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Summary: THE BIG IDEA: Just like Gideon and the judges in Israel, God has called and chosen us to encounter Jesus and make a difference in the world for good.

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THE STORY #8: A FEW GOOD MEN… AND WOMEN: (JUDGES)

INTRO TO TOPIC:

We are in week #8 of the Story: Right after the death of Joshua, the Bible says:

• “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6, NKJV).

THE CYCLES IN JUDGES:

• Israel does evil in the eyes of God, God allows them to be enslaved,

• Israel cries out to the Lord, God raises up a judge (military leaders; champions),

• Israel is delivered, there is peace and Israel serves the Lord. *Rinse and Repeat*

SOME OF THE DIFFERENT JUDGES:

• Deborah - God uses women as well as men! (Judges 4-5)

• Gideon - a weak, small and insignificant farmer, battled Midianites (Judges 6-8)

• Samson - worldly compromiser – God uses imperfect people (Judges 13-16)

- battled the Philistines

DEBORAH: Character Vignette (Judges 4)

Hi, my name is Deborah, and I was one of the mighty judges of Israel. When the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, we were harshly oppressed by the wicked Jabin, the king of Canaan. His military leader was a terrible man named Sisera. During this time, I was a prophetess and would sit under the palm tree, and the people would come to me for guidance.

Well, God gave me a word for Barak, and I told him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men, and I will deliver Sisera into your hand!” But do you know what Barak said to me? He said, “If you will go with me, then I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go!”

So I told him I would go with him, but nevertheless there would be no glory for him in his battle, and the Lord would defeat Sisera by the hand of a woman.

Long story short, We fought against Sisera and his 900 chariots of iron, and I gave a rousing speech to Barak, “Rise up! For this is the day the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand!” And the Lord routed Sisera’s army with the edge of the sword, but Sisera escaped! He had found his way to hide in the tent of a woman named Jael, and she let him in and hid him under a blanket. She gave him some milk to drink, and after he fell asleep, took a hammer and drove a tent peg into his temple, and this terrible terrorist died! All because of the courage of this brave woman.

And so today I want you to know that God uses women as well as men, and will use you to do great things for Him if you trust in Him!

BACKGROUND TO THE STORY: Forty years after Deborah:

“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains.” (Judges 6:1-2, NKJV).

• The Midianites, Amalekites and people of the East would team up against them (v.3).

• They destroyed their crops and livestock, and left them impoverished (v.4-6).

• They were broke, discouraged, depressed and hopeless. They were hiding in caves!

1. GIDEON WAS CALLED AND CHOSEN:

“Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!"” (Judges 6:11-12, NKJV).

• What do we learn about Gideon here? He was fearful – hiding in the winepress.

• Who is the Angel of the Lord? Possibly a Christophony – an appearance of Jesus.

• He called him a “mighty man of valor.” I’m sure his response was: “Who me?”

• Why did God call him a mighty man of valor? He was speaking to his potential!

“Gideon said to Him, "O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” (Judges 6:13, NKJV).

• Look at Gideon’s response when God called him: “If…”, “Why…”, “Where…”, and “The Lord has forsaken us.” He had questions, doubts and discouragements.

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