1. Recall a time when someone identified an ability in you that you never recognized in yourself. How did you respond?
- “You’re jokin,’ man! You must have me confused with someone else!”
- “I’ve long felt an inclination to do that but never pursued it. Thanks!”
- “You must have an angel. What do you really want from me?”
- “How much do I owe for encouraging me with this new assignment?”
- Other (as you recall a true incident) __________.
The Book of Judges covers the time between Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land and the monarchy, beginning with King Saul. Joshua’s armies displaced many people in order to fulfill God’s promise. Yet the people Israel defeated along the way fought back to reclaim their land. As tribes of Israel suffered defeat after defeat, the pagan god Baal supplanted Yahweh, Israel’s God. So, the Israelites began to doubt the sovereignty of their God. The people cry out to God, time after time, for a “judge” to deliver them. Gideon—a reluctant, unlikely warrior—enters stage right. Whatever happens next, God’s reputation is on the line.
Go to Judges 6: 1-40. Have one person read 6:1-10, another read 6:11-27, and a third person read 6:28-40. At each reading, ask yourself: “What’s going on here? Where is this heading?
Finding My Story in God’s Story
2. In basketball, fans measure players by 4 metrics: scoring, assists, rebounds & turnovers. Which of these four categories apply to God in the story? Which apply to the Israelites? Which apply to Gideon? In the way you live, which one do you most resemble?
3. This story in Judges reclaims God’s rightful sovereignty among the chosen people. After all God did for Israel (the Exodus, military victories, a land flowing with milk and honey…), why does God’s sovereignty have to be reasserted and reclaimed—again?
- God was not a daily, visible presence among the people.
- God’s Word came through mediators (priests, prophets, judges).
- The people knew God as Deliverer and Provider but took him for granted and began providing for themselves.
- They didn’t take God seriously to begin with, but just followed Moses and Joshua.
- Their relationship with God was more like “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
- Other __________.
4. If we’re honest, God is not always sovereign in our lives, either. What supplants God from being sovereign in your life in those moments that someone or something is No. 1?
- The pastor is that kind of faithful, my go-to person on behalf of all of us.
- Things are going well in my life right now, so I have no real need of God.
- When I confessed Jesus as Lord and was baptized in his name, that was my life & fire insurance policy. I don’t need someone else telling me how to live my life.
- God is on a speed dial of emergency numbers I call when all else fails.
- Other __________.
5. In what respect can you see yourself in Gideon’s fear, faith, or fleece? Explain.
- I’m never sure when it’s God speaking, or if my dad gets in my head.
- If I don’t like the guidance I’m receiving, I always ask for a second opinion.
- If the going gets tough, I get going—until I see the size of the opposition.
- A fleece can show fear or faith; what matters is whether I follow through.
- Other __________.
6. God chose Gideon to lead Israel in defeating the Midianites when a sovereign God could have done that all on his own. Why do you suppose God condescends to meet us where we’re at and use us as we are—feeble, fearful, the least or last one chosen?
7. What God asks of us (e.g., begin to tithe, go on a mission trip, take a different job, take down an idol) often seems risky at the time. Hence, we seek assurances that it is God asking us to step out in faith, not an ambitious self or some pushy pastor or recruiter. What lifelines have you sought to confirm whether it’s God who set the task before you?
8. What are some next steps, or lifelines, that you might extend to others who are looking to live their lives under the sovereignty of God? How might the group help others discern their purpose and place of equal worth in God’s mission in the world?
9. For any decision that you or others are currently facing, pray about the answers to questions #7 and #8.