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Copyr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 5 - SIGNS OF SECURITY

INTRODUCTION: LAST WEEK WE SAW HOW GOD INTERVENED FOR ISRAEL, BROKE
THE POWER OF THE CANAANITES BY DEFEATING THEIR IRON CHARIOTS,
KILLING THEIR COMMANDER SISERA, AND FINALLY DESTROYING CANAANITE
KING JABIN. THE RESULT WAS THAT ISRAEL HAD PEACE FOR 40 YEARS. 
     THIS WEEK OUR STUDY IS JUDGES 6. LETS GET INTO IT!

I. THE PROBLEM

     A. READ JUDGES 6:1-6.

          1. WHAT IS THE NOW FAMILIAR PROBLEM? (ISRAEL DOES EVIL
          AGAIN!)

          2. WHAT IS THE RESULT? (A NEW GROUP, THE MIDIANITES 
          OPPRESS THEM.)

          3. MIDIAN, BY THE WAY, WAS A SON OF ABRAHAM. AFTER SARAH
          DIED ABRAHAM MARRIED A WIFE NAMED KETURAH. ABRAM LEFT
          EVERYTHING TO ISAAC, BUT BEFORE ABRAHAM DIED HE
          APPARENTLY GAVE MIDIAN PRESENTS AND SENT HIM EAST. (GEN.
          25:1-6)  

          4. HOW DID THE MIDIANITES OPPRESS ISRAEL? 

               (a. THESE PEOPLE DID NOT LIVE IN THE LAND LIKE THE
               CANAANITES. THEY WERE NOMADS THAT WOULD INVADE
               AFTER THE ISRAELITES PLANTED THEIR CROPS. LOOK AT
               v.3, WHENEVER THE ISRAELITES PLANTED, THEY INVADED.
               
               b. v. 4 - RUINED CROPS
               
               c. v. 4 KILLED/STOLE ALL THE CATTLE

               d. v. 6 MIDIAN IMPOVERISHED ISRAEL!)

          5. WHAT MILITARY WEAPON USED BY THE MIDIANITES IS 
          MEANTIONED IN THESE VERSES IN JUDGES? (CAMELS! PROOF THAT
          MEN DOMESTICATED CAMELS AND USED THEM AS WEAPONS OF WAR.)

          6. WHAT DID THE ISRAELITES DO TO ESCAPE THESE PEOPLE? 
          (v.2 THE ISRAELITES STARTED LIVING IN CAVES IN THE
          MOUNTAINS TO ESCAPE THEM!)

     B. THE CONCLUSION IS THAT THE PEOPLE CRY OUT TO GOD FOR HELP. 

     C. LETS READ ON: JUDGES 6:7-10.

          1. WHO IS THIS PROPHET? (WE DON'T KNOW, THE NAME IS NOT
          GIVEN.)

          2. HOW WOULD YOU RESTATE THE UNNAMED PROPHET'S MESSAGE IN
          A FEW WORDS? (I SAVED YOU IN THE PAST, I WAS FAITHFUL TO
          YOU, BUT I TOLD YOU NOT TO WORSHIP OTHER GODS, AND YOU
          WERE NOT FAITHFUL TO ME BECAUSE YOU DID NOT OBEY! NO QUID
          PRO QUO.)

          3. WHY DID GOD SEND THIS MESSAGE? (THE IDEA OF DISCIPLINE
          IS THAT GOD'S PEOPLE LEARN SOMETHING AND TURN AWAY FROM
          THE SIN. GOD MAKES THE PROBLEM VERY CLEAR TO HIS PEOPLE.
          NO NEED TO GUESS.)

