In times of darkness, the movement of God is magnified. The darkest places are those in which light shines the brightest. When the Angel of the Lord appears to Manoah’s wife, He does so during a dark time in Israel’s history. Israel is experiencing the consequences of rebelling yet again. The people have turned away from God, and as a result have been handed over to be oppressed by the Philistines for 40 years. Also at this time, Manoah and his wife have been enduring a more personal struggle: they are a barren couple. Within these circumstances, God’s announcement for Israel radiates strongly as a beacon of hope to the people: Manoah and his wife will bear a son, Samson, who will begin salvation for Israel from the Philistines.
The darkness can be a scary place to be. But God is greater than the darkness. Even in the lowest lows that the Israelites bring themselves to, even in the barrenness of Manoah and his wife, God is gracious to give His hope fulfilled by the works of His Hands. In our lowest lows, we too can count on God, Who shines His perpetual glory. We can especially recall His greatest work, the finished work of Jesus at the Cross, which is sufficient to turn our despair into hope and our mourning into dancing. Through Jesus, God has brought us a salvation far greater than Samson brings. While Samson brings temporary relief, Jesus brings eternal restoration. God’s great work reminds us that His glory cannot be hidden in the darkness, only magnified.