What is to Be the Rule?

By Pastor Teck Uy

When we pray and receive a word from the Lord as an answer to our prayers, we should receive it with certainty—that God will surely fulfill his word. We should never negate what the Lord has said by our own words. Therefore, when we ask for a blessing and the Lord responds with a promise, we should gladly receive it and say, “When I receive your promise, what should I do with it?” We should not use the word “if,” since it is tainted with uncertainty. When God answers or gives a promise, it is not a matter of whether it will happen or not; rather it is a matter of when it will happen. We should have full faith in the ability of the Lord to make things happen just as he says. We should not be like the man who came to Jesus one day and imputed doubt in the Lord’s ability to heal his son. He said, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus quickly rebuked him, saying, “If you can? Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:22-23). Manoah, the father of Samson, demonstrated this unwavering faith when, in response to the promise of a son, he said, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy’s life and work?” (Judges 13:12).

However, it is one thing to believe that God is able to answer prayers, and it is another thing to have the wisdom to manage whatever the Lord will bestow as a blessing. Indeed, many are good at asking for blessings from God, but they are not actually good at managing such blessings when they eventually come. As a result, their blessings vanish as quickly as they have come. Therefore, it is but prudent to ask God to also give us wisdom to manage whatever blessings he will give. In the case of Manoah, he asked for the rule that will govern the life and work of the son that he will receive. It is not easy to raise children, especially if they are to live godly lives. The sinful nature will always come to oppress the children and many of them cannot resist the temptation to sin. It was good for Manoah to ask for guidance, but subsequent events show us that he failed in his role as a father. The trouble started when Samson said to his father, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife” (Judges 14:2).

While Samson did right by asking his father to get him a wife, his defiance of his father’s good advice not to go to the uncircumcised Philistines to get a wife proved fatal in the end. He thought he knew better and insisted, “Get her for me. She’s the right one for me” (Judges 14:3). Manoah appeared to be helpless in dealing with his son’s tantrum and gave in to his son’s demand. He did not stand pat in his conviction that it was not right for his son to marry a Philistine. Needless to say, this started the ruination of Samson’s life. He was not able to consummate his marriage, since the woman he married was given to the friend who had attended his wedding. He eventually ended up in the lap of a prostitute named Delilah.

Parents, especially fathers, play an important role in the protection and success of their children. They are the first line of defense. If the parents give way, the children will face an avalanche of trouble. Many parents are easily swayed by their children’s tantrums. To them, giving in is an act of love and compassion. They give in and just hope for the best. They are oblivious to the fact their lack of resolve is harmful to their children. If they truly love their children, they have to act decisively, even if it hurts. It is only then that children will learn obedience. Parents should make their children know of their decidedness and that their children should not test their resolve. Even God himself was firm in his decision concerning Moses. While Moses kept pleading that he be allowed to cross the Jordan and see the Promised Land, God said, “That is enough…do not speak to me anymore about this matter” (Deut. 3:26).  

We should learn to say “no” to our children when we know that it is not good for them. Let us not allow any of them to be spoiled because of our permissiveness. Indeed, we are living in a society where wickedness is unabated because of the many compromises happening in the government, at home and even in the church. We now have to relearn how to be firm in our conviction and not to be politically correct all the time. It is high time to go back to God and ask for wisdom on how we can live our lives. When we ask for blessings, we should also ask how we can fully enjoy the blessings. We should be like Manoah, asking God how we should manage the blessings when we receive them. However, we should not follow in his example of indecisiveness, lest we and our children will suffer the consequence. Hallelujah!