15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.” 16 The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.)
17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?”
18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.
Things are not always what they appear to be. And this is so true in cases where God answers prayers in ways we don’t anticipate, expect, or have our own ideas of how the answer should come. We live in the physical world, subject to all of its laws and regulations, but as Christians, we also live in a spiritual world. The spiritual world also has its laws and regulations but they don’t always mimic the world we see and touch and taste.
God, in His infinite wisdom understands this and interacts with us in both, sometimes in the physical first so we can look to the spiritual. This was the case with Manoah. He wanted to see and talk to the “man of God” but didn’t know or recognize that the Lord had sent an angel. We often can’t see beyond the physical to interpret the spiritual. How do we overcome this? Practice in prayer, the Word of God, and spending time close to Him. We develop the need and desire to live in the spiritual more than the physical. Why? Because your physical world will end. Your spiritual world is eternal. Wouldn’t I want to be prepared for that life?
A faithful and devout man was drowning in the sea. He prayed earnestly to God that God would save him. A rowboat came by and he declined to get into it, saying “My God will save me”. He declined the life preserver offered saying “My God will save me”. When he finally succumbed to the water and was standing before the Lord, he asked “Why O God didn’t you answer my prayer?” The Lord replied “I sent you a boat and a life preserver; you refused my help.” Sometimes we miss the boat because we want to walk on water.
God in heaven, I want to know You in my spirit as well as in my body and soul. You are my God, who gives me life and hope. I put my faith in you despite of my surroundings. Keep me close to you and fill me with your presence. AMEN