This summer I’ve been tracking here some of the things we’ve been learning in our summer Bible study on Gideon. Priscilla Shirer, the author of the study, suggested using social media and the hashtag #lessonsfromGideon to do this. My “Lessons from Gideon” #1 and #2 are here and here.
At the end of the “Lessons from Gideon #1” after offering 6 lessons at the midway point of our study, it seemed like I should close that entry with some kind of concluding point, which as I thought about it was this: “7. God seems to be patient with Gideon as he makes him the mighty warrior that He called him to be.”
In fact, though I didn’t know it then, the patience of God was the theme for the next video session and the start of our Week 4 lessons. We discussed it last night.
One friend pointed out how amazing it was that the angel of the LORD would wait for Gideon while Gideon went to prepare his offering.
We saw how God was patient with Gideon as he questioned the angel of the LORD, then as he laid out his fleece twice, and as God Himself offered for Gideon to go down to the enemy camp to receive encouragement and confirmation before the battle. God is a God of patience.
That God should wait for us! How incredible is this?! If we have the notion of a God who is removed or uncaring, we need to think again. He is patient toward us to draw us to Himself, to salvation.
As I reflected more on this, it reminded me of this post on “The Patience of God” from Christmas 2013.
One other highlight from last night’s study: As we looked at Gideon’s assistant Purah who went with him into the enemy camp — perhaps so that if Gideon were to forget what he heard, Purah could remind him and help strengthen Gideon — we talked about our own friendships like Purah and how we can encourage one another and help hold each other accountable in various ways as we pursue God’s call.
At the end of the study, it seemed like we were all offering encouragement to one another, not necessarily completely intentionally, but as an overflow from our discussion. How beautiful it was to speak words of encouragement to friends, to come alongside them in their journey and say, “I see God in you through _____” or “I love the way God uses you to _____” etc. and to hear it back, “You are gifted in _______” etc.
One woman said something to me that I had never thought about in quite that way, though when she said it, I could remember immediately something even from childhood that evidenced it was true. But I’d never seen it as a gift, and in fact, recently had begun to diminish the whole idea of using it. To have it re-identified as a gift and consider how God might use it was something unexpected, but that sparked all sorts of ideas.
So these conversations allowed us to offer encouragement, receive encouragement, support one another in our giftings, and spark a little flame inside of what God could use, maybe something we’d long forgotten about or never known. I think we all left excited to look for ways to encourage others this week in things we see God doing in their lives.
I loved how Priscilla ended the video mentioning two parts — the part we do, but much bigger than that, the part God does. We cooperate in what He is doing, and He gives us His strength and the power of His Spirit to accomplish it for His glory. It is exciting to see what He is doing and be a part of His work in the world. (Ephesians 2:10)
Again, I only capture a few points here, but this is an excellent study. I continue to be grateful for it, for the women God has brought together this summer, and the enriching discussion we have each week centered around God’s Word.