1. What is the most overwhelming job or project you have ever faced?
2. Did you have doubts about your ability to accomplish the job?
We’ve all faced challenges that caused us to fear or doubt that we could accomplish the task. Some of those tasks are common to most of us: raising children; first days of school; military boot camp; first days on a very challenging new job;
What others can you think of that you may have faced? (Sometimes a job is thrust upon us because of circumstances unforeseen and unexpected. Battery commander in Germany.)
Gideon faced a similar experience when God called him to be a judge for Israel. Through this experience, God would show Gideon that when the Lord is present, His followers need not fear!
Judges 6:1-10 tells us about the situation Israel found themselves in after, once again, forsaking God. They were oppressed by three groups, but the Midianites were the primary oppressors. They took all of Israel’s animals and, when their crops were ready to harvest, they would come take their produce. Israel cried out to the Lord for deliverance and God responded.
Unsure and Untested! Read Judges 6:11-16
1. What do we learn about Gideon from these verses? (Fearful; from a small clan; youngest in his family; knowledge about God’s delivering Israel in the past; etc.)
2. How did the Angel of the Lord describe Gideon?
3. Was Gideon’s last statement in verse 13 true? (Yes! God had handed them over to Midian because of Israel’s sin.)
4. Why was Gideon thrashing wheat in a wine vat?
5. After Gideon’s questions, what is significant about the grammatical shift of verse 14? (The grammar shifts from third person in v. 12 to first person in v. 14, showing that God Himself was speaking directly to Gideon—and could have been the whole time.)
God had no intention of letting Gideon off the hook nor of allowing him to face this task alone.
6. How did Gideon describe himself to the Angel of the Lord?
7. What did God promise Gideon?
8. Does the way we see ourselves always align with the way God sees us?
The Lord’s promise, “I will be with you,” was the ultimate answer for all of Gideon’s worries and concerns about his weaknesses. The same holds true for us today: God goes with us when we are serving Him.
9. In what ways do our uncertainties or lack of experience lead us to doubt the very presence of God in our lives?
Gideon prepared a meal for the Angel of the Lord and it was consumed by fire from a rock and the Angel vanished. Gideon realized he had been talking with the Angel of the Lord and thought he would die but God assured him he would not die.
A First Step! Read Judges 6:25-27
1. What was God’s first task for Gideon? (Get rid of the altar to Baal on his father’s property, and put an altar to God in its place. Then offer a sacrifice to God.)
Sometimes we just need to clean up our own house before we can help someone else clean up their house! God helped Gideon with this task by giving him step by step instructions.
2. How did fear enter into how Gideon accomplished what God had told him to do? (Although he did what God had instructed him to do at night, ultimately his faith was stronger than his fear.)
3. How does God help us move past our fears? (As Christians, even though we may be afraid, we can find the strength from God to do the things He has called us to do.)
4. What are the first steps you would recommend to help a person move toward the goal of spiritual maturity?
Now what happens when Gideon’s actions are discovered!
A Father’s Defense! Read Judges 6:28-32
1. What was the reaction of the townsmen? (Gideon’s fear makes a lot of sense once we see their response. The men of the town wanted to kill Gideon for his actions, demanding his father, Joash, bring out his son so that they could execute him.)
2. What did Joash tell the townsmen? (He said in so many words that if Baal was a real god let him defend himself.)
3. How does Joash’s reaction to the men strike you? (Perhaps he knew it was wrong to have the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole in the first place and had no problem with it being destroyed. Maybe he had been a little too timid about getting rid of it himself.)
We may be surprised at who supports us when we do what God has called us to do!
4. How has God drawn you closer to Himself by working in the lives of those around you?
We might not feel much like a mighty warrior, but with God’s help, we have all the resources we need to complete the task in front of us. Our boldness can also give others courage.
5. As Gideon influenced his father, how might a person’s Christian service influence others?
Summarize and Challenge!
It seems that Gideon needed assurance every step of the way. He laid “a fleece” out before the Lord, not once but twice, to make sure this was exactly what God wanted him to do. As he took a 32,000 man army off to defeat the Midianites, God reduced his army down to only 300. They had a resounding victory. Only God could have done that and He received all the glory!
1. How can God use us despite our moments of timidity or lack of confidence?
2. How does our continued obedience to God over time help to grow our faith?
3. When we lack confidence in ourselves how can we refocus to place our confidence in God?
Read Judges 6:16.
In your mind, paraphrase this verse as if God were guaranteeing you victory over your biggest problem. Put yourself and your challenges in the verse. Take note of your thoughts.
4. How does the verse move you emotionally?
5. What feelings were evoked by putting yourself in the verse?
6. How does this verse speak to your biggest problem?
7. Do you think God loved and cared for Gideon and Israel more than He does you?
8. Do you believe God can work just as effectively and real in your life as He did in Gideon’s life?
9. What is God leading you to do that will take courage and faith in God?
Gideon had assumed that God didn’t care about their situation, but he was clearly wrong. In spite of what Gideon or others thought, God knew what was going on and cared deeply about His people.
God also knows and cares about your situation. Trust in Him to bring about the solution that will honor Him and be best for you.
Close with a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s love for us!