These small group studies of Judges contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
Judges 6 Inductive Bible Study
Israel sins and is plagued by Midian (1-5)
God sends a prophet to tell them why they are being punished (6-10)
Gideon converses with the Angel of the Lord and destroys the city altar to Baal (11-27)
Joash defends his son against the town’s attacks (28-32)
Gideon begins leading the people against the invading Midianites (33-35)
God twice gives a sign by the fleece (36-40)
I. Verses 1-5
Who were the Midianites?
What kind of people?
In what way were they afflicting Israel?
What did Israel do about it?
Why were they able to afflict them?
How long did it take for Israel to cry out to God?
Why do think it took so long?
Deuteronomy 28:15-68 – The curses Israel will face if they disobey God.
Leviticus 26:14-26 – The curses Israel will face if they disobey God.
Genesis 25:2 – Abraham’s late wife bore Midian.
Genesis 37:28 – Joseph sold to the Midianites. They were traveling merchants/traders.
Verse by Verse Commentary
So the cycle begins once again.
This time the affliction seems even far worse than in previous times. When Ehud delivered them they only needed to take a tribute to Moab. Now the Midianites were regularly raiding the area and stealing away everything of value. Each year for seven years the Israelites planted crops, weeded the fields, raised animals, only to have the Midianites swoop in on their camels and take everything they had worked so hard to grow. What was the solution? They apparently couldn’t fight them off. They didn’t have the horses/camels necessary to chase them down. Not growing crops would have been even more catastrophic. Imagine you work hard every day of the week and get your money from the boss at the end of the month (yeah, I know they will wire it to your bank account). On the way home, your money is stolen by a neighborhood thief. He not only takes your money, but anything else of value you have on you. He then makes you take him to your home and takes anything of value he sees there. The next month the same thing happens. This goes on for SEVEN years! This is something like what the Israelites were facing. Sometimes they didn’t even take the produce themselves. They merely destroyed it out of spite/hate. They are compared to locusts who descend on a land and just wipe out everything there. How did they live? Later we see. Hiding small amounts and trying to keep any little bit from the Midianites.
After seven years, the people of Israel cried out to God for help (notice that later in the chapter we see some of them are still loyal to Baal and Asherah. Maybe the first 6 years they were crying out to these for help, but of course to no avail.
II. Verses 6-10
Did God respond to their cries for help the same way as previously?
What’s the difference?
What did he do first this time before helping them?
What reason was given for why they were facing this trouble?
Psalms 78:34, Psalms 106:44 – God answered their cries
1 Samuel 15:22 – Does the Lord like sacrifices as much as obedience?
This time God first sent a prophet to them. Prophets were rare at this point in history. God apparently wanted to back up the action with words, to use this chance as an opportunity to teach them again verbally about their disobedience and need for repentance. Its kind of like when a parent spanks a kid, it is very helpful to clearly tell the reason. They probably know the reason and they have heard it before, but its just another reminder. This was another reminder to them about their disobedience. The lesson is very clear. Disobedience brings punishment.
III. Verses 11-27
Why was Gideon beating out wheat in the wine press?
Who is the Angel of the LORD here? How do you know?
Why do you think He called Gideon “valiant warrior”?
Had Gideon done anything valiant yet?
What does this tell us about how God looks at us?
What question does Gideon ask?
How does the LORD answer?
What other OT encounter does this remind you of? (Moses)
What are the similarities?
Why does Gideon ask for a sign?
Did the LORD give him a sign? Why?
Here Gideon is commanded to tear down the false idol/altar? What do think of this idea?
If your friends or family, have an idol do you think it is good to destroy it?
Why or why not?
What can you learn from the words “orderly manner”?
What applications can we get from this?
Why did Gideon do this at night? What did this show about him?
Hebrews 11:32 – Gideon received an honorable mention in the hall of faith.
Exodus 3-4 – Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush.
Deuteronomy 29:24-28 – People will ask why Israel is in waste and the answer is because they broke their covenant with the Lord.
Deuteronomy 31:16-18 – These disasters did indeed come upon them because God was not with them.
