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  For The Lord And For Gideon

C: There is no dream that is too distant for us if we do it for God and his kingdom. In this lesson we'll see how faithless Gideon led Israel to an amazing victory over the Midianites.

1. Eliminate Self-Reliance

Judges 7:1-8
1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh.
2 The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her,
3 announce now to the people, 'Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.'" So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.
4 But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there. If I say, 'This one shall go with you,' he shall go; but if I say, 'This one shall not go with you,' he shall not go."
5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the LORD told him, "Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink."
6 Three hundred men lapped with their hands to their mouths. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.
7 The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place."
8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites to their tents but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others. Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley.

C: In verse 1, we read that they all camped out early in the morning. But then God said something amazing to Gideon. He said, "you have too many men for me to help you" (v.2).

Q: Why did God say this? [He did not want them to boast that their own strength had saved them (v.2).]

C: So Gideon announced to the men that anyone who was afraid could go home, and he lost 22,000 out of 32,000 men. Only 10,000 men remained. Then God told Gideon that he still had too many men (v.4). So God sent the men to drink. Everyone who drank water with their hands was chosen to fight. But those who drank like a dog were told to go home, too. So only 300 men were left!

C: Sometimes we think that everything is going against us. But this is so that God can show that it is his power working, and not our own. For example, perhaps you are looking for a job, and everyone turns you down. This is God's chance to show his power when you pray. Or you invite a lot of people, and no one comes. This is God telling you to pray, so that he can bring a visitor through you. Or you face a family problem, and no matter how much you try to help, it doesn't get better. Again, God is teaching you to pray. So let's pray instead of relying on our own strength. Let's pray every morning. And let's pray all day, whenever we need help.

2. Ask Them to Follow

Judges 7:15-25
15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, "Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands."
16 Dividing the three hundred men into three companies, he placed trumpets and empty jars in the hands of all of them, with torches inside.
17 "Watch me," he told them. "Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do.
18 When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, 'For the LORD and for Gideon.'"
19 Gideon and the hundred men with him reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after they had changed the guard. They blew their trumpets and broke the jars that were in their hands.
20 The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, "A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!"
21 While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.
22 When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the LORD caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords. The army fled to Beth Shittah toward Zererah as far as the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.
23 Israelites from Naphtali, Asher and all Manasseh were called out, and they pursued the Midianites.
24 Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against the Midianites and seize the waters of the Jordan ahead of them as far as Beth Barah." So all the men of Ephraim were called out and they took the waters of the Jordan as far as Beth Barah.
25 They also captured two of the Midianite leaders, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. They pursued the Midianites and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon, who was by the Jordan.

C: Gideon went to spy on the Midianites as they slept. There he heard a man talking about his dream, and he realised that the man had dreamt about Gideon being victorious. He was very fired up (v.15). Verses 17-18 show his great leadership. He said 5 things:
1) Watch me.
2) Follow my lead.
3) Do exactly as I do.
4) Do it all together.
5) Do it for God and for me.

C: These things are the keys to great leadership. We must watch our leaders, and follow them closely. The best way to grow is to imitate. And when we are united, doing things together, it is very encouraging. And we must do it all for God and also for each other.

C: In this passage we see that all together they smashed their jars and blew their trumpets, shouting, "a sword for the Lord and for Gideon" (v.20). The Midianites were so afraid that they ran away (v.21). And the Israelites won a great victory. We can do the same thing if we stick together and stick to our leaders.

3. Talk Sensitively

Judges 8:1-3
1 Now the Ephraimites asked Gideon, "Why have you treated us like this? Why didn't you call us when you went to fight Midian?" And they criticized him sharply.
2 But he answered them, "What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren't the gleanings of Ephraim's grapes better than the full grape harvest of Abiezer?
3 God gave Oreb and Zeeb, the Midianite leaders, into your hands. What was I able to do compared to you?" At this, their resentment against him subsided.

C: After the great victory, some guys had bad attitudes. The people of Ephraim felt bad that Gideon had not called them to fight (v.1). Gideon could have rebuked them. Instead, he was sensitive, and he encouraged them, explaining that they had earlier overcome the kings Oreb and Zeeb, which was an even greater victory (v.3). When they heard his kind words, they calmed down.

C: Sometimes people get bad attitudes. They feel "hurt" and left out. When this happens, we should not be angry. Instead, we should speak to them gently and encourage them, helping them to change by being loving. Loving words work much better than harsh words.

4. Never Lack Compassion

Judges 8:4-7
4 Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it.
5 He said to the men of Succoth, "Give my troops some bread; they are worn out, and I am still pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian."
6 But the officials of Succoth said, "Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your troops?"
7 Then Gideon replied, "Just for that, when the LORD has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with desert thorns and briers."

Q: After all the fighting, how did Gideon and the 300 men feel (v.4)? [Tired, chasing the Midianites.]

When they asked the men of Succoth for bread, what answer did they get? [The officials said, "why should we help you" (v.6).]

Q: Have you ever faced a school official or a government bureaucrat who just did not want to help you? What was it like? {Let a few people share.}

C: These men lacked compassion. Instead of thinking of the hunger and thirst of those men, they thought about rules and regulations. But God saw what they were doing.

Judges 8:15-21
15 Then Gideon came and said to the men of Succoth, "Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me by saying, 'Do you already have the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna in your possession? Why should we give bread to your exhausted men?'"
16 He took the elders of the town and taught the men of Succoth a lesson by punishing them with desert thorns and briers.
17 He also pulled down the tower of Peniel and killed the men of the town.
18 Then he asked Zebah and Zalmunna, "What kind of men did you kill at Tabor?" "Men like you," they answered, "each one with the bearing of a prince."
19 Gideon replied, "Those were my brothers, the sons of my own mother. As surely as the LORD lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you."
20 Turning to Jether, his oldest son, he said, "Kill them!" But Jether did not draw his sword, because he was only a boy and was afraid.
21 Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Come, do it yourself. 'As is the man, so is his strength.'" So Gideon stepped forward and killed them, and took the ornaments off their camels' necks.

Q: What happened to the men who did not care for Gideon and his men? [They saw that Gideon had conquered Zebah and Zalmunna, and they were punished by desert thorns and briers (vv.15-16).]

Q: Why did God want this punishment for them? [Because they had been selfish when God gave them a chance to help his people.]

C: The next time someone is unkind to you when you are evangelising or following up, remember this passage, for it shows how God treats those who have been unkind to others.


Gideon was a great man. He faced an impossible task, but he was victorious through God's power. If we can copy him, we'll be very happy.