Text: Judges 8 In a Nutshell: Spiritual maturity is not something you do, nor someplace to which you arrive. It is a discipline that demands constant attention to detail and ongoing discernment through Scripture and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Even the most revered spiritual leaders are susceptible to spiritual arrogance. Gideon shows us patterns for both spiritual growth and spiritual decline.
Ice Breaker: Can you name any famous “good people” that apparently fell into enjoying their success selfishly rather than using it for the good of all?
CONNECTING WITH THE TEXT: 1. How might God’s observation/accusation in Judges 7:2 shed light on what takes place in Judges 8:1-3? 2. In the early years of Judges we see the other nations becoming the “thorns” and “snares” to Israel. (Judges 2:1-3) Later, as the moral depravity increases, who do the Israelites find themselves fighting? (Judges 8:1-18) 3. What did the people of Israel want Gideon and his sons to do? And what was Gideon’s response? Jg. 8:22-23 4. What does the name of Gideon’s son by the concubine mean? (Jg. 8:30-31) Why would Gideon have so many wives & concubines? 5.What did Gideon ask from the people, how did he use it? And how did Israel ultimately respond to it? Jg. 8:24-27
6. What patterns help us to be effective in our knowledge of God, and can help prevent us from falling? 2 Peter 1:3-10
REFLECTING ON YOUR LIFE:
1. Describe a success that you have enjoyed which if you aren’t careful could “go to your head and possibly become a “snare”? 2. Have you ever said with your mouth one thing but your heart lead you somewhere else such as Gideon’s “refusal” to become a King? 3. How might people today turn a desire to “hear from God” into a type of “ephod” (Ex. 28:15-30) which ultimately illustrates a fickleness or selfish arrogance?
PATTERNS seen in the life of Gideon and the culture of Israel:
- Patterns for growth in the leader are humility, obedience, gratitude, and cooperation.
- Patterns for decline in the leader are arrogance, grasping for authority, manipulation and vindictiveness.
- Patterns for growth in the kingdom are willingness to serve, faith in the place of fear, and trust that gives way to obedience.
- Patterns for decline in the kingdom are distrust of her leaders, defiance, self-preservation, fear and disunity.
CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHURCH: 6. How can a person protect themselves from falling into spiritual arrogance and longing for attention once they have done great things for God? 7. How can a person know when it is appropriate for them to say “Ok, I will lead?” Or, “it’s not time for me to lead?”
NEXT WEEK: Title: “"Samson's Addictions" Text: Judges 14-16 Questions: How many places do we see Samson ignoring wisdom and making unwise choices? How much does a person’s “ability” to do whatever they want seem to limit their tendency to make right chooses? Judges 14-16, Luke 18:18-23; 1 Cor. 6:12 Parents with your children: How can I talk to children about addictions? What does the Bible say about addictions?