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Summer Quarter: God’s Urgent Call
Unit 1: Called to be Strong
Sunday school lesson for the week of June 11, 2017
By Rev. Denise Walton
Lesson Scripture: Judges 6:11-18
To recognize that God is with us even we doubt or feel abandoned.
In today’s Adult Bible Lesson, I invite you to consider engaging in a kinesthetic learning activity (learning by doing).
Kinesthetic Activity: Invite one person to be Gideon, one the angel, and one person to be God. Have them stand as far in the room as possible (Gideon and the angel) but God will stand in the center. Gideon and the angel will engage in conversation. The angel’s voice is non-anxious, peaceful and consistent. Gideon’s voice is filled with fear and anxiety but with each comment, Gideon moves physically closer to Go in the center.
Angel: 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. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
“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.”
God: 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?”
Gideon: “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.”
God: The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
Gideon: Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”
God: And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”
As a leader, one aspect of Gideon’s character in the text invites the reader to consider the call that God places on our lives. However, the call can be difficult to discern and leave us feeling alone. In the book, “Hearing God’s Call – Ways of Discerning for Laity and Clergy,” it says:
God has always called human beings to share in the divine mission in the world – and He still does. God calls women and men to ordained ministry in the church, and he calls other followers of Christ to special ministries both in the church and outside it.
One of the persistent questions in the minds of both serious clergy and seeking laity can be stated simply, “Is God calling me to do this ministry?”
Following closely on the heels of that question is another question of equal urgency: How do I know the call comes from God and not my own unconscious longings or fears or even cultural influences on my perceptions and decision-making?
My dear brothers and sisters, allow me to share a personal reflection here: God is always calling us. Yes, God is calling you right now in the midst of your life. For some it is a call recognized at a young age, you knew early on that God was calling you to a unique place to do unique things. For others, you are busy with life and yet you may feel or sense a call in your everyday life or your work. Still others, your call has materialized in the golden years of your journey and now that you are older you clearly hear God calling.
Allow this text, to speak to you today. Listen to the exchange between Gideon, the angel and God. Take a moment to engage in personal reflection. You may choose to reflect silently or to write your responses in a prayer journal.
What is God doing?
Who are the secondary characters in the text?
What is the relationship between those characters and God?
How does this text inform or impact my relationship with God?
It’s natural for us as human beings to be afraid or even uncertain in the midst of call but God is with us and goes before us.
May you rest in knowing that you are never alone and you are needed in the kingdom of God,