November 12, 2011 – November 18, 2011
“And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae.” Hebrews 11:32.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 543–568; Gospel Workers (1892), 297–299, 309–319.
“By the repeated manifestations of His power in behalf of Israel, God would lead them to have faith in Him—with confidence to seek His help in every emergency. He is just as willing to work with the efforts of His people now and to accomplish great things through weak instrumentalities.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 554.
1 ADDRESSING AN EMERGENCY
- Describe one predicament in which the Israelites found themselves during the time of the judges. Judges 6:1–6.
- How did the Lord in His great mercy plan to remedy their situation? Judges 6:11–16.
- What was the first step Gideon took at the peril of his life? Judges 6:22–32.
Note: “The deliverance of Israel was to be preceded by a solemn protest against the worship of Baal. Gideon must declare war upon idolatry before going out to battle with the enemies of his people.
“The divine direction was faithfully carried out. Knowing that he would be opposed if it were attempted openly, Gideon performed the work in secret; with the aid of his servants, accomplishing the whole in one night. Great was the rage of the men of Ophrah when they came next morning to pay their devotions to Baal. They would have taken Gideon’s life had not Joash—who had been told of the Angel’s visit—stood in defense of his son.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 547.
2 THE HUMBLE ENCOURAGED
- What shows the deep humility of Gideon as God’s servant, and how will we likewise be blessed by reflecting such an attitude? Judges 6:17–23, 36–40; Proverbs 15:33.
Note: “The Lord can work most effectually through those who are most sensible of their own insufficiency, and who will rely upon Him as their leader and source of strength. He will make them strong by uniting their weakness to His might, and wise by connecting their ignorance with His wisdom.
“If they would cherish true humility, the Lord could do much more for His people; but there are few who can be trusted with any large measure of responsibility or success without becoming self-confident and forgetful of their dependence upon God. This is why, in choosing the instruments for His work, the Lord passes by those whom the world honors as great, talented, and brilliant. They are too often proud and self-sufficient. They feel competent to act without counsel from God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 553, 554.
“When we realize what is involved in our service to Christ, we are driven to the throne of grace to ask the Lord for the very things we need. He whose eyes are anointed with spiritual discernment feels that it means something to be a worker together with God. He will realize that it is perilous to trust in self; for self-confidence is vain. It is only when we accept solemn responsibility, relying upon God and distrusting self, that we can become efficient workers in His cause. To be clothed with humility does not mean that we are to be dwarfs in intellect, deficient in our aspirations, and cowardly in our lives, shunning all burdens for fear we shall not carry them successfully. In the strength of Christ we are to take up our responsibilities, bearing them for His sake, and ever going to Him for rest.” The Signs of the Times, August 15, 1892.
- What added encouragement did God give to boost Gideon’s faith? Judges 7:9–15.
Note: “The apparently powerless condition of that little company of Israelites, compared with the vast host of the enemy, was fitly represented by the cake of barley bread. But as that loaf overthrew the tent upon which it fell, so would the handful of Israelites destroy their numerous and powerful enemies.” The Signs of the Times, July 14, 1881.
3 AMAZING METHODS
- What are we to learn from the way Gideon was to select his army? Judges 7:1–8.
Note: “There is a lesson to be learned from Gideon’s army. It was not because of their great numbers that they prevailed, but because they were willing to follow the special directions of God by living faith. Those that were soon to press on to the battle, and who would scoop up the water and drink as they went, were the ones whom God accepted to engage in this enterprise; but those who prepared to have a good time, and bowed down leisurely and drank, were sent back to their homes.
