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Well, today we want to conclude our series on the heroes and the zeros of the book of Judges – and the character that we want to look at today is probably the most famous of all the judges. Today we’re going to look at the life of Samson. Now the Bible gives us more information about Samson than any of the other judges we’ve looked at. A couple of Judges that we didn’t look at  in this study – Tola and Jair – both have only two verse each about their lives – but Samson has four entire chapters.

So there must be something important for us to learn from the life of Samson. Which is almost surprising considering what a wreck his life was. Most of us remember Samson for his great strength – how he killed a lion with this bare hands – or how He torn the city gates right off their hinges – or how he killed a 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. These are the acts that made Samson famous – but what do you know about his character? What kind of a person was He? What was his relationship with God like? What was his relationship with others like? You see, these are the kind of issues that determine whether someone is truly a hero or a zero…

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Gideon – Part Two

As most of you know we have been exploring the book of Judges over the past several weeks – looking at some of the great heros and the great zeros of that book. And so far it’s been quite a colorful journey for us. We’ve had Ehud & the fat King, Deborah the only female judge, Barak with his conditional obedience, Jael & her weapon of choice – the tent peg, and then last week we started looking at Gideon – the least in his clan, the weakest in his family hiding out in the bottom of the winepress. And yet, God was able to use every single one of these people for His glory. Sometimes in-spite of their weaknesses, and sometime because of their weaknesses.

And so today we are going to continue looking at the life of Gideon. We never got a chance to finish the story last week, and actually, we’re not going to be able to finish it this week either, because we’re going to be looking at just one of about four mini-stories within the story of Gideon. So if you want to know the whole story, you’re going to have to read through it on your own some time this week. You’ll find it in Judges 6, 7, & 8 – and if you’re really ambitious, you can read about Gideon’s son Jotham in chapter 9.

But for today, we’re going to start in Judges 7:1.

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Gideon – Part One

For the past couple of weeks we’ve been looking at some of the unknown heroes and zeros of the book of Judges. We started with Ehud – the left-handed man who rescued the Israelites by defeating King Eglon. Then we looked at Deborah, Barak, and Jael last week as they defeated King Jabin and the commander of his armies – Sisera. But today we’re going to look at another judge – one who is a little more well-known then some of these others. Today we’re going to look at the life of Gideon.

You’ll remember the cycle of sin that we’ve been talking about in the book of Judges. Israel would sin and so God would send their enemies to punish them. And after several years of enduring this oppression, the Israelites would repent and cry out for God to save them. Which of course, God did by sending them a judge – that is, a rescuer – like Ehud or Deborah. But then, as soon as the enemy was defeated and that particular judge died, the Israelites would go right back into sinning again and the cycle would begin all over. Sin, oppression, rescue, sin, oppression, rescue.

And so, it’s quite predictable, that after 40 years of peace after Deborah rescued Israel from King Jabin and his commander Sisera, that Israel would again sin, and God would have to send another enemy to oppress them. And this time, the enemy was a doozy. If you have your Bibles you can turn to Judges chapter 6 – verse 1.

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Deborah, Barak, & Jael

Last week we began looking at some of the heroes and the zeros in the book of Judges.  The book of Judges is full of some very colorful characters and provides some of the most fascinating and bizarre stories in the Bible. We first looked at Ehud, a left-handed man, considered to be disabled & weak because of his left-handedness. And yet, it was because of this ‘disability’, that God was able to use Him to free His people from the oppression of the fat king Eglon.

Now you’ll remember that we talked about the cycle of sin in the book of Judges. Israel would sin, God would send an oppressor to punish them, the people would cry out to God, and God would have mercy send them a judge – that is, a rescuer to rescue them. However, as soon as that judge died, the people of Israel would go right back to sinning and the cycle would begin again. Sin, oppression, rescuer – sin, oppression, rescuer.

And as we can see in Judges chapter 4 – verse 1 – that is exactly what happen.

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The Bible is a grand story book. It has some of the most fantastic, movie-worthy stories that you will ever read. Some of them have become quite famous – like the story of David & Goliath – but there are many other stories just as fantastic, that many people haven’t even heard of. For example, how many people here know the story of Jael & Sisera? Or the story of Abimelech? Or Jephthah?

These aren’t exactly the most recognizable names, are they? But I’d like to change that. For the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at the book of Judges. And while we’re looking at some of those famous stories like that of Gideon & Samson, we’re also going to find some of those undiscovered stories in the Bible – like Ehud, Jael, & Deborah –  Because their stories are no less important than these other famous ones.

I’ve labeled this series “Heroes… and Zeros” because I’ve found that most of the characters in the book of Judges fall into one or the other of those two categories. Either a hero or a zero. Some characters fall into both categories. Quite often God takes a zero and turns them into a hero. And that’s the case in our first story that we’re going to look at today.

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God Is… Saviour

Today we wrap up our three week mini-series looking at the attributes of God. And in case you missed one or both of those previous weeks, let me give you a brief summary of what we’ve talked about so far.

Taken from the "Discover God" NLT Study Bible

In our first week, we looked at God as Creator. We saw that He made the entire universe and everything in it out of nothing. And in doing so, we found that God is all-powerful – He can do anything. He is also all-knowing – He knows everything. He is ever-present – He is everywhere all the time. And He is sovereign – He can do whatever He wants without restriction or interference.

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