Parental Limits - One Year Devotions for Men - August 23

“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 13:5

Women in developed countries who become pregnant know that the health and well-being of their unborn children is directly related to the care they take with their own diets and lifestyles. In fact, expectant mothers can be charged with serious offenses if they jeopardize the well-being of their unborn child.

In Old Testament days, this kind of information about diet and lifestyle was not readily available. However, there were situations in which expectant mothers were told to take special precautions in their diet because of the special nature of their child.

Such was the case for the wife of “Manoah from the tribe of Dan” (Judges 13:2). She had been unable to bear a child. Then she was visited by an angelic messenger, who not only gave her the good news of her impending pregnancy but also announced that her son would be a Nazirite, a man dedicated to the Lord for special service. Manoah’s wife was instructed, “You must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink or eat any forbidden food” (13:4). As an evidence of his special status and responsibilities, her son would never be allowed to have those things, and it had to start while he was in the womb. In addition, his hair was never to be cut. As a result, he would readily be identified as a man dedicated to God. Manoah and his wife duly carried out their instructions and the boy, Samson, was born. No doubt he was told about the unique circumstances of his birth and his privileges and responsibilities as a Nazirite.

The day would come, of course, when the young man would develop a mind of his own, and the ability of his parents to control him would be limited. He would begin making his own decisions. If he chose to shave his head and take to alcoholic beverages, there would be little that they could do about it.

Godly parents in all generations have been faced with similar issues. In good faith they dedicate their children to the Lord (though they rarely encourage the unrestrained growth of hair!), and they earnestly set about the task of raising their children in the knowledge and acknowledgment of the Lord. And so they should. But there comes a time when their role is limited and the responsibility shifts to the young person. At this point, great care is called for. Authoritative statements will rarely produce positive results, and a parent’s frustration at the young person’s failure to live up to expectations will rarely turn things around. But consistent example and winsome concern, coupled with prevailing prayer, work wonders. That’s because you can’t manufacture dedicated servants. But you can help grow them!

For Further Study: Judges 13:1-14 

Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.

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