It’s not so hard to have integrity when you’re around a bunch of people or you know you’ll be seen or even noticed for how well you do/don’t behave. But what about when no one is looking? Does integrity still matter? According to God’s Word, integrity is a big deal because it keeps us from slipping and falling, even (and especially) when no one is looking. Integrity begins with trusting that God’s way is perfect.
INTEGRITY: Following God inside, outside, and everywhere!
MEMORY VERSE: “People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.” PROVERBS 10:9 (NLT)
This Week’s Finish Line: Integrity Begins with Trusting that God's Way is Perfect
After the Israelites returned to the Promised Land in the Old Testament, the Lord used men and women called judges to lead His people. One of the judges that God used was a man named Gideon. While Gideon was the judge of Israel, the Israelites faced enemies called Midianites. God promised Gideon that He would give the Israelites victory. Gideon assembled the Israelite army, but God told him there were too many men. Little by little, He had Gideon trim the army down from 32,000 men to 300. Did we mention that the Midianite army had too many soldiers to count?? But God had a perfect plan all along. He knew that if the Israelites had a huge army, they’d be tempted to believe that they’d defeated their enemies by their own power. God wanted them to trust that His way was perfect and to show them that with His power on their side, they could defeat their enemies with the smallest army. Gideon and his men chose to follow God inside, outside, and everywhere, trusting that God’s way was perfect. They snuck up on the Midianites in the middle of the night, surrounded their camp, and blew their horns. The Midianites were so confused that they started attacking each other and others began to flee altogether! God worked in a mighty way, defeating the Israelites’ enemies, and because they trusted His perfect plan, the Israelites were reminded that it is a blessing to follow God inside, outside, and everywhere.
READ JUDGES 7:1-22
- What did God first tell Gideon to do to make his army smaller? (Tell the men that if any of them were afraid, they could leave) How many men went home? (22,000) What did God tell Gideon to do this time to know which men to keep? (Send them to get water and only keep the men who cupped the water with their hands to their mouths.) How many men did Gideon have left? (300)
- Look at verse 7. What did God tell Gideon would happen even though he had a very small army? (God would make sure Gideon’s army won if they trusted His way was perfect.
- Look at verse 14. When Gideon went down at night to the camp, what did he overhear the Midianites talk about? (One man had a dream about God helping Gideon and his army win.)
- Read verses 15-16. What did Gideon do when he got back to camp? (He followed God’s way. He encouraged the 300 men and got them ready for battle. God gave them the victory, just like He promised.)
Bring it Home Conversations & Activities:
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Teacher: Meal Time
Review the story of Gideon in Judges 7:1-22. Gideon had integrity because he followed the Lord’s directions just like God said. Even though he was probably scared, he still chose to follow God’s plan, trusting that it was the best way. Have you even been faced with a situation that you felt was impossible? Is it hard to trust God when you think there is no way you can do something? Why? What can you remember is true about God when you’re tempted to go your own way instead of God’s? (EXAMPLES: He is the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing Creator of everything and He is holy, just, loving, and faithful)
Friend: Drive Time
Write each word of the memory verse (Proverbs 10:9) on a post-it note and stick them somewhere in your car. Remove one sticky note every day and see if you can still say the verse! If you can, keep going until there are no post-its left!
Thank God that His way is perfect even when we don’t understand it. Ask Him to help you trust His way and obey Him, even when no one is looking.
Brainstorm some situations coming up this week when you’ll need to decide whether to follow God’s way, your own way, or the world’s way. What does it mean for you to have integrity in those situations? How can you remember to have integrity when these situations might come up? (Example: by remembering Truth from our memory verse, asking a friend or parent to hold you accountable)
Thank God that His way is perfect even when we don’t understand it. Ask Him to help you live with integrity, even when no one is looking. Thank Him for using even flawed people like yourself and Gideon in His story.
Next week we will continue looking at the character trait of INTEGRITY.
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