A Burnt Offering

Jonathan Brownson

READ : Judges 13:1-16

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.” (v. 16 NIV)

I used to like to burn things. I was curious about what kind of flame different
materials might generate. I would sort through the trash and “pick my poison” of paper or
plastics. My pyromaniac pursuits ended when I tried to burn a golf ball cover. The hot
molten mix dropped onto my thigh and scalded my skin. I still have the scar.

Manoah, father of Samson and faithful pray-er, burns things too. He takes a young goat
and some grain and torches them on a rock. A strange messenger from God (we will talk
about him more tomorrow) tells Manoah to offer his sacrifice “to the Lord.” Manoah burns
something not for fun but for God; his flames are an act of worship.

Manoah’s sacrifice paints a word picture. The picture suggests what God most wants: not
just our possessions, but ourselves and our obedience. “Present your body as a living
sacrifice,” urged Paul (Rom. 12:1-2). God sees in us a purity that will shine once the
dross of our sin is removed. His fire, as in the burning bush, is not meant to consume us.
His passion is not to burn us out but to fire us up.


Lord, I offer up to you my life as an act of worship. Burn away what displeases

you and purify what honors you.