          4. IS QUID PRO QUO ("THIS FOR THAT"), A BIBLICAL CONCEPT?
          DOES THIS INTERFERE WITH THE CONCEPT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS BY
          FAITH? (YOU BET IT IS A BIBLICAL CONCEPT. SIN HAS
          CONSEQUENCES. CHRIST TOOK THE CONSEQUENCES OF SIN (DEATH)
          IN OUR PLACE, BUT WE FACE THE RESULTS OF MANY (IF NOT
          MOST) OF OUR SINS HERE AND NOW. AND IF WE DO NOT ACCEPT
          CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS, WE WILL FACE THE RESULTS OF ALL
          OF OUR SINS. (ETERNAL DEATH))

     D. READ JUDGES 6:11-13.

          1. WHAT IS THIS "MIGHTY WARRIOR" DOING? (HIDING TO DO HIS
          THRESHING!)

          2. IS THE ANGEL MAKING FUN OF GIDEON BY CALLING HIM 
          "MIGHTY WARRIOR?"

               a. ANYBODY KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THRESHING? (NEED TO
               BLOW CHAFF AWAY)
               b. HOW WOULD YOU GUESS THE PROCESS IS WORKING IN A
               WINE-PRESS? (NOT BLOWING WAY. PROBABLY A MESS)

          3. WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS GIDEON POSING? IS IT
          OBNOXIOUS? IS IT SERIOUS? IS IT A CHALLENGE? WHAT KIND OF
          ATTITUDE DO YOU THINK IS DISPLAYED IN THIS QUESTION? (I
          THINK IT IS SERIOUS. GIDEON ACKNOWLEDGES THE POWER OF
          GOD, BELIEVES THEY WOULD NOT BE IN THIS TROUBLE IF THE
          LORD WERE "WITH THEM," AND WANTS TO KNOW WHY "THE LORD
          HAS ABANDONED" THEM. (BUT NOTE WHAT THIS ATTITUDE
          REFLECTS, FOR THEY HAVE ABANDONED GOD AND NOT VICE-
          VERSA.))

     E. READ JUDGES 6:14-16.

          1. WE HAVE A SERIOUS CHANGE IN THE PLAYERS HERE. DID YOU
          CATCH THIS? (YES. GIDEON THOUGHT HE WAS SPEAKING TO AN
          ANGEL. IT TURNS OUT HE IS SPEAKING TO GOD (YAHWEH!)

          2. THE LORD TELLS GIDEON HE HAS "STRENGTH," (KJV "MIGHT")
          AND GIDEON IS NOT TOO SURE.

               a. WHAT IS GOD SPEAKING OF? WHAT DO YOU THINK IS 
               GIDEON'S STRENGTH?
               
               b. DOES HIS STRENGTH HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT
               GIDEON PERCEIVES TO BE HIS WEAKNESS? (CONSIDER THE
               TWO MOST RECENT JUDGES. A MAN WITH AN IMPAIRED
               RIGHT HAND (EHUD) AND A WOMAN (DEBORAH). GOD SOARS
               WHEN MAN IS WEAK.)

               c. DO YOU SEE A LESSON IN THIS FOR YOU TODAY? (YES.
               GOD WORKS THROUGH THOSE WHO FEEL THE NEED OF HIS
               HELP. HE IS HINDERED IN WORKING THROUGH THE PROUD.)

     F. READ JUDGES 6:17-23. THINK ABOUT WHAT VERSES 14-16 AND 17-
     23 TELL US ABOUT GOD'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS US! WHAT DO YOU SEE?

          (1. GOD CARES ENOUGH TO COME DOWN PERSONALLY AND

          2. GOD IS WILLING TO WAIT ON MAN!; AND,

          3. GOD IS WILLING TO PROVE WHO HE IS TO THE HONEST 
          INQUIRER.)

     G. READ JUDGES 6:25-32.

          1. IS GIDEON OR HIS FAMILY PERFECT?

          2. WHAT EXPLANATION DO YOU HAVE FOR THE ISREALITES 
          CALLING OUT TO GOD (JUDGES 6:6) AND STILL HAVING ALTARS
          TO BAAL AND ASHERAH? (6:26)

          3. NOW THAT GIDEON HAS SPOKEN WITH GOD, AND GOTTEN 
          INSTRUCTIONS FROM HIM, IS GIDEON FEARLESS? (NO! NOT EVEN
          WITH HIS OWN FAMILY. HE TEARS DOWN HIS FATHER'S ALTAR AT
          NIGHT!)

