Gideon: Mighty Judge of Israel


Summary of Lesson Activities:
gideon

  • Video: view “A Bug’s Life” to understand fears and worries
  • Cooking: The ingredients and actions of making Rice Crispy treats will help the students to learn the story.
  • Drama: be a cowboy in “Giddy-Up Gideon”
  • Games: Gideon Volleyball, plus Rock, Paper, Scissors
  • Storytelling: The teacher (movie director) will guide the students through six scenes of the story.

 

Scripture Reference:

Judges 6 through 7

Key Verses:
Zechariah 4:6 Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make your strong. (Contemporary English Version)

Then 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?”     --Judges 6: 14

Rotation Objectives --at the end of the Rotation, kids should be able to:

  • Retell the story of Gideon’s adventures.
  • Recognize that we can rely on God’s strength and power
  • God calls us to be faithful, and can make the most improbable faithful follower into a leader, capable to complete God’s plans.
  • God is patient. God loves us even when we doubt and test God’s love.

Main Point:

God is faithful and He fights for us when we face trouble.


Bible Background

God chose Moses to free the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and then guided Joshua as he led them into Canaan, the Promised Land.  Much of the land of Canaan had been conquered by the Israelites at the time of Joshua’s death, but not all.  God’s plan was that the people would gradually drive out the remaining heathen peoples. Unfortunately, God’s people did not complete the conquest and, instead, allowed the heathen nations to live amongst them.  And then Israel began to worship their false gods. 

 Judges 2 outlines the cycle that would repeat itself for hundreds of years:  (1) Israel strayed from the Lord and bowed down in worship of idols; (2) the Lord was angered and allowed other nations to come in and plunder Israel; (3) the Israelite people, in their great distress, called out to the Lord for deliverance; (4) God raised up a judge—a deliverer—who saved the people from their enemies.  But when the judge died, the people turned away from God and the cycle would begin again.  The time of the judges was characterized by the great moral decay of Israel, where “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21: 25). 

 Gideon was one of these judges that God raised up.  At this time in history, the people were harassed by the Midianites, a nomadic tribe that raided the Israelite farms in order to devour the crops.  This happened for seven years, at which point, the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for deliverance.  God sent His “angel” (really the Lord himself) to a man named Gideon.  The Lord said to Gideon, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” (Judges 6:14).  Gideon is doubtful and insecure, because he is from the weakest clan and he is the least in his family.  Three times he asks God for a sign, hoping to strengthen his faltering faith.  And three times God graciously provides a sign.  Gideon seems an unlikely hero at this point, but God equips him to do great things. 

 Gideon sends out messengers to his fellow Israelites, and 32,000 men respond!  Yet they are vastly outnumbered by the 135,000 Midianite swordsmen.  God wanted the people of Israel to place their trust in Him but God knew that with 32,000 men, the people of Israel would think that they had won the battle with their own might.  So God had Gideon reduce the number of soldiers to 10,000 and then just to 300 (meaning that they were outnumbered 450 to 1). 

 Gideon comes up with a crazy battle plan.  He divides his 300 men into 3 groups positioned around the Midianite camp.  He equipped each one of them with a trumpet and a torch inside of an empty jar.  Once darkness had come, the men broke the jars so that the flames showed.  They also blew their trumpets and shouted, “A sword for the Lord and Gideon!” (Judges 7:20).  Normally, only a few men in an army would have a trumpet, so the Midianites assumed that they were facing a vast army.  The Lord threw them into confusion and the Midianites slaughtered each other. 

 Why is this Story Important?

The story has applications, both of Law and Gospel.  Of the Law (from the Our Life in Christ curriculum notes):  “The whole period of the judges is a warning against forgetting the grace and blessings of God….the Israelites quickly turned away from the One who had blessed them.  The consequences were painful, but not nearly as devastating as the eternal ones for all who reject their eternal Savior.” 

There are also applications from the Gospel.  The stories in Judges repeatedly reveal God’s faithfulness and forgiveness of His people.  These deliverers in Judges point to our ultimate Savior, Jesus Christ.  The Lutheran Study Bible notes: “In the same way the Lord fought for Gideon, so He also fights for us against seemingly insurmountable odds.  He overcame our greatest enemy in the most improbable way: the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross”.

References:

“God Provides Victory through Judges”.  Bible Commentary for Teachers.  Our Life in Christ curriculum.  Concordia Publishing House.

The Lutheran Study Bible (ESV).  Concordia Publishing House. 2009.


I am not the author of all of these lessons, but am posting them for our group.

 A Lesson Set written by members of: Chicago Western Suburbs Rotation Roundtable
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material

This lithograph of “Gideon and his Three Hundred” is by Providence Lithograph CompanyThis image is in the  public domain, accessed via Wikimedia Common.

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Gideon: Mighty Judge of Israel
Video Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Uses the DVD A Bug's Life.

For scripture and memory verses see above post.

Workshop-specific Goals:

  • Discover why the people of Israel were afraid of the Midianites
  • Consider Gideon’s nervousness in being told to lead the battle—especially after God sent home most of the soldiers
  • Consider things that make us afraid
  • Know that God can give us strength and comfort

Leader Preparation:

  • Review Bible Background notes
  • Gather the materials.
  • Preview the movie.

Supplies List:

  • DVD “A Bug’s Life”
  • Another option: DVD “Webster, the Scaredy Spider” by Max Lucado
  • For youngest children: VeggieTales “Where’s God When I’m S-Scared”
  • Popcorn

Advance Preparation:

  • Familiarize yourself with the video and review the clips.
  • Set up the video equipment, cue the video, and test that everything is running properly.
  • Pop the popcorn


Presentation

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.

Open with a prayer if guide did not.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Bible Story:
Ask: Do you ever feel afraid?
Everybody does at times. Our worries change as we get older, too.
Did you worry about monsters under your bed or in your dark, dark closet when you were little?

Do you ever worry about what other people think of you?

Sometimes our worries and fears are based on real, legitimate threats.
Do you ever wonder if God knows that you are worried and afraid?

Our Bible story reminds us that the people of Israel were legitimately afraid of a group of people called the Midianites. God called an ordinary man, named Gideon, to rescue them in a very unusual and surprising way, but first he had to deal with his own fears.

We’re going to hear that story in a little bit, then watch a fun—and kind of silly—movie about some ants dealing their fear!

Bible Lesson: The story starts at Judges 6:1-10. Read the story.

Ask: Why were the people afraid of the Midianites? ( Midianites were stronger, they would steal the crops and food of the Israelites.)

Have someone read: Judges 6:11-15
Ask: How did Gideon feel about being the leader? ( Afraid, thought God had the wrong guy)

Have another student read: Judges 6:33-35
Ask: How do you think Gideon and his people felt as they saw the huge army of Midianites gathering? (frightened)
What did Gideon do? ( gathered a BIG army)

Let’s hear what happened next. Read Judges 6:36-40
Ask: Gideon tested God. Do you think he felt better when the tests were over?

