Introduction: Do you deal with fear? Do you struggle with a lack of
faith and a lack of faithfulness? I know that I do. A couple of
months ago, I was scheduled to argue before a U.S. Court of Appeals –
a court directly below the U.S. Supreme Court. That created fear.
However, shortly before I argued I preached a sermon about trusting
God and that sermon put steel in my spine. God blessed and the
argument went very well. This week our study is about men and women
facing great danger. Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and see if
we can find some steel in dealing with our problems and our fears!

  1. Judge Deborah

    1. Read Judges 4:1-3. Who are the “bad guys” here? (King
      Jabin and army commander Sisera.)

      1. What gave them power over God’s people? (God “sold
        them” because they were unfaithful. There is also the
        matter of 900 hundred iron chariots – a huge military
        advantage for the bad guys.)

    2. Read Judges 4:4-5. Who is leading God’s people at the
      time? (Deborah.)

      1. What are her qualifications to lead? (She is a
        prophet of God. God’s people come to her to resolve
        their disputes – this shows that they recognize her

  2. The Battle Plan

    1. Read Judges 4:6-7. What is the battle plan God has given
      Deborah? (Barak is to assemble 10,000 troops and go to the
      Kishon river.)

      1. Do you see any weakness in this battle plan? (Other
        than using a “lure,” it does not explain the battle
        strategy. What about the chariots? God says He will
        give them victory.)

    2. Read Judge 4:8-10. Why do you think God selected Barak to
      command the troops?

      1. Consider his words. Is he willing to disobey God?
        (Yes! He says he will do this only if Deborah goes

        1. What does this say about Deborah? (She is
          confident and confidence inspiring.)

          1. Is there any other explanation for this
            that is more favorable to Barak? (It could
            be that Barak is concerned about Deborah’s
            honesty. He figures that if she is willing
            to risk her life, she is not lying about
            God’s instructions.)

        2. We have not discussed the unusual nature of
          Deborah being the leader of Israel. How does
          Deborah confirm this cultural problem? (She
          says God will hand Sisera over to a woman – as
          if that is something unexpected or negative.)

    3. Read Judges 4:14-16. What happens despite the clear
      military advantage of horses and chariots over foot
      soldiers? (The Israelites win. They kill the entire enemy
      army and collect many chariots!)

    4. Read Judges 4:17-21. Men, are women to be trusted? (Notice
      that they are trusted by God.)

      1. Is this the reason most men these days live in houses
        and not tents?

      2. Re-read Judges 4:9. I thought Deborah meant that God
        would hand Sisera over to her. What is the point of
        God handing Sisera over to Jael? (This is a point
        about gender.)

        1. What is that point? (The point seems to be that
          if men will not lead, God will select women to
          lead. God has an initial tilt towards men.
          (Perhaps because of Genesis 3:16, which we
          recently studied.) But, at the end of the day
          God chooses the person who trusts Him,
          regardless of gender.)

    5. Read Judges 4:22-24. Have women changed the course of
      military history here? (Yes, they trusted God and this
      resulted in crushing a military powerhouse that opposed
      God’s people.)

  3. Judge Gideon

    1. Read Judges 6:1-2. Who are the bad guys now, and why do
      they hold power? (God’s people let Him down, again, and so
      God allows the Midianites to oppress His people.)

    2. Read Judges 6:3-6. What strategy do the Midianites use to
      control God’s people? (They either destroy or eat all the

    3. Read Judges 6:7-10. When the people call out to God, does
      He ignore them? (No, God sends a prophet who explains the
      reason for their problems.)

    4. Read Judges 6:11. Why is Gideon threshing wheat in a
      winepress? What difficulties does that entail? (A
      winepress is a big wood barrel. You need wind to blow the
      chaff away when you thresh wheat. A big barrel is exactly
      the place not to be if you are threshing. We can only
      conclude Gideon is doing this to hide his food from the

    5. Read Judges 6:12. Is the angel mocking Gideon? “Hey mighty
      warrior, nice barrel!”

    6. Read Judges 6:13. Who does Gideon blame for the fact that
      the “mighty warrior” is hiding in a barrel? (He seems to
      say, “I would be a lot braver if God would show up and do
      something mighty.” Gideon, like Adam, appears to be
      blaming God.)

    7. Read Judges 6:14-16. Does Gideon, like Barak, need a woman
      to put some steel in his spine?

      1. Tell me what you think God is saying in verse 16?
        (God says “All you need to win is Me. You say I’ve
        not been helping? I’m here, let’s do this together.”)

    8. Read Judges 6:17. What do you think about Gideon’s faith?

    9. Read Judges 6:20-23. Gideon says, “Please wait, I want to
      bring an offering.” What does God do for Gideon? (Gives
      him a sign. Notice the patience of God and how He works
      with Gideon’s doubts.)

    10. We are skipping over much of this amazing story. Read
      Judges 6:33 and Judges 7:19-22. How many men are with
      Gideon to attack the Midianite horde? (One hundred.)

      1. What do the one hundred attackers have in their
        hands? (A music instrument and a jar with a light in

      2. Re-read Judges 6:15. What was Gideon’s concern about
        taking on the Midianites? (He was weak and few in

      3. What is the lesson for us today? (All that is
        necessary to defeat the bad guys is God and you
        working together.)

  4. Sampson

    1. Read Judges 14:1-2. Why should Sampson demand that his
      parents retrieve a wife for him? (Read Exodus 22:17.
      Fathers were to approve a marriage.)

    2. Read Judges 14:3. Do Sampson’s parents approve? Should
      they? (Read Deuteronomy 7:1-3. They should not approve
      because Sampson seeks to marry someone who does not
      worship the true God.)

    3. Read Judges 14:4. What lesson can parents learn from this?
      That every command comes with a footnote saying that God
      makes exceptions in certain circumstances?

    4. Read Judges 14:5-9. Why did Sampson not brag about
      killing the lion and the bonus of the honey? (Leviticus
      11:39-40 reveals that Sampson’s parents would think eating
      the honey made them unclean.)

      1. What do these two events teach us? (Sampson does not
        care about the rules.)

    5. Read Judges 13:6-8 to understand the back story about
      Sampson’s birth. How do you think Sampson’s parents feel
      about his lax attitude towards God’s rules? (I’m sure they
      are very unhappy, and are thinking that they let God

    6. Read Judges 15:20 and Judges 16:1. Sampson is a Judge!
      What kind of man is he?

    7. Sampson ends up being captured and blinded by his enemies.
      Read Judges 16:25-30. Does God hear the prayers of
      sinners? (Yes.)

    8. Read Hebrews 11:32-33. How do you explain these men being
      listed in the faith “hall of fame?”

      1. God’s people were turned over to the bad guys when
        they failed to follow God. How are these men
        different? (The key is reliance on God. They were
        wobbly (or worse) in their actions, but when it
        counted, they relied on God.)

    9. Friend, will you determine today to place your reliance on
      God – to always trust Him?

  5. Next week: The Controversy Continues.