Gideon: The Power of Obedience.

February 12, 2021 Preacher: Robert Dorsett Series: The Book of Judges

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Judges 7:1–22, Judges 8:22–28

Judges 7

We see in the scriptures time and time again when God wants to use somebody, he often turns to the nobodies. God uses weak servants for His great end so that all the glory would be His alone. That’s one of the lessons we learn from the life of Gideon.

In verse 2, God says to Gideon that there are too many soldiers in the Israelites army. If the army stayed as-is they’d boast—the Hebrew word paar—in their own strength instead of giving glory to God. The word pa’ar is often used in the Old Testament to speak about God’s worthiness of glory (Is. 44:23; 60:21; 61:3). If Israel were to boast in the victory over Midian, their confidence would be unwarranted and their boast would stem from pride. God knew the selfish hearts of his people and made provision so they would depend on him for the victory and give him all the glory.

God orchestrated the battle against Midian in such a way that no one could boast in victory. We face the same temptation to boast in our strength as the Israelites did.

Discussion Questions

1. How does shrinking Israel’s army from 32,000 to 300 cause them to depend on God?

2. What does God’s direction to Gideon in verses 10 and 11 show about God’s character?

3. What effect does boasting in yourself have on you? Does it make you feel better or worse about yourself? Does propping yourself up ever fully satisfy your desire to be recognized? Why not?

God’s character shines through the story of Gideon and his army. God proves Himself to be faithful, mighty, and true to his word. He leads Israel to victory over a mighty army with a band of men. This story reminds us of God’s strength in weakness. He is powerful over every human strength and weakness.

This week, consider the ways you might be giving into the temptation to boast in yourself. Maybe your boast isn’t ever vocalized—you simply think to yourself

that you’re better than everyone else. Or maybe you tend to talk yourself up in a way that belittles others. Or perhaps you believe you can work to earn right standing before God, thus securing your right to brag before him. Whatever it may be, come to God, confess, and repent.

Judges 8

At the end of cahpter 7, we left the story of Gideon on a high note—he has earned the respect of Israel. He defeated the Midianite army with a band of only 300 men. But as we read further, Gideon doesn’t continue to follow God. Gideon’s story up until this point showed how much he needed God in order to deliver Israel from Midian. Instead of continuing to depend on God, Gideon drifts away. We see his arrogance play out against the people of Israel. But his pride doesn’t stop there. He creates an ephod and the people end up worshipping it.

An ephod was a piece of clothing worn by the high priest (Exod. 28:3–14). Sometimes people who weren’t high priests wore linen ephods, which was the case with Samuel (1 Sam. 2:18) and David (2 Sam. 6:14; 1 Chr. 15:27). Ephods were closely associated with hearing from God since they were directly related to the priesthood, who were the only ones allowed near or into the presence of God. Ephods are mentioned at times as part of hearing an oracle from God (1 Sam. 14:3; 23:6–12; 30:7–8). Gideon violated the first and second of the Ten Commandments and the regulations for priests by creating the ephod outside the bounds of Levitical Law. Judges 8:27 says, “Israel whored after it...and it became a snare to Gideon and his family”.

Discussion Questions

1. What do you think has changed in Gideon from when he hid in the winepress to what we just read in Judges 8:1–21?

2. What are some of your strengths? What effect does it have on your relationship with God when you rely on your own strength?

3. What does it say to God when you choose to depend on yourself instead of on him?

4. Looking back on your story, what situations have you needed God the most in? What did those times in your life teach you about God?


More in The Book of Judges

April 9, 2021

The Canaanite Within Us

March 26, 2021

Judges 17-18: Israel’s Ultimate Sin

March 19, 2021

Samson: The Unwanted Saviour