Today’s post focuses on the 30 day Bible study on patience that I created for the month of September. If you want to join in, you can download the calendar and information sheet below.
September 2016 Bible Study Calendar
30 Day Patience Bible Study Information
Each Monday on the calendar includes the study of specific people in the Bible who demonstrated patience. On Tuesdays (like today!) we will be discussing the study on the blog.
So, yesterday’s reading was Luke 1:5-25; 57-58. It was the story of Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah.
Elizabeth and Zechariah were good people. The Bible tells us they were “upright in the sight of God” and that Zechariah was even a priest. Elizabeth was also a descendant of a priestly nation. Despite the fact that they were respectable and blameless people, they were childless.
Elizabeth and Zechariah were older by the time they are introduced in the Bible, and we’re told they didn’t have children because Elizabeth was barren. This wouldn’t be a big deal today, but in the culture during that time period, couples–especially the women–were looked down upon if they did not have children. Elizabeth and Zechariah prayed for a child, but their prayers were not answered until much later in their lives.
One day while Zechariah was serving in the temple of the Lord, an angel of the Lord appeared and told him that Elizabeth would bear a son that they were to name John. Their son would bring many of the people of Israel back to the Lord and do wonderful things.
Zechariah, understandably, was shocked and didn’t believe the angel. So he was stuck mute until his son was born. After Elizabeth had found out she was pregnant, she gave the credit to God and said that he showed His favor and took away her disgrace. The angel’s message became true when Elizabeth gave birth to their son in her old age. Once Zechariah wrote that his son’s name was to be John, he was no longer mute. John was indeed an amazing man of God and even baptized Jesus.
We are told that Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives heard the Lord had shown her mercy and that people were amazed that Zechariah’s muteness disappeared after they named their son.
So much about Elizabeth and Zechariah’s story stands out to me. The fact that they were upright people, yet were considered disgraceful due to something they couldn’t control must have been incredibly painful. They were patient and prayerful in the midst of their trials and God showed His power in amazing ways. Elizabeth demonstrated patience in the midst of personal and public suffering.
If Elizabeth hadn’t had a child in her old age and Zechariah hadn’t been struck mute and then cured, the people in their lives wouldn’t have been shown God’s power. John became a forerunner for Jesus, and his unique birth to a barren woman past the age for child-bearing is just another example of God’s special plans for all of His people.
I have included a printable below that incorporates questions about Elizabeth’s story as well as your own for personal reflection on the study.
30 Day Patience Bible Study – Personal Reflection on Elizabeth
If you’re following along with the study, I hope you’re enjoying it! Next week we will be studying Noah. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments or send me an email at alliezottola (at) gmail (dot) com.
I really enjoyed reading this Allie. Although one thing sticks out to me (not on the topic of patience, so you don’t have to answer) and that is why there is such importance on the women’s ability to conceive. One thing that bothers me about God sometimes is that women are often made lesser than men and they are only worthy because they pop out the kids. That just rubs me the wrong way because I’m not sure if I want to have children.
It’s almost as if Elizabeth had to worship and thank God for taking away her disgrace…when He gave it to her in the beginning! It’s like starting a fire only so that you can put it out and be the hero.
I actually enjoyed this very much if I focus on the patience part 🙂
I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this, Ellie!
I know exactly what you mean about the importance on a woman’s ability to bear a child. I think about it a lot, too. Like if I never have a child, then what? The vision of the Proverbs 31 woman always sticks out to me, too, with her taking care of her family. I think, can I be a Proverbs 31 woman if I don’t have children? I know the culture was totally different at the times the Bible was written, and it has changed so much today, with women having careers outside of the home, etc. When we base our lives off the Bible as Christians, the whole being a woman and having babies thing is different. It leaves questions for a woman, I think.
I get what you mean about Elizabeth being thankful that God took away her disgrace, even though it wasn’t her “fault” that she was infertile. I suppose it was just part of His plan for Elizabeth, and ultimately for John the baptist and Jesus. The way that John and Jesus came into this world is nothing short of amazing, and I know God has a reason for that!
Basically, I don’t have any answers! I am in the same boat with you on the whole “what if I don’t have children?” question. I suppose it’s just a personal decision between each Christian and God. I think about Paul–he wasn’t married and didn’t have kids, and the same with Jesus. Both were pretty amazing and did A LOT for God’s kingdom. But also, they weren’t women, so I don’t know.
The way I see it, God has different plans for each of us. Some may involve having a family, and some may not. Either way, God created each of us for a reason and no matter what the reason, that is significant because God created it.
Sorry for rambling on! Thank you for following along and giving your input! I appreciate it so much 🙂