Welcome back. Today we start the New Year’s study on Gideon by Priscilla Shirer.
If you’re following along in the workbook, we’re tackling Session 1 (which I’ve listened to the audio of to prepare).
This is the introductory session, so if you are just joining us you are NOT too late. This session gives us some background on the time and people of Gideon’s day. If you’d like to just read through Gideon’s story to familiarize yourself with who he is and why someone would write a bible study about him, then just click on this link to take you to Judges 6. Judges is in the Old Testament of the Bible and Gideon’s story makes up just three chapters out of the whole Bible – Judges chapters 6 through 8.
This is what grabbed me when I reread Gideon’s story. Do you know the first thing that the writer starts with? “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.”
Gideon’s people, God’s people, the Israelites weren’t behaving well. So the Lord allowed their enemy, the Midianites, to enslave them for SEVEN years. You think you’re having a tough day? Imagine living under the oppression of your darkest enemy for seven years.
Into this story of oppression, where the enemy did not “spare a living thing,” came Gideon. Just minding his own business, threshing wheat in a winepress. The first (and second) thing he says when the angel of the Lord comes to CALL HIM to a BIG THING is, “pardon me my Lord?” The Bible shows the question marks.
It means God gets the questions we pose. And it makes me really connect to Gideon.
Priscilla focuses on HOW the people of God, who had His favor, got to such a place of devastation. This was the scary part to me. It only took a generation for the people to fall so far so fast. There were a couple of issues that Priscilla identified but the one that stopped me cold was that they didn’t know the Lord because the parents had not done the teaching. If the parents don’t tell their kids, then the kids can’t know who God is. One generation and “everyone did what was right in his own eyes….” (Judges 21:25)
This is a quote from Day 1 of our homework this week, “Israel’s experience in Gideon’s day reveals a stunning reality: we can spoil paradise and ruin God’s abundant blessing. And the quickest, most surefire way to do it is to forget the One who gave us the blessing and victory in the first place.”
So let’s jump into Gideon. This week, interestingly, we’re going to be looking at a lot of background before we dive more deeply into Gideon’s story. I look forward to studying with you!