Episode 12: Bargaining with God

Break the Ice.

  • What’s the best bargain you’ve ever received on a purchase?
  • What’s one tip you’d give someone to bargain better?   

Bring the Word.

 There are times to bargain (buying a car), and times not to bargain (buying milk). But what about bargaining with God? Are there times when we can negotiate with God? Maybe you’ve prayed, “Lord, if you will get me out of this situation, I’ll be more committed to…”  Be careful what you promise God, because as we discover in today’s passage, you just might get what you bargain for. 

Read Judges 11:1-3

  • Jephthah has several disadvantages growing up. Name three of them specifically mentioned in these verses. (son of harlot, driven out by brothers, settled in Tob, surrounded by “worthless fellows”) 

Information TOOLBOX: The land of Tob was an area east of the Jordan, or modern day Syria. Since worthless men gathered there, it was more than likely a very poor city, and idol worship was common east of the Jordan. 

Read Judges 11:4-11

  • What unlikely turn of events happens in Jephthah’s life?
  • What does Jephthah ask for in return for victory against the Ammonites?

Read Judges 11:29-33

  • As the new leader of Gilead (the place where his brothers once kicked him out), what bargain does Jephthah make with God?
  • Why do you think he made that bargain? (Perhaps that’s how people interacted with the gods back in Tob.) 

Read Judges 11:34-40

  • Why should we not bargain with God on our terms?

Bring it Home.

  • In Genesis 18, Abraham bargains with God for Sodom. How is this bargaining situation different from Jephthah’s? (Hint: in Gen. 18:25 Abraham’s words show that He knows God’s character.)
  • In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus shows us how to pray. How can verse 10 of this prayer protect us from making unhealthy bargains?
  • Is there a situation in your life where you are bargaining with God? What action step do you need to take to trust in God’s plan?
  • How can we pray for one another?

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