          4. SO GIDEON BUILDS AN ALTAR TO GOD. IN VIEW OF THE 
          VERSES THAT I JUST READ, DOES IT SEEM TO YOU THAT
          GIDEON'S FAMILY HAD AN ALTAR TO JEHOVAH AND AN ALTAR TO
          BAAL? (NO. JUDGES 6:24 HAS GIDEON BUILDING AN ALTER TO
          GOD, BUT IN 6:26 HE IS INSTRUCTED BY GOD TO BUILD A
          "PROPER ALTAR." THEY HAD GONE SO FAR AWAY FROM GOD THAT
          THEY HAD ONLY ALTARS TO FALSE GODS.)(ALTHOUGH NOTE THAT
          SINCE GIDEON IS NEITHER A PRIEST NOR A LEVITE, HE WOULD
          NOT UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES BE OFFERING SACRIFICES.)

          5. DOES THE REACTION OF THE FAMILY ENCOURAGE YOU IN 
          THINKING THAT THESE PEOPLE WANTED TO RETURN TO THE
          WORSHIP OF GOD? (NO. GIDEON CORRECTLY ANTICIPATED THEIR
          REACTION. THEY WANTED TO KILL HIM.)

          6. THE ALTAR THAT WAS BROKEN DOWN BELONGS TO GIDEON'S 
          FATHER JOASH. THE BULL THAT WAS SACRIFICED BELONGED TO
          JOASH. 
               a. WHAT WOULD YOU EXPECT HIS REACTION TO BE? 
               b. WHAT WAS HIS REACTION? (HE STOOD UP FOR GOD AND
               FOR GIDEON!)

     H. READ JUDGES 6:33. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? (IT MEANS TROUBLE.
     THE ENEMIES OF ISRAEL HAVE JOINED FORCES AND HAVE CROSSED OVER
     THE JORDAN INTO ISRAELITE TERRITORY.

     I. READ JUDGES 6:34-40.

          1. IN VERSE 34 WE SEE GIDEON BLOWING THE TRUMPET TO CALL
          THE WESTERN TRIBES TO COME FIGHT THE MIDIANITES AND THEIR
          ALLIES.

          2. WHY DO WE HAVE THIS STORY ABOUT THE FLEECE AFTER 
          GIDEON ISSUES THE CALL TO RALLY AROUND HIM? (HE IS
          GETTING COLD FEET!)

          3. IS THIS THE FIRST TIME THAT GIDEON ASKED FOR A SIGN?
          (NO. IN 6:17, JUST AFTER GOD INITALLY ASSURES GIDEON THAT
          HE WILL BE WITH HIM, AND GIDEON WILL STRIKE DOWN THE
          MIDIANITES, HE ASKS FOR A SIGN (AND GOD GIVES HIM ONE:
          BURNING UP HIS SACRIFICE (6:21))

          4. LETS EXPLORE THESE NEW REQUESTS FOR MORE SIGNS. FIRST,
          GIDEON ASKS FOR A WET FLEECE AND DRY GROUND IN THE
          MORNING. (vv.36-37) SECOND, HE ASKS FOR A DRY FLEECE AND
          WET GROUND IN THE MORNING. (vv.39-40)

               a. WHY MAKE THE SECOND (ACTUALLY THIRD) REQUEST FOR
               A SIGN? (BET HE STARTING THINKING THAT MAYBE IT
               WOULD BE NATURAL FOR THE FLEECE TO ABSORB THE
               SURROUNDING WATER!)

          5. IN MATTHEW 12:38 THE PHARISEES ASKED JESUS FOR A SIGN,
          BUT HE REFUSED TO GIVE THEM ONE: "A WICKED AND ADULTEROUS
          GENERATION ASKS FOR A SIGN! BUT NONE WILL BE GIVEN IT
          EXCEPT THE SIGN OF THE PROPHET JONAH." (3 DAYS IN THE
          BELLY OF THE FISH/JESUS 3 DAYS IN THE GRAVE.)

               a. WHY GIVE GIDEON THREE SIGNS AND THE PHARISEES 
               NONE (AT THE TIME)? (GIDEON HAD WEAK FAITH, BUT HE
               WAS A TRUE SEEKER OF GOD'S WILL.)

               b. IS THERE A LESSON IN THAT FOR US?

II. NEXT WEEK: WE CONTINUE WITH THE STORY OF GIDEON AND HIS BATTLE
AGAINST THE ALLIED MIDIANITE ARMY! STUDY JUDGES 7 AND 8!