Exodus 3:12, Joshua 1:5 – Promises of the Lord to be with Moses and Joshua.
Genesis 24:14, Exodus 4:1-9 – Two cases of asking God for a sign.
Genesis 32:30, Judges 13:22-23, Isaiah 6:5-8, Daniel 10:17-19 – Responses from those who saw God in some form.
Genesis 35:2, Job 22:23 – God wants to work with those who are pure.
John 3:2 – Nicodemus came to Jesus by night.
Verse by Verse Commentary
Angel of the LORD = Pre-incarnate Christ.
Explain why Gideon was beating out wheat in press. This was how they survived, trying to save as much grain and produce as they could.
Amazing that the LORD calls Gideon a mighty warrior when he is hiding in a wine press beating out a few sacks of grain. Doesn’t exactly look like a mighty warrior. It takes a long time before he does. Several times he asks for signs, expresses doubts, or offers excuses, yet finally he is a mighty warrior. God seems to look at us not how we are, but how He wants us to be or how we will be. Peter, Moses, Paul are all examples of this. God uses many things to shape people into the mold He wants them to be. This is very encouraging. God can use anyone. He also can look past our weaknesses to see our God-given strengths. Why he could be a valiant warrior? Because God is with him.
To Gideon, it didn’t appear that God was with him because of all the troubles they had been facing. Apparently he didn’t have a good grasp of Deuteronomy and other books/teachings. This in fact was God’s way of disciplining them for their obedience. Instead of thinking that God left them, he should have realized they had left God. They were the cause of their sufferings.
What does it mean in this your strength? The strength that comes from the Lord. God sent him.
This encounter is much like the one with Moses where Moses offers many doubts and reasons not to do it as well as asking for a sign.
Maybe God chose Gideon because he was the youngest and the least in Manasseh. However, it also appears that Gideon is using the “Chinese” way to appear humble and that it is not entirely the case. We see later that he, the youngest of his whole family, had ten servants. His father appears to have much influence and might even be the head of that town. So Gideon is probably exaggerating like when Chinese have very nice houses and go on and on about how small and cheap they are (BTW, there are actually a lot of similarities between Israel culture and Chinese!).
Gideon recognized who this was and knew it was appropriate to offer a sacrifice. When seeing the LORD face to face, one will always become more aware of their own sin and His grace.
In verse 17 Gideon asked for a sign. In verse 21, the LORD obliged.
Gideon was scared when he knew who this was. This is also a normal and healthy response.
He was told to destroy the idol. Talk about this concept and when it might be and when it might not be appropriate. What is the principle here? God wants all His people to be clean of evil, contaminating influences, especially those who are doing his work. As believers, we should get rid of all such evil influences in our lives and homes, especially those of us doing ministry. Again and again in the Bible we see this model. First, purify/consecrate yourself. Second, do something for God. We should be sure to regularly cleanse ourselves spiritually. Keep up regular confession.
He went at night out of fear. He was not yet that valiant, brave, warrior.
IV. Verses 28-32
Phrase Joash’s reasoning in your own words?
What does Jerubbael mean?
Psalms 115:4-7 – Idols are made by man’s hands, silver and gold.
1 Kings 18:27-29 – Elijah mocks their false gods.
Joash gave a reasonable defense for his son. If Baal was true, let him do something about it himself. He threatened to put to death those who kept defending Baal. It is very interesting that this was actually Joash’s altar, but he didn’t seem to care that it was destroyed. Apparently it was just a token idol that he didn’t really believe in or he just cared about his son even more.
Gideon starts to lead by calling together all of nearby Israel to fight against the Midianites.
V. Verses 33-40
Why does Gideon again ask for a sign, not once but twice? Do you think this is good or bad?
What does God’s response show about His character?
How can this sign come to pass?
Do you think it is appropriate to ask God for a sign today? Why or why not?
Discuss asking for a sign.
God was gracious to grant it to him. God doesn’t just see our weaknesses and then decide not to use us. He graciously forgives us and continues to show His mercy and grace to us even when we don’t deserve it.
This was a miracle.
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