Gideon: Mighty Judge of Israel
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Uses three separate games to tell the story.
For scripture and memory verses see above post.
- Learn that they can rely on God’s power and strength when facing challenges
- Know that God is with them even when they feel outnumbered
- Realize that only God can give them victory over sin
- Review Bible Background notes.
- Gather the materials.
- Children’s Bible Storybook with story of Gideon in it
- DVD Player
- Copy of the video “Mulan” (from Walt Disney)
- Volleyball court (in gymnasium or outline with tape)
- Soft balls (nerf balls, beach balls, balloons—do NOT use real volleyballs)
- Memory verse cube (see lesson for how to make)
- Journaling pages
- Refer to schedule and decide how you will make adjustments for the different ages.
- Familiarize yourself with the entire video and have it cued to the appropriate place.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.
Open with a prayer .
Introduction & Bible Story:
This month, we are learning about Gideon. What do you remember about Gideon? (Omit this question if it is the first week of the rotation)
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Mulan Video Clip:
Even though we are in the Games Station, we are going to start out by watching part of a video. This video isn’t about Gideon, but the story has some similarities. Mulan is the story of a young Chinese girl, who pretends to be a boy named Ping. She joins the Imperial army to fight against the invading Hun army. The unit she joins is a small group of boys and men just learning to be soldiers, led by a young man named Shang. They go out to battle the Huns.
The clip you are showing starts at about 52 minutes into the movie. They have just left the destroyed village, where Mulan lays the doll at the base of the sword. Start the video right after this, as Shang and his troops march to the pass. Stop the video during the avalanche scene, after the soldiers hide behind the rock.
How do you thing Ping and the other soldiers felt when they realized that were really outnumbered by the Huns?
Our Bible story, from the book of Judges, is also about 2 armies—the Israelites and the Midianites. Let’s see how these 2 stories compare.
Tell the story using the Bible storybook.
Have the children find Judges 6 in the Bibles. Have the children read selected verses from the story (you may want to adjust this for younger children):
- Gideon is in hiding, threshing his wheat, when an angel appears. Read Judges 6: 12-16
- Gideon starts to put an army together to defeat the Midianites, but God has His own plans. Read Judges 7: 2-7
- The Midianite army was so large that even their camels couldn’t be counted. Gideon had only 300 soldiers, but God was able to win the battle for them. Read Judges 7: 16-22
- After the victory, the people of Israel asked Gideon to be their king. Read Judges 8: 22-23 for his answer
How are the stories of Ping/Mulan and Gideon alike? (Outnumbered) How are they different? (different sources of victory)
Set up a volleyball court (with or without a net). Divide the class into two teams: one team with one person and everyone else on the other team. Ask the class if there is any way that the solo person can win this game? Give one ball to the solo person and give the rest of the balls to the other team. They may all start serving at once. The first team to score 5 points wins. The team with the majority of players should win quickly.
Now change the setup of the game. The team with most of the players must now sit on the floor in a circle and all hold hands. They cannot unclasp their hands and they must remain sitting. Now give one ball to the team with the most players, and the rest of the balls to the solo player. Again, the teams may serve as many balls as quickly as they want. The first team to score 5 points win. The solo player should win this round.
How are these 2 teams like the Midianite army and Gideon’s army? What unfair advantage did the Midianite army have? (superior numbers) What “unfair” advantage did Gideon’s army have? (God was on their side) Gideon’s army started with 32,000 men and ended up with 300. Why didn’t God want all 32,000 men to fight? (Israel would believe that their fighting abilities won the battle, not God’s power)
Rock, Paper, Scissors
We’ll be playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors” using symbols of weapons used in Bible times to win battles—
- Spear—make a fist with index finger pointing out to form the spear
- Sword—make a fist with index and middle finger pointing out & curving to form sword
- Hand-to Hand combat—make a fist with no fingers pointing out
- Sword beats hands; hands beat spears; spears beat swords.
Pair the children off in twos and have them play several rounds. The teacher then enters the game with a new symbol (totally open palm representing power of God). Don’t explain this new symbol when you first enter the game—just play the game, give the power of God symbol on the 3rd hit and say “I won”. When the children question you, tell them that the new symbol is prayer/power of God and that is the weapon you have chosen. Continue to play rounds, choosing prayer/power of God and therefore winning every time, no matter what other symbol is given. Hopefully, the students will follow suit and choose prayer/power of God every time as they are playing.
What did Gideon’s army take into battle with them? (trumpet, torch, jars to cover the torches) Those aren’t very deadly weapons—how were the Midianites conquered? (Judges 7:22 says that the Lord caused the soldiers to turn on each other with their swords—they were so confused that they killed each other). What (or who) was Gideon’s most important weapon? (power of God)
Memory Verse Game
Make a “Memory Verse Cube” from a sturdy square cardboard box. Each of the 6 sides should be a different color and with a different question on it: Where is this verse found in the Bible?; Act out the verse; Put this verse in your own words; Say the verse (all or part); How can you use this verse in your life?; What does this verse tell you about the Lord?
Each child should roll the memory verse cube and follow the instructions.
You may not be going into a physical battle like Gideon, but did you realize that you are on a battlefield every day? We are all in a spiritual battle and our enemies are sin and temptations. We might be tempted by things we see on TV or read in books or we might even be tempted by friends who aren’t worried about what is right and wrong. What are some sins or temptations that are surrounding you? It isn’t possible to fight these all off, all of the time. Who is the one person that can help you in this fight? (God)
Journal Topic (last 5 minutes of class):
Grade 1-2: God can do anything! Write or draw a picture of one great thing that God has done for you.
Grade 3-6: Write a prayer asking God to help you with one sin or temptation in your life.
End with a prayer.
Movie Clips for Kids (Group Publishing)
A Lesson Set written by members of: Chicago Western Suburbs Rotation Roundtable
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