Remember how I signed up for that virtual Bible study for the summer? Well, I didn't stick with the schedule laid out by Living Proof Ministries blog, but I am still completing the study Gideon: Your Weaknesses, God's Strength.
Week Two focused on parts of Gideon's story found in Judges 6, mainly his calling (verses 11-17) and his response (verses 24-25). Here are a few of the key points that I took away from these verses and the homework associated with them:
- Movies, TV shows, and even our own images of Biblical accounts give us an extraordinary image of when angels appear to people or a booming voice when God speaks to us. But, the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon as an ordinary-looking man. When we expect a "grandiose event" to go along with our encounters with God, "we will miss out on many intimate moments in our relationship with Him." Ephesians 1:18-19 is a prayer of Paul's that we should all pray for in our own lives.
- Not only does God speak to us through ordinary people, but He speaks to us when we're doing ordinary tasks! The angel appeared to Gideon when he was threshing wheat, an everyday task for him and his family. Those ordinary tasks, though, show us the many blessings in our lives. We can't do the dishes if we don't have food to eat. We couldn't do laundry if we didn't have clothes to wear. We wouldn't be driving to work if we didn't have a car or a job. Take time in your ordinary tasks to thank God for them and to listen for what He might be saying to you.
- When the angel told Gideon that the Lord was with him, he doubted that because of what was going on in his life. The Midianites were terrorizing the Israelites, so why would God be with him if that was happening? The answer to that question lies in Judges 6:8-10, which tells of the Israelites worshipping other gods when instructed not to. God has answered many of our prayers through His Word, and He's not going to change His mind. A lot of times, when a prayer goes unanswered, we think that God might not be listening. In reality, we may just need to seek out the answer in the Bible.
- Another part of Gideon's calling is the angel referring to him as a "mighty warrior" (verse 12). Gideon probably didn't believe the angel, considering he was busy working his family's land. But, our behavior doesn't determine our identity. Sometimes, I see myself as insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but God has a different image for me. According to Ephesians 1:4, "He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight." There is a way that God sees us that can counteract any negative self-images we have of ourselves. Here's a great series of statements Priscillia shares: "When life's shadows distort our reality, those distortions can easily become our truth, ripping us away from God's truth and thwarting our purpose...Trusting God and walking in His pronouncement of potential is the foundation of spiritual victory."
- Gideon's first mission was to tear down the altar of Baal in his community so that Israel received another chance to follow God's commands. What was tough about this was that his father was the one who built the altar. The lesson we can learn from Gideon is that sometimes, to create change in our community, we have to start with those closest to us. This isn't the easiest task, though. We are most vulnerable and we have the most to lose when carrying out/sharing God's calling on us within our "inner circle."
Question for you: What's easier for you: trying to change your community or trying to change your "inner circle" (family, friends, etc.)?
I know I feel more comfortable witnessing in the community because I feel less vulnerable.