An Unexpected Journey
There is a powerpoint for use with this lesson.
Leader Note: If you do a search for a free font called Ringbearer you will find a Lord of the Rings type font. I do not guarantee any site you download it from so be careful!
Show movie trailer for the Hobbit:
Ask: If you were to go on an unexpected journey, what would it look like?
Have students write down or discuss in groups the high points of their journey!
Say: We are going to look at an unexpected journey of a guy named Gideon. Judges is a book in the Old Testament where Israel would have a leader for a period of time only to go back and “Do evil in the eyes of the Lord.” For seven years the Midianites had oppressed the Israelites so badly they were living in mountain clefts and caves. Our passage picks up in Judges 6:7-10.
Read Judges 6:7-10
One phrase spoken in the trailer is “So, this is your purpose?” (It was spoken by Elrond, an elf, in case you need to know for any reason.)
Ask: From this passage of scripture what was part of Israel’s purpose?
Probable response: Worship another god
Make note the Israelites did not listen. Israel’s purpose was to listen to God and be obedient.
This is the Israelite background for Gideon’s journey. God has a purpose for Gideon also.
Read Judges 6:14; 25-26
God’s purpose for Gideon was to save Israel from the Midianites as seen in verse 14. However, before Gideon can embark on this journey he must deal with an issue at home. Gideon’s family was worshiping a false god named Baal. Gideon could not carry out God’s purpose while the family worshiped a false god. This would have gone against two of the Ten Commandments. The first is you shall have no other gods besides me. The second is not to use God’s name in vain. If Gideon were to try carrying out God’s plan of attack then he would have been fighting in the name of God. If the family were worshiping Baal, then Gideon would have also been using God’s name in vain.
What issues get in the way of people following God’s purpose for their life?
What issues get in the way of you following God’s purpose for your life?
Say: In the trailer Gandalf says “Perhaps it is because I am afraid and he gives me courage.” Gideon needed courage.
Read Judges 6:23-24; 27
We do not see the word courage in this passage. Verses 23-24 takes place after Gideon realized he was having a conversation with the actual angel of the Lord. Gideon experienced such a peace he decided to build altar to honor God.
How might peace give you courage to follow God’s purpose for your life?
In the midst of making a tough decision you may pray about it. God may grant you peace. This peace gives you the courage to move forward.
(You could share a story from your life to illustrate this point)
In verse 27 Gideon is carrying out what we discussed in verses 25-26. In the other verses Gideon received peace because he was afraid.
What do you think this verse means in regards to Gideon’s peace and courage?
Can you be afraid while having peace and courage at the same time?
Say: Gideon immediately does what God had asked. The verse notes he did it at night because he was afraid of his family and townspeople. A lot of people may be disappointed over this fact. Maybe Gideon is not afraid of the possibility of dying at the hands of these people. If you were afraid of what the family and townspeople would do to you then wouldn’t you run away? The rest of the story shows Gideon did not run away. So what is he afraid of? In this situation the family and townspeople would have stopped him from tearing everything down if they witnessed the act. He is afraid of being stopped not over the possibility of dying otherwise he would have run away. His courage coming from his peace with God motivated him to think through the situation so he could accomplish the task.
Say: In the trailer Thorin, a legendary warrior, issues a statement about the dwarves. He would rather have each of these dwarves over the mightiest army. Let’s see how Gideon’s story parallels this idea.
Read Judges 6:12; 15
There is a difference between how God views Gideon and how Gideon views himself.
Why do you think God chose Gideon?
Say: God can use a person for his purpose regardless of social position. Gideon is part of the weakest clan and is the least in his family. We are not really told why God chose Gideon. What we do see is Gideon was important to God.
Ask: What does this mean for you?
End by reviewing the points for the night:
How to make the most out of an unexpected journey
God has a Purpose for me
Rely on God’s peace and courage
Remember I am important to God