You may be one of those people to whom interesting things keep happening. I hope you’re always saying things like, “You won’t believe what happened to me today!” or “Guess who I ran into yesterday.” Friends sometimes ask you, “How did you get that interview?” Or, they exclaim, “I can’t believe that you found one of those!” Your response is usually, “Well, let me tell you what happened. There I was just walking along, when all of a sudden…”
On the other hand, you might be another kind of person. In the quiet of the night, you find yourself asking, “How come nothing lucky ever happens to me?” This type of individual goes through life mostly as a spectator, watching from the sidelines as others drink fully from the well of life. He certainly never meets an angel. In fact, he might not recognize one if he saw one. Well, here’s good news: we’re going to explore some ancient Jewish wisdom on how passive people can transform themselves into participant people.
Chapter 13 of Judges describes a man named Manoach (‘ch’ as in Johann Sebastian Bach, the great German 18th century composer) and his wife, who were unable to have children. An angel appeared to her saying that although she was barren, she would conceive and bear a son. Therefore, he explained, she was to drink no alcohol and eat nothing unkosher. Furthermore, these rules would also apply to her son who would be a Nazirite for God. Additionally he should never cut his hair because his destiny was to save Israel from the Philistines.
Manoach’s wife told the remarkable story to her husband, referring to the angel as a “man-of-God.” She also omitted the part about their son saving Israel from the Philistines. Instead of sweeping his wife into an embrace at the wonderful news, Manoach prays to God asking Him to send back the man-of-God to teach them what to do with their future son. (Judges 13:8)
We can almost see Mrs. Manoach rolling her eyes as she thinks to herself, “We already know; the angel told me what to do and I just told you.”
Yet, God did send the angel back for a second visit. However, once again he appeared only to Mrs. Manoach. She ran to find her husband and he hurried after her to where the angel was. Clearly, Manoach had no idea this was an angel because he asks, “Are you the man who spoke to the woman?” (Judges 13:11) We are struck by Manoach’s detachment from his wife. Not only is he never near her when the angel appears but he refers to his wife as “the woman.”
Manoach addresses the angel, of whose true identity he is utterly oblivious, saying, “May your words come to pass, and if they do, how should we raise the child?” I am sure that the angel rolled his eyes as he wearily said to Manoach, “I’ve already told her everything she should do, but okay, I’ll repeat it for you.” Manoach then offered the angel some lunch but the angel demurred and the verse plaintively informs us, “…Manoach did not know that this was an angel of the Lord.” (Judges 13:16)
Only when the angel leaps into a flame and ascends heavenwards, does it dawn on Manoach that this must have been an angel. Rather than rejoicing, he tells his wife that having seen an angel of God they were about to die. She dismisses her husband’s foolish fears assuring him that if God wanted to kill them it would have happened already.
Deep study of Scripture depends upon many aspects of the Lord’s language—Hebrew. Most notably we must always be aware of what people’s names mean.
In Hebrew, Manoach means resting, taking it easy, putting out no effort or energy; in other words—passive. What a perfect description for the man whose wife, rather than he, always saw the angel.
Scripture provides three tips to help us avoid becoming a Manoach.
1. As a boy I watched many of the 1966 World Cup soccer games. I have never forgotten players like Pele of Brazil and Eusebio of Portugal. I remember being astounded at how they were always exactly where the ball was going to arrive. They were always at the heart of the action. Manoach was always AWOL. Be where the action is.
2. Manoach didn’t respect his wife, referring to her as ‘the woman’ and distrusting her by asking for the message to come to him directly. Clearly, she didn’t feel comfortable sharing with him that it was an angel and that their son would save Israel from the Philistines. If you don’t respect people, they won’t feel comfortable sharing information that could bring you into the game.
3. Cultivate courage. Don’t react to the angels in your life with fear. God is not trying to kill you. He’s trying to get you to live. Fully!
In few areas is this more helpful advice than in the area of making money. Generating significant revenue requires one to be in the heart of the game, respecting all, and being courageous. The Bible contains many more spiritual success strategies for financial abundance. I have packed forty of them into my brand-new book Business Secrets from the Bible which is helping thousands of my friends move themselves and their families forward into a new economic reality. It will do the same for you and for those to whom you present it.