Have you ever been afraid of obeying God? Have you avoided responsibility because you felt inadequate? God wants you to place your confidence in Him, not yourself. In this Bible study about Gideon’s life, you’ll learn about victory over fear and insecurity.
Read Judges 6-8.
- Feeling afraid or unworthy doesn’t disqualify us from being used by God.
- Briefly describe Israel’s situation in Gideon’s day (Judg. 6:1-6).
- Read Exodus 33:20. Why did speaking with God make Gideon afraid (v. 22)?
How could Gideon survive “seeing God”? Since God is Spirit (John 4:24), no man has ever seen the Father in His essence. However, in Judges 6 (as in other Old Testament passages), He assumes a visible form (Gen. 32:24-30, Ex. 24:9-10, Isa. 6:1, Dan. 7:9). Some scholars believe references like this one to “the angel of the Lord” describe Jesus before He was clothed in human flesh.
- God asks Gideon to tear down His father’s altar to Baal, the false god some Israelites worshipped at the time. How does Gideon approach his first assignment (Judg. 6:27)?
- What does his neighbors’ reaction reveal about the hearts of the Israelites at this time (v. 30)?
- What frightens you about fully obeying all God asks of you?
- Exchanging our viewpoint for God’s perspective is essential to winning our battles.
- From God’s perspective, who would deliver Israel (vv. 8-10)?
- On what did Gideon focus (v.13)?
- Contrast Gideon’s perception of himself with God’s view (vv. 12,15).
By refusing to help Gideon—who was God’s chosen deliverer—the leaders of Succoth and Penuel aligned themselves with the Midianites by default (Judg. 8).
- What does Gideon’s threat to them reveal about how he viewed himself after victory over the Midianites (vv. 5-9)?
- Name a difficulty or challenge you face. Where do you tend to look for a solution in your own strength? How do you think God wants you to approach it?
- The Lord is prepared to confirm His will.
- Initially, Gideon doesn’t believe he’s really talking with God. What sign does Gideon prepare (Judg. 6:18-21)?
When several enemy armies assembled near Gideon’s home, he used a sheep’s fleece to ask God for a confirmation of Israel’s deliverance.
- Why was his action unnecessary (vv. 36-37)?
- Why do you think Gideon was afraid the Lord’s anger would burn against him (v. 39)?
Although God was patient with Gideon, this method of determining His will is generally not the best. It can take our focus off of the Lord, placing it on a “sign,” which may or may not indicate God’s will accurately.
- What finally convinced Gideon that the Lord had given victory into the Israelite’s hands (Judg. 7:13-15)?
- When we obey God despite our weaknesses, He gets the glory. On his first assignment from God—tearing down the altar to Baal—Gideon acts at night, in fear.
- Why did Gideon suddenly have the confidence to assemble an army and declare himself its head (Judg. 7:34)?
- Why did God want to decrease the number of warriors (v. 2)?
- Why do the two eliminations also make sense from a practical standpoint (vv. 3-7)?
Gideon’s army attacked at night, around 10 p.m., right as the first watch was ending. The retiring guards had not yet returned to their tents and probably were mistaken for Israelites by the confused Midianties.
- Why do you think the strategy of breaking the jars and blowing the trumpets was successful?
- Why couldn’t Gideon take credit for what happened as a result of their surprise “attack” (v. 22)?
When the Israelites returned home after their victories, the men of Israel asked Gideon to rule over them (Judg. 8:22).
- Why do you think Gideon responded as he did (v. 24)?
- Gideon’s disobedience in making and worshipping the ephod could have been due to ignorance or the low moral standards at the time. What were the consequences (vv. 24-27)?
- Despite the ephod, what did God do for Israel as a result of Gideon’s victory (v. 28)?
Closing: What is God asking you to do? Be willing to obey, trusting that He will provide all you need. No matter what happens, your faithfulness will result in deep inner peace, which is the fruit of being right with the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, Who helps me accomplish Your will. Teach me to take my eyes off of my circumstances and the solutions the world offers—and instead look to You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.