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THE RELUCTANT WARRIOR

Judges 6/1-24

 

Tucked away in the Old Testament book of Judges is the story of a man who was about to personally experience what can happen to a person - man or woman - when that person is called by God, equipped by God and empowered by God. In this series of 5 studies we will watch how God takes a very ordinary man and, through a range of experiences, transforms him into a mighty warrior.

 

I have no doubt that we will identify with Gideon at a number of places along his journey. He lived at a time very different from our own. Yet the God who called him to a unique task is the same God who calls us to serve Him. Therefore, despite the differences in time, culture and world views, it should not surprise us that our experience of God is reflected in the story of Gideon.

 

So, get ready to be confronted, surprised, challenged, affirmed and empowered as we journey back through time about 3,000+ years to a period in the history of God's people that was not their most glorious hour!

 

Read Judges 6/1-10

 

[1] THE CONDITION OF GOD'S PEOPLE (Vs.1-10)

 

There is a pattern in this book; a repetitive cycle of behavior in the nation that is disturbing. A season of peace would be followed by acts of disobedience and the resultant defeat would be followed by national repentance after which God would raise up a deliverer (Judge) and the cycle would end with peace etc. Then the cycle would repeat itself.

 

Sadly, the book reads like the biography of many believers - a cyclical pattern of defeat and victory that can't be broken. In the Christian life disobedience always opens the door for enemy activity & subsequent defeat. Areas of sin in our lives give Satan permission to interfere and those areas become the setting for future defeat.

 

Question:What kind of 'areas of sin' gives Satan permission to interfere in our lives? (e.g. wrong attitudes, words, actions). Give some examples of your own.

 

Question:What do you learn about the Midianites from the first 5 verses of this chapter.

 

Our story opens with Israel in a state of defeat - oppressed by the Midianites -because of disobedience. The Hebrew nation was totally impoverished - spiritually & materially - by enemy activity. So they did the only thing that was left to them. What was that?(v.6)

 

Read Judges 6/11-24

 

[2] THE PERSON OF GOD'S CHOICE (vs.11-16)

 

Our introduction to Gideon hardly suggests to us that he is ever likely to be a military hero! He is a man in hiding, threshing wheat in a winepress, afraid of the enemy. If we had to do a profile on him, we might use words like:-

 

*Fearful *Skeptical *Reluctant *Uncertain *Insecure *Timid.

 

But God sees something else in Gideon and He calls him by a new name - "mighty warrior"! Gideon must have thought it was a case of mistaken identity! He saw himself as a lot of things but 'Mighty Warrior' was not one of them.

 

God often changes people's names to emphasize what He sees He can make them become. For sample, reflect on the following Biblical characters and discuss the importance of these 'name-changing' events.

 

*Abram - Abraham (Gen.17)

 

*Jacob - Israel (Gen.32)

 

*Simon - Peter (Jn.1/42)

 

How do you see yourself? By what name do you call yourself? To what name do you respond? The choice is simply to believe what God says about you OR stay with your own evaluation. It is a choice that either binds you or releases you into all your God-given potential. God sees what He is going to make Gideon become - and He calls him by that name.

 

Question: How important are the 'names' we call others? Give some examples of 'names' we use to build each other up or to tear each other down.

 

[3] THE NEED FOR GOD'S CONFIRMATION (vs. 17-24)

 

Despite what Gideon must have thought, he does not reject the call outright - but he sure has some problems/reservations with it! Now begins a process that, under God, will see Gideon's potential become a reality. Jesus undertook the same process with His disciples - "I will make you fishers of men" (Mt.4/19). Let's see how God answers Gideon's questions. Maybe some of the answers to our questions can be discovered in this dialogue between Gideon and the Lord.

*SCEPTICISM - v.13 - How is God with us? Where is He? Where are these miracles?

How many of us pray in such direct and honest terms? (v.13). Response - v.14 - Go in the strength you have because I am sending you - God's authority

 

Question: Does Gideon's direct style of praying (a) inspire you? (b) disturb you? (c) encourage you? (d) provoke you?

 

*WEAKNESS - v.15 - How can I save Israel ? I am the weakest of the weak! Gideon had a fairly perceptive and accurate self-awareness. He was under no illusions about the gravity of the situation. He saw himself as completely unqualified for such a task. Response - v.16 - I will be with you…you will strike down the Midianites

 

*UNCERTAINTY - v.17 - Is that really you, Lord? Give me a sign/proof/evidence. Such were the dimensions of the task ahead of him, Gideon asked God for some specific confirmation that he was hearing God clearly. Response - vs.20,21 - what Gideon offered sacrificially, God accepted - the mission is on!!

 

Question: Can you find a common factor in God's response to each of Gideon's questions? Have you ever sensed that God was calling you to a task that you felt was way beyond your ability? What did you do with that sense of call?

 

WRAP UP:

 

Let's finish this session by referring back to that moment when God called Gideon a "mighty warrior". Read again the excuses Gideon used to try and avoid this commission to defeat the Midianites and discuss this question:

 

By what name would Gideon have called himself?

 

What name do you call yourself? What name are you called by others in your circle of friendship? By what name do you think God calls you?

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