Let’s read Judges 7:2-8 to find out what happened.
Ask: How do you think Gideon felt when he only had 300 soldiers in his army? Before we hear the rest of the story, let’s watch some of our movie.

Begin the movie with the beginning scenes. Make sure you’ve set the counter at 0:00:00.
In the opening the ants are gathering food for the grasshoppers. They are worried and afraid. There are a lot of ants working on the task.

Here are some suggestions for pause points, with approximate counter times.

00:03:40 –00:03:45 “They come, they eat, they leave,” says the Queen. “It’s our life.” If you want to pause at this point, ask the children to compare this to the Israelite situation.

00:05:10 Flik is a guy with a better idea, but the others think he’s nuts. Pause and discuss Gideon’s qualifications. Was he a guy people would want to lead them?

00:05:55 Pick the grain like everybody else. People are afraid to try new things, or think differently.

00:06:33 Dot has confidence in Flik. The angel assured Gideon that God had confidence in Gideon’s ability to lead.

00:07:02 Flik uses a rock to show Dot that little things can make a big difference. God gives us what we need. What did God give Gideon? God passed the tests that Gideon set up, and Gideon trusted God completely.

00:08:30 Ants are very afraid, hiding in their hill as the grasshoppers arrive.

00:09:04 What’s it lke when you’re afraid.
00:09:34 You can’t do big jobs alone
00:09:55 End

00:10:42 The grasshopper army is big and scary.

End: 00:15:00

You can end the movie at this point, or continue showing and discussing clips.

Suggestions:
Show the segments where Dot encourages Flik to become a leader.
Begin 1:07:29 Dot shows up at the circus wagon
1:08:37 The circus bugs tell Flik he is “good” he has given them hope and a purpose.
1:08:50 We believe in you – we’ll follow you
END 1:09:45

Show the surprise attack of the bird. Talk about how Gideon’s army planned a surprise attack.
1:15:16 to 1:16:48 Bird launch. Now the enemy was afraid. End when PT burns things up.

Additional Suggestions:
Another movie that also works with the story: “Webster the Scaredy Spider.”
Cue up the Main Menu. Start with “Play Feature with Max Lucado Introduction”
This movie is 30 minutes long.

Ask: What were some of the things that Webster was afraid of?
What finally brought Webster comfort and peace? (Knowing that God was always with him, and would give him the strength to face his fears and to use the special talents that he had).

If you have time, you can use the “Bonus Material” feature “The Stars’ Fears.” This feature shows the people behind the voices as they try to identify different types of fears, like arachnophobia.
Get to this by going to the Main Menu, then choosing, “Bonus Material,” then, “The Stars’ Fears.

Closing:

Holy God, we thank you that you are always with us, and that you invite us to come to us in prayer with all our concerns. Help us when we are afraid. Give us strength, as you gave Gideon the strength, to do what you want us to do in order to serve you. Let all of God’s people say…AMEN.

Age Adaptations:
Younger students:

Consider using VeggieTales “Where’s God when I’m S-Scared?” It is a lesson in handling fear. The beginning story is about watching scary TV shows at night. Use only the beginning story and discuss fears with the children.
Older students:
After discussing their fears, ask the students to write a group prayer together. They should ask God to give us strength to get through our fears, knowing that God is always present and will always help.


Resources/Bibliography
Gideon’s Trumpets, a rotation lesson posted at https://www.rotation.org/topic...son-set---judges-6-8, written by Augustana Lutheran Church, Saint James, Minnesota.


 

A Lesson Set written by members of: Chicago Western Suburbs Rotation Roundtable.

Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Gideon, Mighty Judge of Israel
Cooking Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

The ingredients and actions of making Rice Crispy treats will help the students to learn the story.

For scripture and memory verses see above post.

Workshop-specific Goals:

  • Understand that God allows us to question
  •  God can use regular people to do important work.
  • God is powerful, and helps us achieve hard things

Leader Preparation:

  • Review Bible Background notes
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Bibles

    • Variety of water glasses, Straws, Ice cubes in bowl
    • Pitchers of both water and Kool-Aid
    • Ingredients for Rice Crispy Treats: see recipe in lesson
      ALLERGY NOTE:   Just to be on the safe side, check ingredient labels to make sure nuts and nut oils are not included !!
    • Tray
    • Microwave, microwavable bowl, spoon,
    • ice cream cones

Advance Preparation:

  • Put the pitchers of water and Kool-Aid, the ice cubes, the various cups, and straws on the table for the children to view.
  • Have recipe ingredients measured and ready on a tray so you can easily tell the story. 


Presentation 

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.

Open with a prayer if guide did not.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Introduction & Bible Story

SAY: “Today you are going to hear a story about a man named Gideon. This Bible story takes place in the Old Testament, in the time before Jesus was born. Years before, God chose Moses to free the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and then God guided Joshua as he led them into Canaan, the Promised Land. The people kept turning away from God and worshipping false gods. Then God would allow enemies to come in and oppress Israel. The people would pray to God for help and God would sent someone to help. They were called judges, but they weren’t like the judges we have today who sit in a courtroom. These judges were more like leaders.

We are going to hear more about the story as we make our Rice Krispy Treats, but I wanted to let you know how making a choice in how to drink (just like you did at the start of class) was important to the story. Gideon was chosen by God to find an army to fight the Israelite’s enemies. He was told by God to select the men who would fight in his army according to the way they drank their water. Gideon took the men down to the river for a drink of cool water. The men who knelt and put their faces in the water to drink were sent home. Only the men who scooped up the water in their hands and lapped like a dog would become members of Gideon’s army.” There would only be 300 men in Gideon’s army—the enemy had 135,000 fighters! God WANTED the army of Israel to be so small. With such a small army, they knew that they couldn’t defeat the enemy with their own power. They had to trust in God and His power. We’ll find out what happened when they trusted in God.

Read Judges 7: 5-7

Set out the ingredients for your  recipe.

Closing:

Gideon was called by God to find an army to fight the Israelite’s enemies.   Did Gideon question his ability to accomplish this task? Did Gideon question God to make sure he could trust him? What happened? (God passed all of the tests Gideon gave)

What does this tell you about our faith in God? Should we trust him? Does God allow us to question him? Will he helps us achieve hard things?

Prayer: Dear God, you told Gideon what to do when he needed your help. Please help us listen to you and obey as Gideon did. Amen.



