Perspective 1- Barb Miles

The Israelites, why didn’t God give up on them?

In this chapter we learned of three people whom God sent to turn the Israelites from worshipping false Gods.

First Deborah, the only woman of the three, who was a judge, or prophetess, and held court under a honey tree.

Next was Gideon,who did not feel qualified to lead the Israelites.  He was again, someone who was not already qualified to lead, but God qualified him to lead.  God was  patient with Gideon as Gideon asked God to be patient and give him reason to believe that God trusted him to lead.  Gideon needed to see proof of God’s presence.

Lastly Samson, who was also born of a barren mother, and was a Nazarite from conception (born to serve God).  He was tricked by Delilah his wife, to finally give in and tell her where he got his strength.  This weakness only led to his own demise.

Even though these leaders were placed in the throngs of the Israelites, none were able to convince the Israelites from generation to generation to follow God.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Perspective 2- Dan Petrak

Perspective 3- Laura Rath

Chapter 8 felt long and tedious to read for me. However, there were certain points I spent time thinking about or went to the Bible to explore further.

  • Why were there whole generations who didn’t know God and all He had done for the Israelites? Were parents not teaching their children, or were the children turning away from God on their own?
  • Over the years, God gave them chance after chance to follow Him. With each judge He raised up, He saved them from their enemies, and gave the people another chance to worship and serve Him. And yet, every time the judge died, the people returned to their false gods and evil ways.
  • Although women were not held in high regard, God consistently goes against the cultural norm and includes women in His plans, using them for His good. We know of Rahab from chapter 7, and now Deborah, prophet and judge, and Jael, who killed Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army.
  • “But God was looking for a faithful follower, not a decorated soldier.” (pg. 108 The Story) I love this reminder that God knows our hearts. Despite what others may see, God knows who has turned away from Him, and whose faith needs some encouragement from Him. Gideon asked God for three different signs that it really was the Lord talking to him, and that what God was telling him was true and would really happen. Never did God get frustrated with Gideon, but instead was patient and obliged his requests. God knew Gideon’s heart and what he could do through God.
  • Nothing is impossible with God. Once again, God gives a son (Sampson) to a woman who cannot have children. When God works, He works in ways that cannot be mistaken as the work of humans.

Perspective 4- Diane Schmidt

I have two different thoughts:

1. Gideon intrigues me. He has grown up in a country that teaches about God and all his wonders and yet they don’t live to follow God. They worship other gods and have turned their backs on God. So when Gideon, who doesn’t think himself much anyway, youngest member of the weakest clan, is approached by the angel of the Lord he is full of doubt. He is willing to follow God, and even seems to be hoping that it’s really true; all the things he’s learned about the wonders of God. But he has so much doubt that he is willing to request “proof” that God is with him. And he continues to ask for proof. I think testing God would be a bad idea but then I can understand where Gideon would really want to know that God is with him and will guide and help him as he goes into battle. Then God does something truly amazing. He takes the army and dwindles it to almost nothing and they win! I love an underdog, especially when the victory goes to God.

2. We just don’t get it do we? And neither did the Israelites. God does some amazing things and they love him and worship him and then they just turn their backs on him and go the other way. What is that? Why is that? When we know that God is for us and with us why are we so drawn to moving in the opposite direction? As the Israelites found out over and over again, it’s horrible to turn from God, you become a slave, you go hungry, you are oppressed. Even though they turned their backs, God never gave up on them. I like to know that if he did that for the Israelites he will do if for me. I also like knowing that God sends people to help us, lead us, show us the right path. He sent Gideon, Deborah and Samson to the Israelites and he sends folks to us. So God never gives up on us and he sends others to walk with us. What a great God we have.