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God Calls Gideon

“And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?” (v. 14).

It was during the Friday night missions service at the annual camp meeting in Petersburg, Michigan. The missionary leader had preached. Now he was appealing to everyone, especially young people, to offer themselves to God for Christian service.

A large number of people responded by going to the altar and front of the tabernacle. I was a preteen in that service fifty years ago and was one of many who responded to the invitation. When I offered myself to God, He responded by calling me into His ministry. The assurance of His call has inspired and impelled my life since that day.

Gideon had a “God moment.” The angel of the LORD who met with Gideon was probably Jesus Christ himself! This is what theologians call a theophany — an Old Testament appearance of Jesus.

The message of the Lord was clear and specific. Gideon was to rescue Israel from the Midianites. Gideon was very confident of His inability to be used by God, but God assured Him of His presence.

Someone said, “God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called.” While God does often use people who have natural abilities, He seems to specialize in gifting people who have few natural gifts but who surrender themselves to His call. (Mark D. Avery)

Are you listening? Will you hear when God speaks to you?

Gideon: A Man of Valor

Focus Text: Judges 6:11-16; 7:16-23

Central Truth: God gives us victory as we follow His leading.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to choose one area of life in which they will take a stand for the Lord.

Lesson Outline:

I. A Deliverer Called (Judges 6:11-16)

II. Preparation for Battle (Judges 7:16-18)

III. Courage Brings Victory (Judges 7:19-23)

A Thoughtful Man

Work together to create a word picture of Moses for your character notebook.

Moses was a thoughtful man who was instructed by God and chosen to lead.

Moses appears to have had a temperament that was logical, self-sacrificing, gifted, and perfectionistic. Have the class find incidents in his life that illustrate these things.

Did God use Moses' natural temperament, or did God give special gifts to Moses for his life work?

A Prayer of Moses

“And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my LORD be great, according as thou hast spoken” (v. 17).

Moses and Aaron had been voted out; Israel was ready to stone them! When God threatened to wipe out these grumblers, Moses stood in the gap. In his prayer, Moses used God’s own promises of protection and provision to implore Him to cancel the death sentence. Other nations had observed God’s provision for this great throng and to wipe them off the map would destroy the nations’ respect for God.

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” (James 5:16b). We should never underestimate the power of a single prayer. As pilgrims on this planet, we have a Christian duty to pray for those who have spiritual or physical needs. This begins with our families and extends to the far reaches of the world. Prayer is an investment that pays extraordinary dividends for eternity. Heaven will reveal the miracles wrought through prayer!

We are the seed-sowers, and God delivers the harvest. The prayers of Moses are scattered throughout the Books of Exodus and Numbers. Sometimes the “people cried to Moses,” and at other times he discerned the spiritual void in his people. Thank God for forgiveness and that His mercies are new every morning. We don’t want our children to reap the remunerations of our sins. Stand in the gap for your family and generations to follow! May God keep us faithful in prayer and shower His blessings of mercy to a thousand generations. (Beverly K. Tatum)

Be Thou my Guardian and my Guide; And hear me when I call; Let not my slippery footsteps slide, And hold me lest I fall. — Isaac Williams

Lord, help us to be faithful to our generation and leave behind road signs pointing to the heavenly path!

What Was Sarah Like?

Do a page in your character notebook for Sarah.

Sarah was an active woman who laughed in disbelief, believed the impossible, and then laughed in happiness.

Sarah appears to have been a peppery, lively, animated, practical, and strong-willed woman. See Genesis 21:10 and Genesis 16:6. Can a person like that be used by God? List her character traits with examples from her life to prove your point.

Why was Sarah able to believe God for the impossible?

Getting Ahead of God

“Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (v. 5).

The fact that Sarah laughed (Gen. 18:10-12) when she heard that God was going to give her a son in her old age is not of importance. Didn’t Abraham also laugh earlier upon receiving this message? (Gen. 17:17). What is of importance is that she adorned herself with trust in God, “obeyed Abraham,” and followed her husband’s journey of faith.

Catherine was a tender, compassionate woman. She also was a woman of deep faith and great conviction. She was a quiet, reserved woman. This she overcame, however, in her desire to serve Christ. She accompanied her husband William to tent revivals as he preached throughout England. Later she became his strong supporter as together they founded the Salvation Army in their desire to reach the poor in England with the gospel. William Booth was blessed to have a godly wife who was adorned by the hidden man of the heart, an ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, and an astounding depth of trust in God. (L. Gayle Woods)

Any man is blessed to have a godly wife who is adorned by the hidden man of the heart, an ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, and an astounding depth of trust in God.

Sarah: Faith for the Impossible

Focus Text: Genesis 18:10-14; 21:1-8; Hebrews 11:11, 12

Central Truth: We can believe God for the miraculous.

Objective: By the end of this lesson my students should be able to list areas in their lives in which they need more faith.

Lesson Outline:

I. A Promise Given (Gen. 18:10-14)
II. A Promise Fulfilled (Gen. 21:1-8)
III. A Promise Believed (Heb. 11:11, 12)

Word Pictures

This quarter you may want to create a notebook with word pictures of each of the characters that will be studied. Focus on the character of each person and the lessons that can be learned from the study.

Abraham was a quiet man who was obedient, had a quick response, and received a blessing. Describe the temperament of Abraham. Was he calm, quiet, mild, meek, easygoing, and well-balanced? Use examples from the life of Abraham to illustrate each of these traits.

Study the lesson to find Abraham's good traits and his bad traits.

Sign of the Covenant

“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised” (v. 10).

I still remember the look of panic when as a young boy, I asked my Sunday school teacher what circumcision meant and why Abraham had to be circumcised! She stumbled around for a minute, and then finally said that some things weren’t discussed in Sunday school!

Humor aside, it is important to understand why circumcision was a sign between God and man. Throughout Scripture, there are multiple times that God gave a sign of His covenant to His people. And in this passage, God appoints that covenant sign to confirm, to strengthen, and to establish Abraham’s faith. Just as God changed Abraham’s name to reiterate the promises that He had made to him, now God is going to give him a sign. It is a permanent physical sign so that everywhere Abraham went, he couldn’t get away from the sign that God gave him that He would be faithful to keep His promises. Thomas Chisholm got it right when he penned the words of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” (Robert W. Booth)

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

As you go through today, remember that God keeps His promises!