Rice Crispy Treats

3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 package (10 oz. about 40) regular marshmallows
or 4 cups miniature marshmallows, or a jar of marshmallow crème
3 cups rice crispy cereal
3 cups coco crispy cereal
1 can nonstick cooking spray
Ice cream cones (enough for class size)

Say: For the past seven years, the people of Midian would come into Israel just when the farmers were harvesting their crops, and they would steal the food away. Gideon was threshing wheat one day (that is where you separate the good wheat from the straw) and he didn’t want it to be stolen. So he was stooped over in a winepress—hardly the best way to do this but at least he was hidden from the Midianites. This cereal will remind us of the wheat (Begin to measure the cereal into cups.) Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and instructed Gideon to lead an army of his people against an enemy who had invaded their lands. And, the enemy army was very big. Gideon had no army. He wasn’t important in his village, or in his family. He didn’t understand or know why God asked him to be a leader.

He was in a muddle. He was mixed up. (Have the children dump the cups of cereal into the mixing bowl. Stir to mix the colors.)

Gideon decided he needed to test God, just to make sure he could trust God’s instructions. (Place margarine in a microwavable bowl)

Gideon put a wooly fleece on the ground. We’ll pretend these fluffy marshmallows are our fleece. (Let the children help you measure the marshmallows and put them into the bowl containing the margarine. Place in the microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Microwave times may vary)

As the microwave is running, SAY: Gideon told God that in the morning, the wool should be wet with dew and the ground dry. If this happened, Gideon would know he was to lead the army. What happened when Gideon woke up? (The wool was wet and the ground was dry.) As our marshmallows are melting, they are getting “wet.”

But Gideon still wasn’t sure—he still had doubts. He decided to test God’s instructions again. This time Gideon asked God to keep the wool dry, but make the ground around it wet. In nature, if the ground is wet then the fleece would be wet as well. So Gideon is asking for a sign that is totally against what would normally happen. What happened when he woke up the next morning? (The ground was wet and the wool was dry.)

(Mix the cereal with the melted marshmallows. Stir until it’s well coated. This is messy, and the mixture is hot. Older children can help.)

All our cereal (the ground) is now wet. Gideon knew he could trust God’s instructions. And, he listened to what God told him to do. Remember how we talked about how God told Gideon to choose the soldiers? (by the way that they drank water). This Bible story has an exciting ending. Gideon gives each man in his army a trumpet, an empty jar and a torch.

(Pick up an ice cream cone, and fill it with some of the cereal mixture.)

Gideon tells them, “Watch me. Do as I do. Hold your torch under the jar when we approach the enemy’s camp. When I blow the trumpet, blow your trumpet. Shout, “For the Lord and for Gideon! Keep watching me, and do what I do.”

(Continue filling the cones and handing them out to the children.)

When Gideon blew his trumpet, the men did too. Gideon broke the jar that covered his torch. The men did, too.   Gideon shouted, and all 300 men shouted the same words. Let’s hold up our cones and repeat the words Gideon shouted. “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon.”

Let’s bite our trumpet cones and see if we make lots of noise! What a clatter of noise! It must have been terrifying!

The 300 stood firm but the enemy camp was in confusion. They believed a huge army – thousands and thousands of men, was attacking them. They started fighting and killing each other or ran away in fear, and Gideon’s army was victorious. Gideon trusted God’s instructions, even though he didn’t understand what God had in mind.

God is good, don’t you agree? Let’s enjoy our treats


Resources/Bibliography 
“Gideon’s Trumpets” written by Augustana Lutheran Church 
Saint James, Minnesota and found on rotation.org. 


 
A Lesson Set written by members of: Chicago Western Suburbs Rotation Roundtable
 Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Gideon: Mighty Judge of Israel

Drama Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Uses a script to tell the story.

 

For scripture and memory verses see above post.

Workshop-specific Goals:

  • Learn that when we trust in God, things that seem impossible are possible
  • See that leaders (like Gideon, Moses) sometimes experience doubts

Leader Preparation:

  • Review Bible Background notes.
  • Gather materials/props and read through script

Supplies List:

  • Any props you decide to have.
  • Copies of the script.


 

Presentation

 

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Wear nametag. Introduce yourself to students.

 

Open with a prayer.

 

Introduce Bible story (story of Gideon starts at Judges 6) and characters

 

 

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Distribute scripts, props and perform drama. If time allows, repeat the drama so children can experience different parts.

Script
Scene 1: Midianites & the Israelites – and Gideon & Angel of the Lord
Scene 2: Assembling the army & the surprising victory

Scene 1
Characters: Narrator, Mid 1, Mid 2, Gideon, Angel/Lord
Props: black masks, food item (Midianites), picture of burning bush, picture of smoking cactus, wool, water
Teacher: The Lord walked with the people of Israel many times. Do you remember the movie “Prince of Egypt” which told the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and through the parting of the Red Sea? The Lord was with them. Do you remember the song “Joshua fought the Battle of Jericho and the walls came a’tumbling down”? The Lord was with the Israelites as he gave them more land. But even so, sometimes the people of Israel turned away from God. This made God angry.

Narrator: Our story begins in the “Bad lands”. The Midianites are not friendly neighbors of the Israelites.
(Midianites can wear black masks. Swagger in with some kind of food in hand (corn, wheat))

Midianite 1: I’m smelling food. I’m smelling mighty good food growing ‘round here.
Midianite 2: These Israelites are good farmers. I’ve never had such tasty stuff. Yummy corn. I love it. Let’s go get some more.
Midianite 1: And let’s go stampede their sheep, and rustle up some more cows.
Midianite 2: Great idea! The Israelites are yellow-bellied chickens, hiding in the caves – and we are big, bad, wolves, gobbling up their food.

Narrator: Things were getting ugly for the Israelites They needed help. They cried out to the Lord for help. An angel of the Lord appeared. ( Point) Look over there. Gideon is hiding behind a cactus.

Angel: Giddy up and go, Gideon. The Lord is with you. Go save Israel.
Gideon: What’s up, partner? Let’s talk turkey. If the Lord is with me, why is everything going wrong? My ma and pa tell tall tales about the Lord helping Moses in Egypt and protecting us in the Wilderness. Those stories are a hill of beans. The Lord has deserted us.
Angel: Whoa, cowboy. The Lord is with you always. You just trust in the Lord. You are strong. Now, giddy up! Go and save Israel from the Midian varmints. The Lord is sending you.
Gideon: Me?? Hey, you think saving Israel is like licking butter off a knife. No way. You are loco. How can I save Israel? I am just one cowboy. You need a big posse. My family is a drop in the bucket.
Angel: Hold your horses, cowboy! Moses had doubts, too. He didn’t hang up his spurs and give up. With the Lord’s help, you know what he did. The Lord will ride with you, too, Gideon. So, giddy up.
Gideon: I think you’re star gazing, partner. I’m going to need a sign. Moses saw a burning bush. How about a smokin’ cactus? (show picture, or point to a cactus prop)
No, no. Wait, I know. How about taking this scrap of wool and soaking it with morning dew. Only it will be wet, everything around it will be dry.

