Opening Questions and Prayer
What have been some difficulties you’ve faced over the past year?
What are some ways you have seen God’s faithfulness over this past year?
Give thanks to God for His faithfulness amongst the hardship.
Read Psalm 100:1-5 NLT
1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. 3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
What are some things the psalmist is praising God for?
When are some times that it is difficult to worship the Lord in this way?
Why is it important to remember the Lord is good, especially during times of hardship and loss?
What are some things you can give thanks to God for?
Read Judges 6:1-6
1 The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. 2 The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, 4 camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. 5 These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare. 6 So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.
Why were the Israelites in the situation they were in?
Even in the midst of the Lord’s discipline, how is His goodness on display?
How can hardships draw you closer to the Lord?
What are some ways you’ve grown closer to God this year?
Read Judges 6:7-13
7 When they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt. 9 I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land.10 I told you, ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to me.”
11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”
13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”
What were some ways the Israelites had abandoned God?
Why did Gideon feel abandoned by God?
How might people may have felt abandoned by God this year?
What are some ways you struggled in your faith this year?
Read Judges 6:14-16
14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”
15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”
16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
How was the Lord good and faithful even when the Israelites weren’t?
Why does God choose the unqualified to do His work?
What are some ways you feel weak and unqualified?
How can you trust and rely on the Lord to do the work He has called you to do?
What is something the Lord is calling you to do that you have put off?
How can you take steps towards that this week?
Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Closing thoughts and Prayer
In this midst of hardships it’s easy to blame God and feel like He has abandoned you. But the psalmist and Gideon are reminders that God is good, and still working even when it feels like He isn’t. The Lord is still at work, and still wants to partner with you to fulfill His purpose in your life and those around you. There are people hurting and feel abandoned that need to be reminded of God’s faithful love.
Pray for those in your group that have had an extra tough year. Pray for healing, and that the Lord would remind them of His faithful love. Pray that the Lord would allow you to share His good, unfailing love with someone this week.