Character Studies

Lesson 12

GIDEON

 

"O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." And the LORD said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man." (Judges 6:15-16)

Text: Judges 6-8

Name: "A cutting down"; "great warrior"

Place: Manasseh (Ophrah; Valley of Jezreel; and Trans-jordan)

Occupation: Farmer, warrior, judge

References: 1 Sam. 12:11; Isa. 9:4; 10:26; Heb. 11:32

THE MIDIANITE OPPRESSION
Judges 6:1-10
Due to Israel's sin (6:1)
Length and description (6:1-6)
God's prophet (6:7-10)

GIDEON'S BACKGROUND
Judges 6:11, 15
A son of Joash of the family of Abiezer, a Manassite
Lived in the village of Ophrah
A farmer whom God calls "a mighty man of valor" (6:12)

GIDEON'S CALL
Judges 6
Gideon is visited by the Angel of the Lord while secretly threshing wheat (6:11)
"If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?" (6:13)
God promised to be with Gideon and by him save Israel from Midianites (6:14)
Gideon asked for a sign and built an altar (6:17-24)
Gideon destroyed the altar of Baal and is called "Jerubbaal" (6:25-35)
The sign of the fleece (6:36-40)

LESSONS FOR OUR LEARNING:
-Even the least in the kingdom of God are of use to Him (1 Cor. 12:14-26).
-God blesses those who obey Him and withholds the blessing from those who sin.
-Idolatry is a bankrupt system of belief. False gods can do nothing.

GIDEON DEFEATED THE MIDIANITES
Judges 7:1-8:21
Gideon's army is reduced (7:1-8)
A Midianite's dream reassures Gideon (7:9-15)
Gideon's battle strategy and victory (7:16-25)
Men of Ephraim help, men of Succoth and Penuel refuse (7:24-8:21)

LESSONS FOR OUR LEARNING:
-God does not depend upon large numbers of people to accomplish His goals.
-All spiritual victories occur because of God's power, not our power (Eph. 6:10-13; 4:13).
-We should always be ready to help those who are fighting the Lord's battles (3 Jno. 5-8).

THE PEOPLE WANT TO CROWN GIDEON
Judges 8:22-35
"The Lord shall rule over you" (8:23)
Gideon's ephod (8:24-27)
Relief from the Midianites (8:28)
The sons of Gideon (8:29-32)
Unfaithful and forgetful Israel (8:33-35)

LESSONS FOR OUR LEARNING:
-God rules over us (Matt. 28:18).
-Men have a tendency to worship religious objects (cf. 2 Kings 18:4; Acts 17:22-23).
-People often forget God when things are going well (Gal. 5:7).

THE CHARACTER OF GIDEON
Hebrews 11:32-33
Gideon and the winepress (6:11, 15)
    (Obscure yet noble; humble, industrious)
Gideon and the altar (6:25-27)
    (God-fearing)
Gideon and the fleece (6:36-40)
    (Careful assurance of God's will)
Gideon at the water (7:4-8)
    (Courageous faith)
Gideon and the men of Ephraim (8:1-3)
    (Tactful)

QUESTIONS
1. Why did God send Israel a prophet? What was his message? (Judg. 6:6-10)

2. Why was Gideon in the winepress?

3. What did Gideon have trouble understanding? (Judg. 6:12-13)

4. What name was given to Gideon? Why? (Judg. 6:28-33)

5. Why did Gideon ask God to show him signs? Was it wrong for him to do so? Harmonize this with his faith (Heb. 11:32).

6. How is our fight against Satan like Gideon's fight against the Midianites?

7. What is an ephod? How did Gideon's ephod become a snare to him?

8. Why did the children of Israel return to Baal worship after Gideon died?