Narrator: The next morning, Gideon found the wool soaked with dew, and squeezed the water into a bowl. ( Have 2 kids do demo with wool and water. )

Gideon: Very cool. One more request, please. This time, how about making the ground wet with dew but keep the wool dry?

Narrator: The next morning, only the wool was dry. The ground all around it was covered with dew. Now Gideon was ready. He trusted the Lord. He knew the Lord was with him.

Teacher might choose to pause and ask a couple of questions.
How do you know you can trust God?
What signs do you see?
Have you ever doubted something you knew was true?

Scene 2:
Characters: Narrator, Lord, Gideon, Purah, Mathwiz
Props: Mathwiz posters, bowls of water, simple trumpets (tp roll?), jar w/light

Narrator: A cowboy posse gathered to fight the Midianites, but before they could ride out the Lord spoke.

Lord: Gideon! You have too many cowpokes in your posse. If this many men ride against the Midianites, they will brag they did it all by themselves. I am in charge of things. I want Israel to know I am the boss.

MathWiz: So the Lord told Gideon to take the 32,000 cowpokes and subtract 10,000 leaving 22,000
(have some kind of flip poster to show these numbers)

Lord: Still too many cowpokes, Gideon. Remember what I’ve said. “Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Gideon: But Lord, I don’t get it! No super sizing? Everyone super-sizes. How can a heap of cowboys be wrong? We’ll ride in your name and kick those rustlers off our land.

Purah (servant): Yup! I agree. Bigger is always better. Let’s get going now!

Lord: Gideon! When I am with you, you have strength beyond belief. Take this posse down to the watering hole. Watch how they drink. Some cowboys will drink like dogs with their face in the water. Others will kneel down and scoop water to their mouths. This test will show what cowpokes to keep. Send the rest home.

(Have several containers with water in them. Ask a few kids
to demonstrate the 2 ways of drinking water without a cup.)

Mathwiz: The Lord said to send the cowboys who drank like dogs home. Gideon kept any cowboy who cupped his hands and brought the water to his mouth. Let’s figure out how many cowpokes are left: 22,000 - 21,700 = 300.

Narrator: That night, Gideon prepared the 300 men to face the Midianites. He gave each cowboy a trumpet and an empty jar with a torch in it.

Purah (Gideon’s servant): Whoa, cowboy. Our posse carries trumpets and some torches? What about some weapons?

Gideon: Horse feathers! We don’t need any weapons. The Lord is with us!

Purah: You’ve been out in the heat too long, boss. I’ve seen the Midianite bandits. I’ve checked out your water-lapping cowpokes. Let’s talk turkey Gideon, and face the facts. You’re loco. We need more dudes in the posse and we need real weapons.

Gideon: Don’t be so chicken, Purah. Everyone listen up! Watch me! Do what I do! Blow your trumpets, break your jars and raise your torches. Shout “Yee Haw!! For the Lord and for Gideon!”

Everyone: YeeHaw!! For the Lord and for Gideon!! For the Lord and for Gideon!!

Narrator: The 300 cowboys blew 300 trumpets and smashed 300 jars. The racket was like a buffalo stampede. The Midianites cried out in fear. They ran away like buckaroos. Gideon’s posse chased them out of the country. They trusted the Lord. The good guys won. There was peace and justice for all.

Discussion

  • Talk about trust, leadership, doubts, signs of God
  • Reflect on the verse from Isaiah 42:10 “Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong.” 


Closing:

 

Prayer
Dear Lord, thank you for this time together when we can learn the story in the Bible, and discover how you help us still when we are afraid. Give us strength to do what you want us to do. Amen.


A Lesson Set written by members of: Chicago Western Suburbs Rotation Roundtable

 

Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

 

Gideon: Mighty Judge of Israel

Games Station

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Uses three separate games to tell the story.

 

For scripture and memory verses see above post.

Workshop-specific Goals

  • 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

 

Leader Preparation:

  • Review Bible Background notes.
  • Gather the materials.

Supplies List:

  • Bibles
  •  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

Advance Preparation:

  • 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.


 

Presentation

 

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.

Bible Story:
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

Discussion:
How are the stories of Ping/Mulan and Gideon alike? (Outnumbered) How are they different? (different sources of victory)

Activities:

“Volleyball”:
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.

Closing:

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.


Resources/Bibliography
ebibleteacher.com
Movie Clips for Kids (Group Publishing)


 

A Lesson Set written by members of: Chicago Western Suburbs Rotation Roundtable

 

Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material

 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

 

Gideon: Mighty Judge of Israel

Storytelling Station

Summary of Lesson Activities:

The teacher (movie director) will guide the students through six different scenes in the story.

For scripture and memory verses see above post.

Workshop-specific Goals:

  • God is patient. God loves us even when we doubt and test God’s love.
  • God can use regular people to do important work.
  • Recognize that we can rely on God’s strength and power
  • God calls us to be faithful, and can make the most improbable faithful follower into a leader, capable to complete God’s plans.

Leader Preparation:

  • Review Bible Background notes
  • Gather the materials.
  • Set up your scenes and props before the children arrive.

Supplies List:

  • See page on props and settings (see next posting)


Presentation

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.

Open with a prayer if guide did not.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Bible Story:

Open your Bible. Tell the class that today’s Bible story is from the book of Judges, chapters 6-8. Tell them that you will be telling the Bible story as they help with some of the actions.

Storyteller directions: You are the assistant movie director of “Gideon: Mighty Judge of Israel”. Tell the children that the “movie” is taken from a true story from the Bible—from the Old Testament in the book of Judges. Greet the children wearing a baseball cap, or T-shirt inscribed with the movie title, or marked “assistant director.” Carry a clipboard. Explain you will be guiding them thru the scenes to be filmed. The children are the hired extras in your movie and need to know what to do in each scene.  Make sure they have their costumes on.

In each “scene” single out several children for duty. Demo the action and have them try it, just as they would practice as extras. Each scene vignette needs something simple that you can pickup, or point out as you tell the story. If you want to read the information, especially the dialogue of the main characters, off your clipboard notes, that’s ok. Be excited, enthusiastic. Pick out individuals for certain things, like farmers, or soldiers and tell them to remember their roles when they report to the costume department after the tour.

Here’s your script. Have fun.

SCENE 1 (Rural Israel):

Our movie opens with a panoramic view of the lands in Israel. The people are living in the mountains and hiding in caves. [Have most of students huddled down like they are hiding] They are afraid of the Midianites. The Midianite raiders come on camels from the deserts east of Israel. The Israelites are barely surviving because food is scarce and anything they plant for themselves, if found by the Midianites, is taken right when it is ripe. The pesky Midianites raid the crops, eat the sheep and camp nearby just long enough to take the grain harvest for themselves. They’ve been doing this for seven years!

