How The Dream Becomes Reality
I already feel concerned about the potential fallout from this note (anytime you bring up sex it can be challenging to say the least); therefore, I’m just going to jump right in. I find it interesting that this chapter uses the phrase, “you shall conceive and give birth,” at least 3 separate times in the space of just a few verses. On the surface that doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Basic human sexuality and anatomy, right? If you know anything about the process, you understand that conception is a necessary prerequisite to birth. In other words, we are not born except we have first been conceived. And as a necessary part of that equation the act of conception generally involves a sexual union between two people. (If you have any questions, ask your parents. That’s as far as I’m going with the subject.)
So, then why the emphasis on conceiving? I think God wanted to remind each of us of a very important spiritual principle. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians, “the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” I think that reality holds especially true in the realm of conception and birthing. That is to say, nothing can be birthed in the spiritual realm unless it is first conceived. Conception comes first. Then, comes birth.
Manoah’s wife had a need. A real need. A desperate need. She was barren. She had never given birth to a child. In the midst of her pain she is greeted by an angel of the Lord who tells her that although she is barren she will conceive and give birth. So, what do you think happened next? Think sexuality and anatomy for just a minute. That’s right. She and her husband joined together in the marital act. They made love (i.e. they had sex). Just like they had countless times before. They did the exact same thing they had done since their honeymoon night. Nothing different. Nothing out of the ordinary. They engaged in the same act they had unsuccessfully embraced so many times over the years. The only real difference this time was the result. This time Manoah’s wife conceived.
We all have godly hopes, aspirations, desires, and longings. Like the wife of Manoah we have probably spent hours praying, searching the scriptures, fasting, pouring ourselves into the fulfillment of our greatest needs and grandest dreams. And just like Manoah’s wife we have probably reached the place where it all begins to feel a little routine. Let’s be honest. Days become weeks, weeks become years, years become decades and that thing which you so desperately seek and hope for still remains unfulfilled. Worship moves from spontaneity to something more like ritual. Prayer starts to lose its vibrancy. The Word becomes just another thing we do from some misplaced sense of obligation. Our intimacy with the Lord begins to diminish until we reach the point where we just feel like we are going through the motions. Consequently, nothing ever gets birthed into our lives.
Birth requires conception. It’s true in the natural. And it’s equally true in the spiritual. Manaoh and his wife had to resume their act of intimacy (i.e. sex) before God’s promise would could to pass in their lives. That same principle often holds true for each of us as well. Too often we allow intimacy with the Lord to become an impersonal act. Over time we lose the fire of our first love. The disciplines that once brought great joy become neglected if not altogether ignored. Prayer is abandoned. The Word is forgotten. Worship is forsaken. Fellowship passed over for other things. Bottom line? We stop being intimate with our God.
The result? No conception. No birth. The joy we were hoping for? The love we were so desperately seeking? All of our prayers and divine expectations? They are never born into personal reality because they were never conceived in intimate union with our heavenly Father. Our spiritual lives remain barren, void of peace, power and prosperity. Our spiritual womb never brings forth any real, lasting fruit. Sometimes the best thing you can do in life is to keep doing the thing you were doing. Not always. But sometimes. If you have grown tired of the barren womb, let me encourage you to keep praying. Keep reading your Bible. Keep pursuing intimacy with God. God is going to birth some answers to prayer into your life. But first there has to be conception. And that takes intimacy. Manoah and his wife were willing to give it one more try because God had made a promise. Their trust would not be disappointed. And neither will ours. Don’t give up. Let God conceive something new within you. Let Him birth something through you.