“The Lord God of Israel looks upon us individually, and He sees whether we are in earnest in this matter. He sees whether we carry the burden of souls upon our hearts. He sees whether or not we touch these living interests with the tip ends of our fingers. If we have the interest that Knox had when he pleaded before God for Scotland, we shall have success. He cried, ‘Give me Scotland, Lord, or I die.’ And when we take hold of the work and wrestle with God, saying, ‘I must have souls; I will never give up the struggle,’ we will find that God will look upon our efforts with favor. He sees that if He gives you souls as the result of your ministry, it will not make you proud or lifted up. You will not be in a position where you will feel for an instant that someone else will get the credit for these souls; but you will feel so grateful to God that they are saved, that His praise will be in your hearts and on your lips day and night. It is such men that God will make mighty instruments to do His work.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 45.
- What was the main way that God miraculously gave this victory? Judges 7:16–22.
Note: “The light of three hundred lamps, piercing the midnight darkness, and that mighty shout from three hundred voices, suddenly aroused the sleeping army. Believing themselves at the mercy of an overwhelming force, the Midianites were panic-stricken. A terrible scene of confusion ensued. In their fright they fled in all directions, and mistaking their own companions for enemies they slew one another.” The Signs of the Times, July 14, 1881.
4 THE EXPERIENCE OF BARAK
- Describe another time when Israel was in trouble. Judges 4:1–3. What was to be the solution? Judges 4:4–9.
Note: “Barak knew the scattered, disheartened, and unarmed condition of the Hebrews, and the strength and skill of their enemies. Although he had been designated by the Lord Himself as the one chosen to deliver Israel, and had received the assurance that God would go with him and subdue their enemies, yet he was timid and distrustful. He accepted the message from Deborah as the word of God, but he had little confidence in Israel, and feared that they would not obey his call. He refused to engage in such a doubtful undertaking unless Deborah would accompany him, and thus support his efforts by her influence and counsel. Deborah consented, but assured him that because of his lack of faith, the victory gained should not bring honor to him; for Sisera would be betrayed into the hands of a woman.” The Signs of the Times, June 16, 1881.
- How was Deborah’s prophecy of victory gained, and why? Judges 4:10–22; 5:1, 2.
Note: “The Israelites were but poorly prepared for an encounter, and looked with terror upon the vast armies spread out in the plain beneath them, equipped with all the implements of warfare, and provided with the dreaded chariots of iron. These were so constructed as to be terribly destructive. Large, scythe-like knives were fastened to the axles, so that the chariots, being driven through the ranks of the enemy, would cut them down like wheat before the sickle.
“The Israelites had established themselves in a strong position in the mountains, to await a favorable opportunity for an attack. Encouraged by Deborah’s assurance that the very day had come for signal victory, Barak led his army down into the open plain, and boldly made a charge upon the enemy. The God of battle fought for Israel, and neither skill in warfare, nor superiority of numbers and equipment, could withstand them. The hosts of Sisera were panicstricken; in their terror they sought only how they might escape. Vast numbers were slain, and the strength of the invading army was utterly destroyed. The Israelites acted with courage and promptness; but God alone could have discomfited the enemy, and the victory could be ascribed to Him alone.” The Signs of the Times, June 16, 1881.
5 SAMSON AND JEPHTHAH
- Though Samson’s life shows little sign that he ever appreciated God’s calling, what evidence shows that he finally repented? Judges 16:21–31.
Note: “In suffering and humiliation, a sport for the Philistines, Samson learned more of his own weakness than he had ever known before; and his afflictions led him to repentance.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 566.
- Describe the chronic problem of Israel, and how God felt about it. Judges 10:6–16. What should we realize when tempted by the same problem today? I John 3:13.
- What was Jephthah’s background, and what was he called to do? Judges 11:1–11. What reveals his sense of reverence and trust in God? Judges 11:14, 27–32.
- How did Jephthah show his integrity and deep understanding of the solemnity of speaking before God? Judges 11:33–40; Psalm 15:1, 4, last part; Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How does the life of Gideon demonstrate the link between humility and victory?
2 In what aspects of life can the lessons from Gideon’s military strategy apply today?
3 What action is needed in order for us to become more successful soul winners?
4 Why did God choose to deliver Israel at the hand of a woman in the time of Barak?
5 In what ways do the experiences of Samson and Jephthah offer us hope?
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.