Our camera zooms in on the Midianite camp. Tents set up between two fields of golden grain. Over there, ( point ) the camels are grazing, their big feet trampling the grain flat. There are big fires with spits of roasting meat, big pots of vegetable stew, rows of flat breads fresh from baking. The camera pans right, ( gesture as if you’re controlling the camera) and there’s a raiding party riding into camp, carrying baskets of ripe vegetables, eggs and two chickens. One raider jumps off his camel, proudly holding a basket with a lid. Pulling off the lid, he reveals it is filled with barley for making bread. He must have raided a farmer’s hidden storehouse. [Have other students grab the baskets of food]

Next, our camera travels over the field and there’s an Israelite farmer, waving his fists in the air because his underground hiding place has been raided. There are baskets strewn around the ground, and his barley is gone. He cries to the Lord! Too much misery!   Too much destruction!   Too much suffering!   [Have the children repeat the phrases, raising their hands to heaven, pleading to God for help.) 

As the scene ends and fades to black, we hear a voice-over saying these words:   The Israelites cry out to God. Help! God, help! We need you, God. Please help!     Move to scene 2.

SCENE 2 (Winepress):

The sun is low in the sky. It will soon be dark. The air is dusty and hot. We hear muffled coughing, and a brushing sound, like someone is sweeping the floor. There’s a man, crouched close to the ground, inside a big winepress.

(Show the picture of the winepress). The winepress is constructed by flattening the ground and making it hard as rock. Grapes dumped on the floor, and people tromped on them with their feet to make the juice of the grapes flow down tiny trenches into a collection basin. The juice would then be turned into wine. The area is around 5 X 6 feet, with sides rising two feet.

The man beating the bundle of wheat on the floor is our hero – Gideon. But, he’s not a might warrior yet. Right now he’s just a skinny guy - hungry and hiding from the enemy.

Gideon is beating a bundle of wheat on the floor of the winepress. He’s crouched down low, hiding from the Midianite raiders. The normal way to thresh is to use a big flat space on the top of a hill, where animals can walk over the stalks to break the grain kernels from the shafts. Then workers pitch the broken stalks into the air so breezes blow away the chaff and leave just the grain. The grain falls to the ground, and can be collected.

Obviously, Gideon isn’t doing it the proper way.

Well, there’s not enough room for animals inside this winepress, and there’s no breeze to blow away the chaff. Gideon is kneeling, slapping the bundle of wheat on the ground, trying to get some kernels of grain. Each time he slaps that bundle, the dust flies up and Gideon coughs, his face covered with dust and chaff. He has managed to grow some grain secretly, and wants to thresh it before the Midianites discover him. [Have one student act this out in the “winepress”—either in the box or the tape outline—don’t give them the wheat to beat or it will make a huge mess on the floor!—they can just pantomime. This scenes goes on for a while, so you could have several students take turns]

[Read the dialogue off your clipboard.]

Gideon grumbles: “This is ridiculous. What a nightmare. Try and do anything and the Midianites show up. They’ve taken my sheep, my cattle, my grapes. They’re not getting my wheat, even if I have to kneel in here all night.”

Suddenly behind him Gideon hears: “THE LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

There’s an angel standing there. The angel doesn’t have any angel duds on. He looks like a regular guy, except he is carrying a white flower. [Have a student hold the white flower and continue with the story.]

Gideon answers, “If God is with me, then why in the world am I harvesting my wheat in the middle of a winepress, in the middle of the night? I’ve heard the stories about God’s miracles. We could use some miracles. Where is God right now? We are abandoned, surrounded by people who steal our food and starve us.”

Angel says: “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

Gideon: “How can I save Israel? My family is poor. I am the youngest, the least important one of my family. My clan is the weakest of the tribe of Manasseh, and they are the weakest tribe in Israel. You’ve got the wrong guy.”

WOW! God thinks that Gideon is going to be able to help Israel. What do you think Gideon did? What would you do? Well, Gideon continued to argue...

Gideon: “So, you’re speaking for God? Prove that God sent you. Let’s see a burning bush - no that’s been done before. Burning letters in the sky - no the Midianites might see. A pillar of fire from heaven?   I know...wait here until I get back.”

Gideon ran to his house and prepared some meat and bread and soup. He brought it out to the angel and when he put it down on a rock. Poof! A flash of light and fire - the food went up in smoke. The angel was gone.

Reflect with the children: God was very patient with Gideon. God wasn’t looking at the cowardly man kneeling on the ground threshing grain. God could see potential in Gideon, if Gideon would put his trust in the Lord. God is like that. God gave a job to Gideon AND gave Gideon what he needed to do that job. God does the same for us too!

SCENE 3 (Asherah’s Grove):

Asherah’s Grove is a collection of trees and IDOLS. The trees are tenderly cared for until they get big enough, then the tops are chopped off and the trees are carved into idols. This place was a community shrine. The center of worship -- except the people weren’t worshiping God, they were worshiping carved wood idols.

Didn’t God tell them not to make idols and worship false gods? Tsk, tsk.

God tells Gideon to destroy this “shrine”. Gideon knows that he can’t just walk up to it and chop down the carved stumps. The town people wouldn’t like it and would punish him harshly. He decides to do it in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping. He pulled down the altar and pushed over the idols. He set fire to one of the idols on a new altar he built. [have the children GENTLY take the altar apart and toss the idols on the ground]

In the morning, the townspeople discovered what Gideon had done and wanted Gideon put to death. Yikes. [Have the students be angry villagers. Have them demonstrate with raised fists, scowling faces. ]

The angry men went to Gideon’s father and demanded Gideon be punished.

Joash: “If we make trouble, the Midianites will hear us, swoop down on us, and we’ll have more trouble. If those idols were truly gods, they would have struck Gideon down.”

The people realized that they were wrong. God had chosen Gideon for something special.

SCENE 4 (Gideons Camp):

The Midianites have moved into the fertile valley, awaiting the grain harvest. We see their tents, and following the river, 4 miles around the bend, over a hill, where there’s another camp. Men and women are gathering to hear what Gideon wants done.

Today, Gideon could just use the Internet and e-mail all his family to come help. Back then they’d send messengers out to neighboring villages. [Have some students in corner of room, send other students out to them to bring them to Gideon’s camp] Wasn’t as fast as the Internet, but it was effective. His clan has come to help him drive the Midianites out of the land. This year they will harvest all their grain and keep it for themselves. But Gideon still has doubts!

[Pick up the fleece and show it to the children. Explain briefly what it is, and then read the dialogue from your clipboard. ]

Gideon: “Lord God! Do you really, really want to save Israel using me as the leader? I need another sign. I’m going to put a wooly lamb’s fleece on the ground tonight and in the morning if it is wet and the ground around it is dry, I will know you are with me.”

