Why do you ask my name?

Pastor Steve Ellison

Maybe you are not familiar with Manoah and his unnamed wife, but likely you are familiar with their son. Their story is told in Judges 13. Up to this point, they had no children, but the “Angel of the Lord” appeared to the wife telling her that they would indeed have a son and that he would be special in behavior and power. Though it is debatable, we have good reason to believe that this “Angel of the Lord” is none other than Jesus Christ. This “Angel of the Lord” gave several instructions for the wife and the yet to be born son. That son would turn out to be Samson, who was indeed very special. The woman related the experience to her husband, Manoah, who prayed that the Angel of the Lord would return with further instructions. God granted Manoah’s request and this time Manoah was allowed to see and hear from the Angel of the Lord, but Manoah still did not know exactly who this marvelous being was.

Judges 13:15-20 records a marvelous interchange, “Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, "Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you." 16 The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, "Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord." For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord. 17 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, "What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?" 18 But the angel of the Lord said to him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?" 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar.” (NASU) When the supernatural occurs be it special revelation or signs and wonders, we ought to inquire of the source. We need to properly identify the source. “Too wonderful to understand” or “incomprehensible” would also be very good ways to translate the last word of verse 18. The same Hebrew root word is used in the very familiar prophecy in Isaiah 9. The predicted Messiah is there described as wonderful.

Revelation 19 describes Christ as the Victorious Warrior coming in power and judgment. He is described in great splendor and might. Verse 12 says that He has a name written on Him that no one knows except Him. Later in this chapter, other names for Christ are revealed. He is called “Word of God”. “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” is written on His thigh and on His robe. The names given in the Bible to God the Father and God the Son serve to reveal God’s character and nature to us. It is important that we ask, as did Manoah, what His name is. As we discover those answers; or as those answers are revealed to us, we will come to know God better and better. Keep in mind that this side of heaven, we will not know Him perfectly or completely and perhaps not there either. Judges 13 and Revelation 19 remind us of that fact. I hope you are regularly reading His Word asking, “What is Your Name?” The answers will create an awe-inspiring respect and knowledge of God.

Pastor Steve Ellison is the director of the Ouachita Theological Training Institute in Mena, Ark.