Sometimes, the greatest battles we fight are with ourselves. What we think about ourselves can push us toward the greatness God has for us or keep us away from it. Who we allow to influence us can propel us or hold us back. In this lesson, we talk about Gideon and how God called him to be a great warrior for the people of Israel, but he faced some challenges.
- Why do we have negative thoughts about ourselves sometimes?
- Does what we have or don’t have affect how we or other people view us?
- Who controls how we feel about ourselves?
- When someone reinforces positivity in us, do we think better of ourselves? Why or why not?
- How does it feel when you receive unexpected support?
Now, the children of Israel had strayed from God, even worshipping the false god Baal. As a result, God allowed the Midianites to overpower the children of Israel. The children of Israel felt crushed in their spirits. They called out to God. The Midianites along with the Amalekites and people from the East would come into the land and completely devour crops and take the animals. The people resorted to hiding what they produced. When God heard the people’s cry, he called forth a warrior to stand and fight. His name was Gideon.
One day, Gideon was processing wheat at the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. While he was there, an angel appeared to him. The angel greeted him by saying, “The Lord is with you man of valor.” When Gideon heard the greeting, he questioned whether God was with the people because they suffered. He did not see the great deeds of God their ancestors told stories of from their younger days. Gideon pronounced that God had forsaken the people. The Lord responded, “Go in your might and save the people. Am I not sending you to save the people?” Then Gideon asked, “How can I save the people? My tribe is the smallest, and I am the least in my family.” Again, the Lord told Gideon that he would be with him. However, Gideon doubted and asked for proof. God responded to Gideon’s request, and Gideon knew that he had been in the presence of an angel.
Later that night, God told Gideon that he wanted him to pull down the altar built for the false god Baal. God told him to take two of his father’s bulls to complete the task. After he had pulled it down, Gideon was to build an altar for God instead and make a sacrifice of one of the bulls there. Gideon did what God said, taking ten of his menservants with him. Yet, Gideon did it at night because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town.
When the men of the town woke up the next morning, they saw what had been done to the altar of Baal, but they did not know who had done it. They investigated and discovered that it was Gideon. The men called Gideon’s father, Joash, and asked him to turn Gideon over to them, so he could die for breaking the altar of Baal. However, Joash would not give up Gideon. Instead, Joash stood firm and asked, “Are you fighting on behalf of the god Baal or are you trying to save him?” Then, he continued, “If he is a god, let him fight for himself.” Gideon remained alive.
Source: Judges 6
- What happened in this story?
- What three battles or challenges did Gideon face in this story, and why did he face them?
- How did Gideon win his battles? Did he have to fight for himself?
- And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” Judges 6:12 ESV
- And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” Judges 6:15-16 ESV
- Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” Therefore, on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar. Judges 6:30-32 ESV
- If God is with you, you’ve already won despite what you or other people think.
- God will use unexpected means to overcome your challenges.
- Sometimes, support for your win comes from unexpected places.
- Stand firm on what is right, and watch God win your battle.
Father God, thank you for having faith in us, even when we don’t have faith in ourselves or the abilities you have given us. Help us to see ourselves as you see us. Help us to see that we have already won because you are with us. Help us to overcome any challenge we face because we’re standing on your righteousness. We ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.
See yourself and your situation through God’s eyes.
After reading this story about Gideon, what did you learn and how will you apply what you learned to your life?