The next morning what do you think Gideon found? The fleece was so wet that he squeezed a bowl full of water out of it. The ground? Dry as a bone. No dew, no moisture. Dry. BUT, Gideon needed more proof.

Gideon: “Lord God! Just one more sign. Tonight I will put my fleece out again. If it is dry in the morning, and the ground around it is wet - I’ll know I can believe you.”

What do you think happened? God left the fleece dry, but the ground was wet with dew. Gideon believed. Gideon had no more doubts. He was the one God would use to lead the people.

SCENE 5 (The River):

We are in the Gideon’s camp, down by the river. There are 32,000 men. Gideon is a leader. He is confident. He strolls from tent to tent, meeting each man.

[ Demonstrate how Gideon strides about. Ask a few children to act scared, to tremble with fear, cover their eyes and hide. Ask others to stand proudly, brandishing their swords (imagined)] 

Gideon: “Our Lord says I do not need 32,000 to defeat the Midianites. If you are afraid, go home. If you are trembling, go home.”

How many do you think left? 22,000 went home. That left 10,000.

The Lord knew that even this was too many. If they had a big army, then the people would think that they had saved themselves. God wanted to show the people that God was in charge. They didn’t need a big army, only a small handful because God would save them.   Gideon led 10,000 men in his the army to the stream and watched them drink.

Some put their faces in the water and lapped it up like a dog does.

[Pick out several children to be dog-lappers and ask them to demonstrate the action.]

Three hundred kneeled, scooped water into their hands to lap the water from their hands. [Pick out a few children for this task, and have them kneel beside the dog lappers, but cupping their hands to drink while watching out for the enemy.]

Gideon: “All who drank with their faces in the water, go home. You are no longer needed. My army will be made up of the 300 remaining, and we will be guided by our Lord God to victory.”

SCENE 6 (Midianite’s Camp):

It is dark. In the shadows we see two men creeping along the ground. Spies! Gideon and his helper are sneaking into the Midianite camp. Men sit hunched in their tents, grumbling that they are afraid. [Have 2 students creeping; have others sitting in the tent]

Midianite: They must be mighty warriors. The weak ones have gone home. Only the strongest are left. I’m afraid. Did you hear those trumpets this morning? I had a dream last night that a round loaf of barley bread came rolling into the camp. [Have a student hold the bread] It struck a tent so hard that the tent turned upside down and collapsed.”

Midianite 2: “Comrade. This dream is a warning! This is no less than the sword of Gideon, son of Joash. Into his hand God will give Midian and all our army.”

There are gasps and murmurs all around as others hear this dream interpreted.

[Have the children be the listeners. See who can gasp the loudest. Ask them to whisper, and murmur.]

Gideon and his servant creep away from the camp. Gideon knows what he must do.

Our camera pans down the river, back to the Israelite camp. It is even darker now, and the fires are burning low outside the tents.

Gideon: “Get up! Awake everyone! The Lord will deliver the army of Midian into our hands.”

Gideon divides the 300 men into three groups. Each man has a trumpet. Then Gideon hands them each an empty jar and a torch.

[Show the picture of the shofar] [ Demonstrate putting a torch inside the jar. ]

Gideon: “Watch me. Do as I do. Hold your torch under the jar when we approach the Midianite camp. When I blow the trumpet, blow your trumpet, too. Shout, “For the Lord and for Gideon! Keep watching me, and do what I do.”

Our camera follows the men along the river. All is quiet. It is very dark. Their torches are under the jars. There is great tension in the air.

At the Midianite camp, the late watch guards are dozing at their posts. Most men are asleep in their tents.

Gideon looked to his right. He looked to his left. He checked his line of 300 men, spread out but surrounding the camp. [Have the children stand in a circle around the camp] He raised his torch in his left hand, and smashed the clay jar that was hiding the flame. All his men did the same.

Then, Gideon blew his trumpet. The men blew their trumpets [Have students blow their trumpets]. Gideon shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” The 300 shouted the same words. [Have students shout this as well]

What a clatter of noise! It must have been terrifying!

The Midianite camp was in total confusion, just as God had planned. Awakened from deep sleep, men grabbed up swords and began fighting each other. Those that weren’t killed ran away in fear.   Men were crying aloud, bellowing for their friends, rushing for safety. They believed a huge army - thousands and thousands of men, was attacking them.

Gideon’s army chased the Midianites and their camels, across the Jordan River, out of the country. The Midianites did not return. God’s plan had worked—God had saved the people of Israel!

          Gideon could be a ruler of Israel, but he said “no.”

Gideon knew that God would rule over them, taking care of them. God had not forgotten them. He loved them dearly and would protect them from enemies. God had a plan for them, and Gideon would continue to follow God’s rule.

Now, this is our story. We’re going to win awards with this one, don’t you think. .

- THE END -

Closing:
Use the remaining time to reflect on the story with the children. Ask them what parts they like the best. Ask them what roles they think they are suited for. Remind them that Gideon was not the strongest or the bravest, but God made him part of the “big picture.” God had a plan for Gideon, and was willing to wait until Gideon was “brave” enough to follow God’s instructions and complete the task.

If you’ve got time, walk through the story again and have the children relate it back to you. See if they remember what roles and actions they were assigned.

End with a prayer.


 
A Lesson Set written by members of: Chicago Western Suburbs Rotation Roundtable

Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Storytelling Workshop--Scene & Prop Directions
Gideon: Mighty Judge of Israel

Supplies:

  • Baseball cap with title “Assistant Director” on it
  • Assortment of costumes—tunics
  • Clipboard
  • Sign for each location: Rural Israel; Winepress; Asherah’s Grove; Gideon’s Camp; Down by the River; Midianite Camp
  • Picture or poster of pastoral Israel OR
  • Large roll of paper so you can sketch your own picture
  • Simple campsite: campfire ; baskets with food, jars
  • Masking Tape OR
  • Packing box (large enough for student to stand in)
  • Picture of winepress
  • Bundle of barley or wheat
  • White flower (artificial)
  • A few stones
  • Wooden “idol”—TIKI figures or wooden animal
  • a[piece of fleece
  • Ram’s horn or some sort of trumpet—could even get cheap party horns so each child could have one (don’t reuse!)
  • Blue fabric to make a river
  • Tent (Blanket over 2 chairs?), campfire
  • Round loaf of bread
  • Lamps, torches—with flowerpot or jar to cover torch
  • Sword


Scene & prop directions:

Put up signs, or a simple sign post at each location. It can read Scene 1,2,3 or the location – like Gideon’s camp, or Asherah’s Grove. You’ll be leading the children to the spots for each scene.

You can be elaborate with your settings, or simple. Just a few props sitting around can be enough to help you tell a spirited tale.

Scene 1: Rural Israel, The period of Judges

Some posters or pictures of pastoral Israel. Try to find something panoramic, showing fields and mountains in the distance.  You could also sketch a scene on a large piece of paper, incorporating some of the items listed in the script.

