"Knowing God's Will"
Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Gideon’s story often leads to discussions about knowing God’s will; however, a better knowledge of God brings a clearer understanding of His purpose for us in this world.
Beginning of the End
(Patriarchs and Prophets), ch. 53
The Judges, Deliverers of Israel
Studying the unfaithful, detrimental patterns of the Israelites reveals the fact that they were often not following God’s will for their lives. (Judges chapters 6 through 8 tell the story of Gideon.) God brought them out of slavery in Egypt and directed them to enter the promised land, but their journey from slavery to abundant life was full of problems and delays. How often do you experience trouble in your life in similar ways? God’s will for your life is also that promised abundant life, where God guides you and protects you and provides for you. God’s will is connected directly with your life and how you live it. God has a purpose for your life, and His will is founded on that purpose. He seeks obedience, love, devotion, commitment, loyalty, genuine worship, praise, adoration, and intimacy with you. His will is love, joy, peace, and all the other good things that come from God. We all need to learn the lessons of faithfulness that the Israelites struggled with so much, because sometimes we fall into their same doomed patterns. When we keep focused on God’s will and His purpose for our lives we will have that abundant life He promises.
OPENING ACTIVITY: DRAWING CHALLENGE
Supplies needed: paper, markers
Give each person a paper and marker. The object of this activity is for each person to draw a similar picture as everyone else. The students will stand in a line with the person in front of them presenting their upper back as a drawing surface. Each person will rest their paper on the person’s back in front of them. Just by feeling the motion of the marker on the paper on their back, each person will try to draw the same thing.
Sometimes God’s will might not be super clear at first, but as you begin to step out in faith you will be able to discern it more and more completely.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read each Bible passage, then discuss the questions.
Love and Obedience
Read John 14:15-17.
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
Love One Another
Read John 13:34-35.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Read Deuteronomy 6:1-2.
1These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.
Your purpose in life is connected directly with God’s will, and these two aspects of your life work together. Just like Gideon persevered, showed determination, was faithful to God, and initiated change in Israel, when you follow God’s will and stand up for what is right God will bless you and guide you and make everything you do good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28 (NIV).
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
In Judges 6:11-16, we encounter a significant and transformative moment in the life of Gideon, a young man who would later become a prominent leader and judge of Israel. The passage presents a powerful narrative of divine encounter and the calling of an unlikely hero.
At the beginning of the passage, we find Gideon threshing wheat in a winepress, a rather unusual location for this task. This peculiar choice stems from the prevailing fear of the Midianites, who were oppressive invaders constantly plundering the crops of Israel. Gideon's cautious actions reveal the atmosphere of fear and vulnerability prevailing among the Israelites due to the Midianite menace.
In the midst of this scene, the angel of the Lord appears before Gideon. The angel greets him with an unexpected declaration, "The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor." Gideon's response to this greeting reflects his deep sense of self-doubt and insecurity. He questions the angel's assertion, wondering how God's presence can be with them when their nation is suffering under Midianite oppression.
However, the angel's response to Gideon is both encouraging and decisive. He assures Gideon that God has chosen him for a special mission: "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites; have I not sent you?" Despite Gideon's hesitation, the angel reinforces the divine call on his life, revealing God's plan to use him as an instrument of deliverance for His people.
Gideon's self-doubt persists, and he humbly expresses his inadequacy, identifying himself and his family as insignificant in their tribe of Manasseh. Yet, the angel responds with unwavering certainty, saying, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man." This affirmation underscores the divine assurance of God's presence and empowerment upon Gideon for the task ahead.
The encounter with the angel marks a turning point in Gideon's life. Despite his initial doubts and feelings of inadequacy, Gideon eventually accepts the divine call and steps into his role as a leader chosen by God.
“I Chose You!”
Can you share about a time when you have been intimidated by fear?
Read Judges 6:11-16.
11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
16 The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
1. Where was Gideon threshing wheat when the angel of the Lord appeared to him?
2. How did Gideon respond to the angel's greeting, "The Lord is with you…”?
3. What was Gideon's concern that he expressed to the angel regarding God's presence?
4. What did the angel of the Lord declare to be Gideon's mission?
5. How did Gideon see his family and himself in response to the angel's call?
6. What was the angel's final assurance to Gideon after his self-doubt?
7. How can you organize your life around God’s ideals?
8. What makes you fearful to do God’s will? How can you overcome it?
The story of Gideon serves as an enduring testament to the transformative power of divine calling, showing how God can use seemingly ordinary individuals to accomplish extraordinary purposes. In the face of challenges and self-doubt, Gideon's journey exemplifies the significance of trusting in God's presence, guidance, and empowerment, leading to the fulfillment of his destined role as a mighty leader and deliverer of his people.
Looking into Gideon’s story provides inspiration and hope, that God can use anyone to accomplish His purposes. This is so vital to our confidence in Him. We are sure to grasp from the story the fact that God will equip those whom He calls. He can work miracles for, and in you to accomplish His will and plan for you.
Below, find some application activities to interface with this lesson. These are simply to provide ideas for you so that you can imagine and create some of your own, as you impact the lives of teens for God’s glory.
What if the Miracles of Jesus are more than meets the eye?
What if there is so much more to each story than we see?
What if each time Jesus did something supernatural, He was inviting us to look deeper?
Beyond the healing.
Beyond the deliverance.
Beyond the acts that defied the laws of nature.
What if Jesus were inviting us to see something bigger?
Something more amazing about the love of God.
What if the ultimate Miracle is that God can transform us?
The Miracle Series is an interactive study of 15 of Jesus’ awe-inspiring encounters while here on earth. These lessons, and messages are designed to connect with teens and youth and take them on a journey of discovery. Included in this kit is everything you need:
We invite you and your youth to not just study the Miracles of Jesus but to experience The Miracle.
1. Activity / Busy Bags for Kids
Help parents stay sane. Assemble bags with activities to keep small children busy.
Cost: Less than $5.00
2. Placemats For Meals On Wheels
Cheer up the homebound. Thoughtfully decorated placemats are a lovely extra to bring to meal recipients. If you’re able to laminate the placemats, all the better!
Cost: Less than $5.00
3. Deliver Meals For Meals On Wheels
Help fight hunger. Pick up and deliver meals to seniors and people with disabilities.
Cost: Less than $5.00