Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they were not ruled by a king but by judges appointed by God. God had commanded Moses to build the Ark of the Covenant (remember what was in it?) and the Tabernacle – a huge tent, greatly decorated, holding the precious Ark. During the years of wandering, the Levites carried this huge tent and all of its furnishings, to be set up at each new camping place.  In the Promised Land, the Tabernacle was set up at a place named Shiloh. The people came to Shiloh to pray and to give offerings to God. On the Day of Atonement each year, the high priest would sacrifice a goat as an offering to the Lord and send another goat out into the wilderness to show that the people’s sins were sent far away. On this holy day, celebrated from the days of Moses until today, the Jewish people fasted and prayed.


  1. Scripture Reference: Judges 3, 4, 6-8, 13-16. The book of Judges traces the Hebrew people’s struggle with adversity and prosperity. The people bounced back and forth between serving the Lord and following the idols of Canaan. Each time God sent judges to bring the people back to himself. Assign groups of students Judges 3, Judges 4, Judges 6-8, Judges 13-16. Have each prepare a biography of the judge described in the chapter: the situation he or she faced, the cause of the problem, how he or she dealt with it, and the outcome of the situation.


  1. Service References: The fleece of Gideon prefigures Mary, the Theotokos. At Christmas, “For as rain upon the fleece hast Thou descended into a virgin womb…” And at Annunciation, “Gideon saw thee as a fleece…” How did the fleece prefigure Mary? The dew, Christ? The fleece also prefigures Theophany, in the matins service: “The fleece that Gideon saw prophetically, from which he wringed a bowl full of water, clearly disclosed the baptism, O Christ…” How?


  1. Discussion: Let’s look more fully at Gideon. Why was God angry with the Israelites? Why did God bother to save them at all after their consistent rebellion? How did God call Gideon? How did Gideon destroy Baal? Why? What was the purpose of the fleece? How did Gideon select his men? How did he win the battle? Was Gideon stupid to go into battle with such odds against him? Why or why not? Why did the Hebrews prosper when a judge was alive?

We also have times of prosperity and times of adversity, just like the Hebrew people. Have each student rate each month of the past year on a scale of 1-10 – 1 being really bad times and 10 being really good times. Why was each month rated as it was? Should Christians expect all good times simply because they believe in God? Did you cause any of the months of adversity yourself? How? Why?

What similarities do you see between yourself and Gideon? Differences? In what ways was God at work in Gideon’s life? In yours? How did he speak to Gideon? To you? When did Gideon face seemingly impossible odds? Have you ever faced seemingly impossible odds? Are there any conclusions we can draw from Gideon’s life about God’s work in our own lives?


  1. Find the tribes of Israel on the map. Where was Gideon? Other judges?


  1. Close with prayer: Ask the students if they are facing an adversity they’d like the group to pray about. Offer these up in prayer and continue to intercede during the week for each other.