You can set up a simple campsite – fire, tent, a few baskets with food. Kindling, oil jars.

Scene 2: Winepress.

Tape an area on the floor to show where the winepress will be, or use a large packing box. If you can find pictures of a bible-times winepress, have it to show the children.

A bundle of barley or wheat. You can usually find these grasses in the flower arrangement sections at craft stores.

A white rose or a white flower. It will denote the angel who speaks to Gideon.

Scene 3: Asherah’s Grove

If you can find TIKI figures, have some of these scattered on the ground, or in baskets. A few wooden animal figurines would be good, too.

A few stones to piled up into an altar (you can make stones if need be by filling lunch bags with newspaper)

Scene 4: Gideon’s camp

A fleece – you can purchase fleece material at a fabric store and cut it to look real. It doesn’t have to be real fleece, just something wooly.

A shofar(a ram’s horn trumpet) – or a trumpet of some kind.

Scene 5: Down by the River

Blue masking tape on the floor, denoting a river. Or, blue netting or fabric stretched out – a place for the kids to kneel and pretend to drink.

Scene 6: Midianite camp

A tent – pull a blanket over two chairs, or make a tent from cardboard. Have a fire pit by your tent.

A round loaf of bread, a few baskets, pots. Swords. Torches.

Jars to cover the torches. You can use plastic flower pots, or a clay jar.

Gideon, Mighty Judge of Israel

Cooking Workshop 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

The ingredients and actions of drinking water from bowls and making Crispy Rice treats will help the students to learn the story.

Scripture Reference:

Judges 6-8

Memory Verses:

Don’t be afraid; I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear; I am your God. I will make you strong and help you.” (Isaiah 41:10a, CEV)

Rotation Objectives --at the end of the Rotation, kids should be know:

  • About God: God is patient with our weaknesses. He helps us do what he wants us to do.
  • About Us: We can rely on God’s promised help.
  • To Do and to Share: When I am afraid, I can remember God’s promise to be with me, and ask him for help.

 Main Point:

God will help us be brave enough to do what he wants us to do.

 Leader Preparation:

  • Read Judges 6-8
  • Review Bible Background notes
  • Read lesson and gather the materials.

 Supplies List:

  • White board and markers
  • Variety of bowls, straws, ice cubes in bowl
  • Pitchers of  water
  • Ingredients for Rice Crispy Treats (no nuts, dairy):
    • 3 tablespoons dairy-free margarine (Crystal Margarine from Costco is good)
    • 40 regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows, or a jar of marshmallow crème
    • 6 cups crispy rice cereal (Kellogg’s doesn’t have a nut warning)
    • Ice cream cones (enough for class size)
  • Microwave, microwavable bowl, large bowl, spoon,
  • disposable plastic gloves
  • helper to run microwave if not in same room

 Advance Preparation:

  • Put the pitchers of water, ice cubes, bowls and straws on the table for the children to view
  • Measure crispy rice into a large bowl
  • Put margarine and marshmallows into a microwavable bowl and gloves and cones nearby

Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself and welcome the students. Take attendance.

 Ask if they children have ever had to do something that was very scary for them to do. (e.g. stand up and talk to a group of people, try skiing for the first time, learn to ride a bike, tell someone they did something wrong…)

Tell them you are going to make a Fear Meter so they can show you how scared they were. Write the words “FEAR METER” at the top of the whiteboard. Leave a little bit of space and draw a line across the board underneath the words. Draw short vertical lines to divide it in half and then into quarters.  Draw two more lines at the ends. Then number the vertical lines from 0 (not afraid at all) to 4 (extremely afraid)

| --------------------------------|-------------------------------|-------------------------------|-----------------------------|

0          1          2          3          4

Have them rate the examples they gave you to show how scary they were. Add some more to fill out the scale if you like.

 Tell them that the story we are going to learn is about a man named Gideon. God wanted him to do a very scary thing, and he was very afraid. We will see just how scared he was, and how God helped him be brave. They will be doing some activities, with the things they see on the table, at different points in the story.

Bible Story:

Tell the story of Gideon. At selected parts, pause and do the specified action. When you see FM, ask the kids to rate how scared the person was on the fear meter. CRT means to work on the “Crispy Rice Treat”.

