An 8-week series exploring ordinary people in the book of Judges who did the extraordinary.
This product, like all our resources, is a download item.
- Series artwork for promotional & presentational purposes (cover slide and blank text slide).
- Lessons come in both Word & PDF format. Edit as needed and easily share with volunteers.
- Fun opening games
- Creative, relevant teachings
- Interactive small group activities
- Engaging small group discussion questions
It is sometimes easy to forget that the books of the Old Testament are not just a collection of stories with little application to our everyday lives. The OT books are filled with vivid examples of God’s love, mercy, and justice. The book of Judges is a wonderful example of this. Each story that we will study will help us gain a deeper insight into what it means to be one of God’s heroes. This series will not be a verse-by-verse exposition but an examination of some key stories and from the book of Judges.
Lesson 1: The Age of Heroes
Bible: Judges 1:1 – 3:6
Lesson Description: In the Old Testament we are presented with a very unique picture of God. He interacts with, guides, and sometimes punishes His people in direct ways that we often do not see or recognize today. At the beginning of Judges we see Israel at a difficult crossroads. As they enter the Promised Land, they are faced with tough choices, many that they make poorly. Why does God raise Judges to get them back on track? Why are these heroes needed?
Lesson 2: The First Hero
Bible: Judges 3: 7-11, 1:13
Lesson Description: Who was Othniel? Why would God choose to work through him? This week we will look at the first of the Age of Heroes. Israel “did evil in the Lord’s sight.” What does this mean? What does God’s justice look like? (revisiting previous week) What does it mean for the “Sprit of the Lord” to come upon someone? Why is this significant?
Lesson 3: Assassins and Warriors of Legend
Bible: Judges 3:15-31
Lesson Description:The first hero was already an Israelite hero. His choice to be the first Judge makes sense. But who is Ehud? A brief look at God’s chosen specialist. What can we learn from Israel’s second and third chances? What does it mean for God to give control of His people over to a foreign ruler? Ehud took drastic action. When is this called for? What would that mean today? Finally, looking at the incredibly brief description of Shamgar, what can we learn about God’s power?
Lesson 4: Prophetess and General
Bible: Judges 4:1-24
Lesson Description:The unfortunate roller coaster of Israel’s relationship with God continues. Once again, they did evil in the Lord’s sight. Their conqueror arises from within their lands. Why is this significant? Their punishment was a direct result of their failure to follow God’s instructions. They brought it on themselves. In this story we learn that God sometimes calls us to direct action (Shamgar and Ehud), but sometimes we are called to raise others up (Deborah). He shows His willingness to work within and despite our weaknesses (Barak). Even when we come into battle with all of our human strength and power (i.e. Barak’s army), God is the one who does the true work in saving us.
Lesson 5: 300
Bible: Judges 6:1-8:35
Lesson Description: To this point, we see God choosing more obvious candidates for His judges (prior war hero, prophetess). Gideon represents an odd choice. He is hiding away. He is cautious to the point of challenging God’s orders over and over. Why does God choose him? God’s plan of attack is incredibly unique. What can we learn from the way He guides Gideon’s actions?
Lesson 6: A Man-Made Hero
Bible: Judges 8:22-9:57
Lesson Description: To this point, we've seen stories of the heroes God raises to save Israel. This week we will see what happens when man tries to take God’s job. Needless to say, man’s plan ends in utter disaster.
The story of Abimelech is one of deceit, murder, and betrayal. An outcast from birth, he rises to power as Israel’s first king after murdering nearly all of his 70 half-brothers. In the end God’s justice prevails, but the cost of human arrogance was paid by thousands of innocent lives.
Lesson 7: The Hero and the Fool
Bible: Judges 11:1-12:7
Lesson Description: In the period between Jair and Jephthah we see a change in Israel’s rebellion against God. Not only do they allow the worship of other gods to creep into their way of life, they completely turn their backs on Him. It’s easy to look at Israel’s roller coaster faith and judge them, but how do we do this in our relationship with Jesus?
Jephthah was an interesting case. Though he was a great warrior, he came from a rather unflattering family. He was a cast-off, rejected by his family. He led a band of worthless rebels (surrounded himself with men of ill-repute). At the start Jephthah’s motivation for leading God’s people is selfish. He wasn’t mentioned as specifically being chosen by God? What changes? How/why does God use him?
Lesson 8: What Could Have Been
Bible: Judges 13:1-16:31
Lesson Description: Jephthah’s rather flawed rule (sacrificed daughter, civil war with Ephraim) points to the downward spiral of the Age of Heroes. This leads us to the final Judge… Samson. He is a dichotomy—great triumph and great failure all in one man.
Samson’s story is one that shows God’s forgiveness and justice. He uses Samson despite all of his failings. Though Samson made many mistakes, he still accomplished many things and in the end saw the error of his ways. What can we learn from his turnaround? What can we learn about the consequences of our actions even after we have repented?
Sadly, Samson is the final recorded Judge. After all that God has done throughout the Age of Heroes, Israel continued to fall away. Their story is a cautionary tale, but it is more than that. Despite everything that Israel did to defy God, He continually answered their cries for help. He didn’t have to. He had already given Israel more chances than they deserved. What does His love and mercy throughout the Age of Heroes teach us about our relationship with Jesus?