends, family, any.


“Communicate: Talk about things, the good and the bad. Build trusts. Be honest. Be faithful. Be there for one another. Make time for one another. Leave the past in the past. Know that having arguments is normal. Know that you won’t always be happy. Don’t expect change. Appreciate the flaws. Appreciate each other. Become best friends. Lastly, love each other unconditionally.”


That last line is harder said than done. Do we love unconditionally? Not usually. In fact, everybody has a line. You know that line. The line, that when crossed, leads to breaks in trust.


Definition of Cross the Line: of an action, to cross some threshold into unacceptable or inappropriate behavior.


Have we ever crossed the line with God? That answer, obviously, is time and time again.


The people of Noah’s day were blatantly crossing the line with the Almighty God.


Moses crossed the line. In fact, his story should be a warning to us that God is no respecter of persons, and Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.


The Bible is filled with stories of humans crossing the line with God.


When we cross the line with God, how does that effect our relationship with Him? I know from experience I often run and hide. I often have feelings of Him loving me less or He is terribly ashamed of me, disappointed, at the least He certainly is not proud of me.


How does our crossing that line affect His relationship with us? It doesn’t. He is still our friend. He is still our Abba. He is not the one that walked away.


But we have all these stories in the Bible of heartbreaking examples of what happens when you cross God! Yes, and there will always be consequences for actions, but that does not mean that God no longer loves you. In fact, our Heavenly Father considers you a friend. And even more to the point, Jesus Christ on the cross, gave mankind a fresh start.


“…anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins…” 2 Corinthians 5:16-20 The Message


What do we do with that fresh start?


“God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-20 The Message


Yes, we crossed the line, but Jesus bridged the gap.


God can take our misjudgments, our blatant, in-your-face- disobedience. He can take our mistakes and make something beautiful, worthwhile, or necessary out of them. Let’s look at just one example.


If I asked you to tell me the common thread between these two announcements, what would your answer be?


The birth announcement of Jesus.

The birth announcement of John the Baptist.


Is your answer that they both had the unique experience of having an angel announce their birth before they were born?


Yes!


But did you know that happened two other times in the Bible?


Let’s look a certain man by the name of Manoah.


Manoah and his wife had no children, but then one day, “…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…and he shall begin to save Israel…” Judges 13:2-5 ESV


Who is this baby?

We are told that she went to her husband and said, “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, 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.’” Judges 13:6-7 ESV


As I was writing about this today, it occurred to me, here is another nameless woman in the Bible. We do not know her name. We know her husband’s name: Manoah. We know the baby’s name. But we do not know her name.


The story goes on to say that “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.” 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. So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” 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.” And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child's manner of life, and what is his mission?” And the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. 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.” Judges 13:8-14 ESV


The angel never appeared again to Manoah and his wife. But they both understood what had happened. A messenger from heaven had visited, not once, but twice, with some very good news.


This chapter ends by telling us that the woman bore a son and called him Samson and he grew, and the Lord blessed him.


This story, which we will look at in more detail next week, will show us how Samson is a type of Christ, from how his birth was announced, to his death; and, how even though he strayed far from God’s plan for him, he was able to reconcile before his death.


“…God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 NKJV


by Jeanette Stark – Friday, January 13, 2023

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