  1. Background: Gideon’s story is found in the Old Testament, in the time before Jesus was born. Years before, God chose Moses to free the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and then God guided Joshua as he led them into Canaan, the Promised Land. We did those stories last year. At this point in Israel’s history, they were still a loose association of twelve tribes (one for each of Jacob’s sons) with God as their only common ruler. From time to time, when they needed help, God would raise up a person with the skills and respect needed to lead all of the people against their common enemy. These temporary leaders are called “judges” in the Bible. Gideon was one of those judges, and his story is found in the book of Judges.
  2. Opening: In those days, the Israelites were farmers. Other people in the area were nomads, who roamed all over the desert with their camels. One group of nomads was called the Midianites. Every year when the Israelites’ crops were ready, the Midianites would come in from the desert and camp all over the crops. There were so many men and camels that they looked like sand on the seashore. The Midianites would take some of the crops and ruin the rest, and the Israelites went hungry. Some of them were so afraid that they started to live in caves. (Judges 6:1-6). FM. The Israelites had not been obeying God. They had ignored the commandments God gave Moses, and started worshiping Baal, the false god, or idol, that the people in that area worshiped. But after seven years of being attacked by the Midianites, they cried out to God.  God answered by calling Gideon to help.
  3. The Angel under the Tree: Gideon was a farmer. One of his jobs was to thresh the wheat, which means to separate the grains of wheat from the stalk it grows on. He did this inside a big hole in the ground so the Midianites wouldn’t see him. FM.   CRT: the crispy rice represents the wheat that the Israelites grew and the Midianites stole. Suddenly, the Angel of the Lord came and sat down under a nearby tree. The angel said “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon did not feel like a mighty warrior. He said “God used to be with our people when he led Moses and Joshua, but if he was with us now, the Midianites wouldn’t be attacking us.” The angel said to him, “You are strong. Go and rescue the Israelites from the Midianites.” FM. Now Gideon was very frightened. He said “But my family isn’t very powerful and I am the weakest brother.” The angel said “I will be with you, and we will defeat the Midianites together.” FM. 
  4. Test #1: Notice that the angel didn’t get angry when Gideon said he thought God wasn’t there. God wants us to tell him (or his angel) what we think. But Gideon was still afraid. He asked the angel to prove that he was really the Angel of the Lord. The angel waited while Gideon prepared an offering, just like he would make for God. He brought goat meat, unleavened bread, and some soup broth. The angel said to put all of those things on a rock. When Gideon did, the angel touched the rock with his stick, and fire blazed from the rock and burned up the meat and the bread. This showed that the angel really was from God, and that God accepted Gideon’s sacrifice. FM. Now Gideon was very afraid. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid. You are not going to die.” FM.
  5. First Task: The angel told Gideon to tear down the alter to the idol Baal that his father had, and build a proper one for God, and sacrifice his father’s bull on it.. FM Gideon was afraid of his family and of the people in the town. But he wanted to obey the angel. So he did what the angel said at night when everyone was asleep. In the morning, the people were very angry. They wanted to kill Gideon, even though God had told them not to worship the false gods. (Commandments #1, #2) FM. But Gideon’s father was sorry he had worshiped Baal. He said that if Baal was God he could come down and punish Gideon himself. Did he? No, because he isn’t real. So the people didn’t hurt Gideon. FM.
  6. Test #2: The Midianites and some other people started to come in from the desert and camp nearby. So Gideon blew his trumpet to call all the warriors in his tribe to come to fight. He also sent messengers to some of the other far away tribes of Israel to ask them to come and fight too. FM. But he was still afraid. So he prayed to God and said, “I know you promised to help me, but would you please do something to prove that you are going to? Tonight, I will put some wool on the stone floor of the place where I thresh the grain. If you are really going to help me, in the morning, let the wool be wet with dew but the floor be dry.” Normally, of course, the floor and everything on it would be either all wet or all dry. In the morning, the wool was wet and the floor was dry.  FMCRT: the marshmallows represent the fleece. Have someone put the marshmallows in the microwave for 3 minutes while you continue the story. When they are melted, show that they are now wet like the fleece was in the morning, then mix them with the crispy rice. You can have older children do this while you continue with the story.
  7. Test #3: Even after that, Gideon was still afraid. So that night he prayed the opposite: “If you are really going to help me, God, let the fleece by dry and the floor be wet.” And that’s what happened. FM.
  8. Choosing the Army: Finally Gideon didn’t feel afraid. He had a big army of 32,000 men and he knew God was with him. So he took his army and went to camp by the spring of Harod, which was the only fresh water in the area. The Midianites were gathering, but because Gideon’s army was already at the spring, they had to camp in a valley a little way away where there was no water. Things were going well for Gideon. FM. Then God said to Gideon, “Your army is too big. If you win with a big army, the Israelites will think they defeated the Midianites all by themselves. I want you to take a smaller army so everyone knows you won because of me. So tell your men that if any of them are afraid, they should go home.” 22,000 men went home, leaving only 10,000. FM. Then God said, “That’s still too many men. Go down to the spring and watch them while they drink, and I will tell you which men to keep.” So the men went down to the spring, and Gideon watched them drink. PAUSE HERE: Tell the kids they should come and get some water to drink. They can each take a bowl and some water and if they want to, a straw and some ice cubes. Let them do this, go back to their seats, and drink. Tell them to drink, but also to watch and see how the others are drinking from the bowls. Collect the bowls and briefly discuss the different ways the children drank the water. Then continue the story. Gideon saw that some of the soldiers knelt down to drink, while others picked up water in their hands and lapped with their tongues like a dog. God said, “your army will be all the men who lapped the water like a dog.” That was only 300 men. All the rest went home. Remember, there were so many Midianites that they and their camels looked like sand on the seashore. Gideon had only 300 men left to fight with. FM.
  9. Test #4: Gideon was very afraid as he stood on top of a hill with his tiny army and looked down at the Midianites. But this time he didn’t have to ask God to help him be brave. God said to him, “Take your servant and sneak down the hill and listen to what the people are saying down there. So Gideon and his servant went down the hill. They heard a guard say “I just had a very scary dream. I saw a flat loaf of bread come tumbling down the hill. It hit our tent and knocked it to pieces.” Another guard replied, “How terrifying! It must be about Gideon, the very strong and powerful commander of the Isrealite army. Your dream can only mean that God is going to help them defeat us.” When Gideon heard that, he knew that God had made the Midianites afraid of him and his army. FM. Gideon bowed down to praise God. Then he went back to his army and shouted to them “Let’s go! The Lord is going to let us defeat the Midianites!”
  10. The Battle: God gave Gideon a good idea. When it was dark, he divided his little army of 300 men into 3 groups of 100 each. He gave each man a trumpet and a burning torch inside a jar to hide the flame. CRT: Hand out the ice cream cones. They remind us of trumpets, and also jars. Put on the disposable gloves and put the crispy rice mixture into the cones. Now they represent burning torches. Older children can help. When you are done, continue the story while the children eat the treats. Gideon told the men to sneak down the hill and spread out around the camp. When he gave the signal, they all blew on their horns and once and broke their jars. The Midianites woke up. They were very surprised. They heard all the horns and saw the burning torches all around their camp, and they thought they were surrounded by a gigantic army they couldn’t see. They panicked and started fighting with each other. Lots of them ran away. Gideon’s army chased them. But the armies from the other tribes that Gideon had called earlier were coming from that direction. They caught the Midianites and defeated them. FM
  11. The end: The Israelites were so happy that they wanted to make Gideon their ruler. But Gideon didn’t want to rule over them. He said “I won’t be your ruler, and neither will my son when he grows up. Only the Lord is your ruler.” He went home to his farm, and the Midianites didn’t come back for 40 years, as long as Gideon lived.

Discussion:

  • Gideon was often very afraid. What helped him not be afraid? (Praying and asking God to reassure him. God always answered and let him know that he was there with Gideon.)
  • When the Israelites called out to God to rescue them from the Midianites, were they being faithful to God? (No. They were worshiping Baal. They were so unfaithful that they were angry at Gideon for destroying Baal’s altar.)
  • Why do you think God helped them anyway? (They were his chosen people and he had promised to be with them, and God always keeps his promises. He loved them so much that he wanted to help them even when they didn’t deserve help. That’s like Jesus. He came to Earth to help people come to God even when they didn’t deserve it either. He loved them enough to come and teach them and even die for them.)
  • What are some ways God reassures us that he is with us? (through Bible promises and stories, through people, by touching our hearts when we pray…)
  • When we are afraid, what should we do? (Ask God to help us be strong and brave, read the Bible to remind ourselves of his love and promises, read books about Christians who had strong faith…)
  • What if we feel like we don’t deserve God’s help? (ask anyway, say we’re sorry if we need to.)
  • Should we give God tests like Gideon did? Actually, the Bible and Jesus both say we shouldn’t put God to the test like Gideon did. We should read our Bible and ask God for faith to believe. Discuss. (Not all of the people in the Bible are people we should imitate. We should learn from what they do, but do what God wants us to do.)

 


Written by Sharon of Argyle Road Baptist Church, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Adapted from:  “Gideon’s Trumpets” written by Augustana Lutheran Church  Saint James, Minnesota and found on rotation.org, and their lesson set found above this lesson https://www.rotation.org/topic/...ago-roundtable-group

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