The Book of Judges describes a period in Israel’s history before they had a king. It was a time when everyone did whatever they thought was right; consequently it was also a time of unfaithfulness, disobedience to God and one in which Israel suffered many defeats by her enemies. Yet, all was not dark. In the book of Judges we meet amazing individuals such as Deborah, a female Judge was courageously obeyed God and set an example of courage in the midst of adversity. We meet Gideon, the reluctant leader who nonetheless obeyed God, and Samson, whose life ended in disaster because he was unable to look past the beauty of the women around him. We’ll also read the story of Ruth, one of the greatest love stories of all time.
Purpose: To learn from the experience of those in these stories who obeyed or disobeyed God and how that affected their relationship with him and others.
- How would you explain the Israelite’s pattern of falling away from God, getting in trouble, crying out for help, being delivered and falling away again?
- Do you experience ups and down in your relationship with God? With others? Why is that so?
- Do you think God might use other nations to “test” our country as he did with Israel? If so, explain and give an example if you can.
- What lessons do you learn from the experiences of Deborah?
- Do you think faith can be a source of courage? Explain.
- Do you think Gideon was bold or timid? Why?
- God was clearly guiding Gideon. Does God still guide people today? How? How can you find God’s guidance?
- How would you characterize the way Samson related to women? Why do you think he was that way?
- How can (or do) you develop healthy relationships with those of the opposite sex? What helps finders that development?
- What character traits are most evident in Ruth’s life? Which do you admire most? Why is that so?
- What character traits would others say are most evident in your life? Which of Ruth’s character traits would you like to develop or develop more?
Before the Next Time: Ask God to show you how you can work through, in his strength, any issues you are facing. Recall the pitfalls Samson fell into and ask for help to avoid any pitfalls in your life. Identify any areas where you need greater faithfulness and ask for help to avoid any pitfalls in your life. Identify any areas where you need greater faithfulness and ask for God to help you have the same faithfulness Ruth had.